Catholic Dictionary




Any sudden, unreasonable urge to action, often induced by an emotion. Impulses are natural when explainable in terms of antecedent thoughts or feelings. They are supernatural when they incline to something good without any assignable cause, especially when the inclination arises in the context of prayer or resignation to the will of God. They can also be preternatural and demonic, as when they impel a person with a furious intensity to do something particularly offensive, such as blasphemy. (Etym. Latin impellere, to impel, incite, urge, instigate, stimulate, persuade, from im-, on + pellere, to drive.)