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Catholic Dictionary




The precept of charity, enjoined by Christ (Matthew 18:15), to admonish a person who is doing wrong or in danger of wrongdoing. Two conditions must be verified before there exists a grave obligation to correct another: 1. a person must be certain of another's grave spiritual need, which can be met only by such correction, and 2. the admonition can be given without serious trouble or harm to the one correcting. Always fraternal correction must be guided by kindness, providence, and humility. Moreover, Christ commands that it first be given secretly. Correction may have to be given publicly, in the first instance if: 1. the sin is publicly known, 2. the sin is likely to cause others harm unless the guilty person is publicly denounced, or 3. the culprit has renounced his right to private correction. (Etym. Latin cor-, together + regere, to rule: corrigere, to make right.)