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A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

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EXCUSE

A legitimate reason that exempts a person from the observance of a law in a given instance. It corresponds to epikeia, by which one decides whether there are legitimate grounds for exemption. It may also be an alleged reason that someone adduces for not wanting to observe a law that is actually binding in the given situation. It is finally any mitigating circumstance that lessens responsibility for human acts, such as ignorance or psychological pressure.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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