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Dictionary

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

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SIN

"A word, deed or desire in opposition to the eternal law" (St. Augustine). Sin is a deliberate transgression of a law of God, which identifies the four essentials of every sin. A law is involved, implying that there are physical laws that operate with necessity, and moral laws that can be disregarded by human beings. God is offended, so that the divine dimension is never absent from any sin. Sin is a transgression, since Catholicism holds that grace is resistible and the divine will can be disobeyed. And the transgression is deliberate, which means that a sin is committed whenever a person knows that something is contrary to the law of God and then freely does the action anyway. (Etym. Old English synn, syn, sin; Old High German sunta, suntea, perhaps to Latin sons, guilty.)

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

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