On Being Afraid of Hell: Kierkegaard and Catholicism on Imperfect Contrition

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In this paper I develop once of Kierkegaard's views in the first part of Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits, which is a discourse delivered on the occasion of a confession. This view has it that the person who wills the good only out of fear of punishment does not in fact will the good in truth, but id double-minded. I compare and contrast this view with the view of the Catholic tradition, where the Council of Trent dogmatically lauded imperfect contrition (or contrition of fear, especially of damnation) as a “gift of God and an impulse of the Holy Ghost.”

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