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Catholic Dictionary




Morally good acts that, when performed in the state of grace, merit supernatural reward. The term became highly controverted in Reformation times, when the leaders of Protestantism, notably Martin Luther (1483-1546), claimed that faith alone, and not good works, justifies. Implicit in the Catholic doctrine on good works is the belief that man's nature has not been totally depraved by reason of Adam's fall. Man is able freely to co-operate with divine grace to perform good works. His liberty is not totally enslaved by sin.