The Profession of Faith
help of God’s grace, lead a morally good life; he thus reduced the influence
of Adam’s fault to bad example. The first Protestant reformers, on the
contrary, taught that original sin has radically perverted man and de-
stroyed his freedom; they identified the sin inherited by each man with the
tendency to evil (concupiscentia), which would be insurmountable. The
Church pronounced on the meaning of the data of Revelation on original
sin especially at the second Council of Orange (529)
and at the Council
of Trent (1546).
A hard battle . . .
The doctrine of original sin, closely connected with that of
redemption by Christ, provides lucid discernment of man’s situ
ation and activity in the world. By our first parents’ sin, the devil
has acquired a certain domination over man, even though man
remains free. Original sin entails “captivity under the power of him
who thenceforth had the power of death, that is, the devil.”
Ignorance of the fact that man has a wounded nature inclined to
evil gives rise to serious errors in the areas of education, politics,
The consequences of original sin and of all men’s personal
sins put theworld as awhole in the sinful condition aptly described
in St. John’s expression, “the sin of the world.”
can also refer to the negative influence exerted on people by
communal situations and social structures that are the fruit of
This dramatic situation of “the whole world [which] is in
the power of the evil one”
makes man’s life a battle:
The whole of man’s history has been the story of dour
combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells
us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding
himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to
do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided
by God’s grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner
296 DS 371-372.
297 Cf. DS 1510-1516.
298 Council of Trent (1546): DS 1511; cf.
299 Cf. John Paul II,
301 Cf. John Paul II,
303 GS 37 § 2.