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gebroken vaas

4.13 What is sin anyway?

The call to holiness

You commit a sin when you do something that goes against the Will of God. Sin is a deliberately evil act: a thought, something you do or fail to do, something you say or fail to say.

Your sins and their consequences are obstacles in your relationship with God. They weaken the bond between you and God. Once you are in a ‘state of sin’ (because you have committed a sin), you will be more easily tempted to sin again. It is therefore important to ask for God’s forgiveness over and again.

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To sin is to disobey God. By doing so we break our connection with him, which is restored through confession.

The Wisdom of the Church

Why is the Church apostolic?

The Church is apostolic in her origin because she has been built on “the foundation of the Apostles” (Ephesians 2:20). She is apostolic in her teaching which is the same as that of the Apostles. She is apostolic by reason of her structure insofar as she is taught, sanctified, and guided until Christ returns by the Apostles through their successors who are the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter. [CCCC 174]

Why is the Church called apostolic?

The Church is called apostolic because she was founded upon the apostles, holds fast to their Tradition, and is governed by their successors.

Jesus called the apostles to be his closest collaborators. They were his eyewitnesses. After his Resurrection, he appeared to them repeatedly. He bestowed on them the Holy Spirit and sent them as his authoritative messengers to all the world. They assured unity in the early Church. They conferred their mission and authority upon their successors, the bishops, through the laying on of hands. This process is called apostolic succession. [Youcat 137]

In what way is the Church holy?

The Church is holy insofar as the Most Holy God is her author. Christ has given himself for her to sanctify her and make her a source of sanctification. The Holy Spirit gives her life with charity. In the Church one finds the fullness of the means of salvation. Holiness is the vocation of each of her members and the purpose of all her activities. The Church counts among her members the Virgin Mary and numerous Saints who are her models and intercessors. The holiness of the Church is the fountain of sanctification for her children who here on earth recognize themselves as sinners ever in need of conversion and purification. [CCCC 165]

Why is the Church holy?

The Church is holy, not because all her members are supposedly holy, but rather because God is holy and is at work in her. All the members of the Church are sanctified by Baptism.

Whenever we allow ourselves to be touched by the Triune God, we grow in love and become holy and whole. The saints are lovers—not because they are able to love so well, but because God has touched them. They pass on the love they have received from God to other people in their own, often original way. Once God takes them home, they also sanctify the Church, because they “spend their heaven” supporting us on our path to holiness. [Youcat 132]

What are vices?

Vices are negative habits that deaden and dull the conscience, incline a person to evil, and habitually prepare him for sin.

Human vices are found in connection with the capital sins of pride, avarice, envy, anger, lust, gluttony, and sloth (or acedia, spiritual boredom). [Youcat 318]

This is what the Church Fathers say

Sin is any transgression in deed, or word, or desire, of the eternal law. And the eternal law is the divine order or Will of God, which requires the preservation of the natural order, and forbids the breach of it. [St. Augustine, Reply to Faustus the Manichaean, Bk. 22, Chap. 27 (ML 42, 418)]