The real answer to whether or not original sin exists requires men to distinguish between two aspects of the doctrine on original sin, Benedict said.
“There exists 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, to do only what he enjoys even though we know that this means working against good, against God and against our fellow man…This inner contradiction of our being is not a theory. We all experience it every day as around us we see the second of these two wills prevail. Suffice to think of daily news of injustices, violence, and dissipation. This is a fact. From the power evil has over our souls, a foul river of evil has arisen over history, poisoning the human landscape.”
Blaise Pascal, the Pope recalled, spoke of a “second nature,” which puts itself above man’s original nature. This “second nature” makes evil appear normal to man. Evil appears to have become a second nature.
“This contradiction of man, of his history must provoke, and provokes even today, the desire of redemption,” the Pontiff explained.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
The Holy Father then turned to reflect on the desire that “the world change and the promise that there be created a just, peaceful, good world is present everywhere.”
“In politics,” the Pope remarked, “everyone speaks of the need to change the world, to create a more just world. This is an expression of the desire that there be a liberation from the contradiction that man experiences in himself.”
“The power of evil in the heart and history of humankind is undeniable, yet how do we explain it? In the history of thought, discounting Christian faith, there exits one main explanatory model with a number of variants. This model holds that human beings are inherently contradictory: they carry good and evil in themselves.