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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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VIOLENCE

Physical or psychological force used to compel one to act against one's choice, or against an inclination to choose in a certain way. Violence may be absolute or relative. Absolute violence demands resistance by all possible means. It destroys free will, and all imputability of the act is then attributed to the violator, if one acts with full freedom of the will. If the victim does not oppose the act with every possible external resistance, or with external resistance internally adheres to the act brought to bear on him or her, violence is called relative. Freedom of the will is not removed but diminished in proportion to the adherence or repugnance present in the mind of the subject.

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

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