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|Congregation for the Clergy|
General catechetical directory
IntraText CT - Text
62 Nevertheless, the conditions of history and of life are not to be considered the main impediment to human freedom. When man freely applies himself to the work of salvation, he finds sin the greatest obstacle.
"Although he was made by God in a state of holiness, from the very dawn of history man abused his liberty, al the urging of the Evil One. Man set himself against God and sought to find fulfilment apart from God" (GS, 13). "Through one man sin entered the world, and with sin death, death thus coming to ail men inasmuch as ail sinned" (Rom. 5, 12). "ibis human nature so fallen, stripped of the grace that clothed it, injured in its own natural powers and subjected to the dominion of death, that is transmitted to ail men, and it is in this sense that every man is born in sin" (Paul VI, Profession fidei, n. 16, AAS, 1968, p. 439).
The multitude of sins, then, has become a sorrowful experience for mankind, and it is also the cause of manifold sorrows and ruin. One must net neglect the leaching on the nature and effects of personal sins, whereby man, adding knowingly and deliberately, by his act violates the moral law, and in a serious malted also seriously offends God.
The history of salvation is also the history of liberation from sin. Every intervention of God both in the old and in the New Testament was to give guidance to men in the struggle against the forces of 5m. The role entrusted to Christ in the history of salvation relates to the destruction of sin, and is fulfilled through the mystery of the cross. The profound reflections found in St. Paul (cf. Rom. 5) concerning the reality of sin and Christ’s consequent "work of justice" must be numbered among the principal points of the Christian faith, and it is not right to pass over them in silence in catechesis.
But the salvation brought by Jesus Christ involves much more than redemption from 5m. For it fulfils the plan begun by God that he would communicate himself in Jesus with such fullness that it utterly transcends human understanding. The plan in question does not come to an end because of men’s transgressions, but it confers a grace that is superabundant compared ho the death which 5m brought (cf. Rom. 5, 15-17). This plan, which has proceeded from love, by virtue of which men are called by the Holy Spirit to share in divine life itself, is always in force and belongs 10 all limes. Even though man is a sinner, he always remains in the one order which God willed, namely, in the order in which God mercifully shares himself with us in Jesus Christ, and man can, therefore, under the impulse of grade, attain salvation through repentance.
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