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Catholic Dictionary




The theory and practice of psychoanalysis founded by Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). It is one of the principal challenges to Catholic moral theology. Among its distinctive features are the role of the unconscious in human motivation, the psychological harm of emotional repression, the primacy of sex in human behavior, the lifelong effect of experiences in infancy and early childhood. The position of Freudianism on religion is generally negative: 1. its presuppositions are atheist, claiming that a person's idea of God is a wish-fulfillment; 2. the spiritual life is implicitly ruled out by its preoccupation with human instinct; and 3. religion is held to be a sublimation of the libido.