Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Profession of Faith 97 Paragraph 7. The Fall 385 God is infinitely good and all his works are good. Yet no one can escape the experience of suffering or the evils in nature which seem to be linked to the limitations proper to creatures: and above all to the question of moral evil. Where does evil come from? “I sought whence evil comes and there was no solution,” said St. Augustine, 257 and his own painful quest would only be resolved by his conversion to the living God. For “the mystery of lawless- ness” is clarified only in the light of the “mystery of our relig­ ion.” 258 The revelation of divine love in Christ manifested at the same time the extent of evil and the superabundance of grace. 259 We must therefore approach the question of the origin of evil by fixing the eyes of our faith on him who alone is its conqueror. 260 I. W here S in A bounded , G race A bounded A ll the M ore The reality of sin 386 Sin is present in human history; any attempt to ignore it or to give this dark reality other names would be futile. To try to understand what sin is, one must first recognize the profound rela­ tion of man to God, for only in this relationship is the evil of sin unmasked in its true identity as humanity’s rejection of God and opposition to him, even as it continues to weigh heavy on human life and history. 387 Only the light of divine Revelation clarifies the reality of sin and particularly of the sin committed at mankind’s origins. Without the knowledge Revelation gives of God we cannot recog- nize sin clearly and are tempted to explain it as merely a develop- mental flaw, a psychological weakness, a mistake, or the necessary consequence of an inadequate social structure, etc. Only in the knowledge of God’s plan for man can we grasp that sin is an abuse of the freedom that God gives to created persons so that they are capable of loving him and loving one another. 257 St. Augustine, Conf. 7, 7, 11: PL 32, 739. 258 2 Thess 2:7; 1 Tim 3:16. 259 Cf. Rom 5:20. 260 Cf. Lk 11:21-22; Jn 16:11; 1 Jn 3:8. 309 457 1848 539 1847 1848 1739