Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Original Sin: Evil is Subordinate to Good

VATICAN CITY, 3 DEC 2008 (VIS) - In his general audience this morning, Benedict XVI continued his series of catecheses on the teachings of St. Paul. Addressing the 7,000 people gathered in the Paul VI Hall, he explained how the Apostle of the Gentiles, comparing the figures of Adam and Christ in his Letter to the Romans, "traces the basic outlines of the doctrine of original sin".

"The centre of the scene is occupied not so much by Adam and the consequences of sin on humanity, but by Jesus Christ and the grace which, through Him, was abundantly poured upon humanity".

"If, in the faith of the Church, an awareness arose of the dogma of original sin, this is because it is inseparably connected to another dogma, that of salvation and freedom in Christ. This means that we should never consider the sin of Adam and of humankind separately, without understanding them within the horizon of justification in Christ".

"As men and women of today we have to ask ourselves whether such a doctrine is still sustainable", said the Holy Father. "Many people think that, in the light of the history of evolution, there is no place for ... an original sin which extends through the history of humankind and that, consequently, the redemption and the Redeemer lose their foundation. Does, then, original sin exist or not?"

The Pope explained the importance of distinguishing between two aspects of the theory of original sin, one "an empirical, tangible reality, the other relating to the mystery, the ontological foundation of the event. In effect, there is a contradiction in our being. On the one hand we know we must do good, and in our inner selves this is what we desire, yet at the same time we feel an impulse to do the opposite, to follow the path of egoism, of violence, ... though we know that this means working against good, against God and against our fellow man".


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