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PASSIONATE ANGER

A strong emotional displeasure. Even passionate anger is not necessarily sinful, provided the reaction is directed only against the guilty party and its vehemence is in proportion to the object and circumstances. Moreover, to be licit, passionate anger must not blind a person's reason or place one in danger of overstepping prudent limits of inflicting punishment. Moreover, as long as passionate anger is independent of one's will, i.e., not deliberately induced, it is not of itself sinful. There is an obligation, however, to repress a strong impulse to anger either when the passion is aroused beyond what the provocation deserves or when the emotions are so impetuous that one "loses one's temper." To consent to an immoderate outburst of anger that vents itself in the irascible words or actions is normally a venial sin. It becomes serious when what is said or done is very offensive or harmful. It is also a grave sin when the anger takes the form of conscious revenge.

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

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