Inherited guilt

Do we inherit Adam’s guilt when we are conceived?

When Adam and Eve were created, they were created with sanctifying grace. But due to their sin, they lost sanctifying grace, so what they did not have they could not pass on. Although we did not inherit their guilt when we were conceived, we did inherit the “stain” of their original sin – we were conceived without sanctifying grace. That is why we need the sacrament of Baptism – to restore sanctifying grace to the soul.

The Catechism explains, “Although it is proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam’s descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it; subject to ignorance, suffering, and the dominion of death; and inclined to sin—an inclination to evil that is called “concupiscence.” Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, erases original sin and turns a man back toward God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle” (CCC 405).

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