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verified only with the exercise of the active reproductive

powers…. They alone contract original sin who descend

from Adam through the exercise of these powers derived

from him by way of origin.”


Because of his personal sin (

peccatum originale origi-


), Adam lost the state of original justice that he would

have been able to pass along with human nature to his

posterity.The state of original sin in his posterity (


originale originatum

) is nothing other than the privation

or absence of original justice and the resulting disorder in

the powers that is called concupiscence.

Formally, then, original sin is the absence of sanctifying

grace in the substance of the soul. It does not involve what

is proper to actual sin: there is no conscious turning away

from God and toward the creaturely instead of him. That

positive orientation to God that is at the root of original

justice is absent, and with it an effective moral direction is

also lacking. “As a result [of the loss of original justice,] all

the powers of the soul are in a sense lacking an order proper

to them, their natural order to virtue.”


Man’s moral powers

are thus in need of healing grace to overcome ignorance,

malice, weakness and concupiscence.

With the loss of original justice, sanctifying grace

comes to us, not by way of the human nature inherited from

Adam, but by redemption through the new Adam, Jesus

Christ. Original sin is not an inclination to evil, but a lack

of facility in choosing the good. Its character is essentially

privative, not positive.

We are not born bad

. Without the

grace of original justice that once directed them, man’s

natural powers are no longer aimed at the ultimate Good.

Their restoration now involves a struggle against sin and

11 ST 1a2ae. 81, 4

12 ST 1a2ae. 85, 3