felix culpa

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Borrowed from Latin fēlīx culpa (happy fault), via Roman Catholic theology.


felix culpa (plural felix culpas or felices culpae)

  1. (literary) A series of miserable events that will eventually lead to a happier outcome.
  2. (religion) The Biblical story of the fall of Adam and Eve and the loss of the Garden of Eden, known theologically as the source of original sin - meaning that this loss of innocence was a fortunate fall because of the good that would come from it, that is, Christian redemption and the eventual hope of Heaven.



From fēlīx (happy) + culpa (fault, blame).



fēlīx culpa f (genitive fēlīcis culpae); first declension

  1. (religion) blessed fault, fortunate fall, used in reference to the Fall of Man.
    • 1265-1274. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, III, 1, 3, ad 3,
      O felix culpa!
      (please add an English translation of this quotation)
    • (Can we date this quote?), Traditional Latin Mass, and Exsultet of the Easter Vigil masses:
      O felix culpa quae talem et tantum meruit habere redemptorem. ("O happy fault that earned us so good and great a Redeemer.")
      (please add an English translation of this quotation)


Third-declension adjective with a first-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative fēlīx culpa fēlīcēs culpae
Genitive fēlīcis culpae fēlīcium culpārum
Dative fēlīcī culpae fēlīcibus culpīs
Accusative fēlīcem culpam fēlīcēs culpās
Ablative fēlīcī culpā fēlīcibus culpīs
Vocative fēlīx culpa fēlīcēs culpae