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The Profession of Faith

103

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)

296

and at the Council

of Trent (1546).

297

A hard battle . . .

407

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.”

298

Ignorance of the fact that man has a wounded nature inclined to

evil gives rise to serious errors in the areas of education, politics,

social action,

299

and morals.

408

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.”

300

This expression

can also refer to the negative influence exerted on people by

communal situations and social structures that are the fruit of

men’s sins.

301

409

This dramatic situation of “the whole world [which] is in

the power of the evil one”

302

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

integrity.

303

296 DS 371-372.

297 Cf. DS 1510-1516.

298 Council of Trent (1546): DS 1511; cf.

Heb

2:14.

299 Cf. John Paul II,

CA

25.

300

Jn

1:29.

301 Cf. John Paul II,

RP

16.

302

1 Jn

5:19; cf.

1 Pet

5:8.

303 GS 37 § 2.

2015

2852

1888

1865

2516