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Catholic Basics: Selected Definitions

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Catholic Basics:

Selected Definitions

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Definitions [C-D]

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 Item

Description

- C -

Calumny

"Calumny is a sin which consists in maliciously attributing to another faults and defects which he did not possess." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)

"A person commits the sin of calumny or slander when by lying he injures the good name of another." (Baltimore Catechism)

"Calumny is slander, the deprivation of another of his good name by imputing to him, behind his back, something injurious to his reputation of which the speaker or writer knows he is innocent. It incurs an obligation of making restitution so far as possible." (Catholic Dictionary)

Candlemas

See "The Purification"

Canon Law

Refers to the Law of the Church. Note: Click here for 'Canon Law' Reflections

Canon of Scripture

Refers to the official list of inspired books which comprise the Old and New Testaments. It was officially determined by the Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Note: Click here for 'Canon of Scripture' Reflections

Canon of the Mass

Refers to the central, fixed part of the traditional Mass. The core of the Canon of the Traditional Mass (as it appeared before the Second Vatican Council) has existed at least since the end of the fourth century (click here for more information). Note: For more information on this topic, see the Latin Mass / Catholic Tradition Section (click here)

Canonization

"A public and official declaration of the heroic virtue of a person and the inclusion of his or her name in the canon (roll or register) of the saints." (Catholic Dictionary) This declaration is reserved to the pope and occurs after beatification (but not for all those beatified). Formal canonization may take centuries and may require miracles as heavenly testimony. Note: For more information, see the Saints Section (click here)

Capital Sins

Deadly sins. Note: For more information, click here

Cardinal

Click here for 'Cardinals' definition (Vatican View / Facts)

Cardinal Virtues

Click here for information on 'Cardinal Virtues'

Catechetics

"The science of teaching Christian doctrine by word of mouth, especially to the young; it is part of the teaching office of the Church." (Catholic Dictionary)

Catechumens

Those preparing for entrance into the Church.

Cathedral

"The chief church in a diocese is called a Cathedral because the bishop's cathedra, that is, his seat or throne, is erected in it, and because he celebrates all important feasts and performs all his special duties in it." (Baltimore Catechism)

Catholic

Derived from the Greek, meaning 'universal'. 

Catholic Church

The one and only Church founded by Christ. The four marks of the Church are her Unity, Holiness (Sanctity), Catholicity, and Apostolicity. "These four essential characteristics, proper to the Catholic Church alone, visibly manifest to the world that she is the true Church of Christ." (Catholic Dictionary)

Note: The first known written use of the term "Catholic Church" has been considered to be that of St. Ignatius of Antioch, around 110 A.D. It should be noted that St. Ignatius was a hearer of the Apostle St. John, and the third bishop of Antioch.

Celibacy

Click here for 'Celibacy / Chastity' Information (Priests & Vocations Section / Facts). Click here for 'Why Priestly Celibacy?' 

The Chair of Peter

The "Chair of Peter" may refer to the office of the papacy, or to the Pope's infallibility - e.g. speaking "ex cathedra" (click here), or to the actual chair (Latin: cathedra) believed to have been used by St. Peter. Note: For more information, try the Vatican View Section (click here)

Chalice

"The vessel used at Mass to contain the wine which by consecration becomes the blood of Christ... The word chalice is often used to signify its contents." (Catholic Dictionary)

Chaplet

"A general name for the rosary and other devotions which are said with the help of beads. It literally means a wreath or crown, from Old French chapelet from chape, a cap." (Catholic Dictionary)

Charity

"Charity is a Divine virtue by which we love God above all things for His own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God." (Baltimore Catechism)

Cherubim

"The second of the nine choirs or orders of angels." (Catholic Dictionary)

Chi Rho

Abbreviation for Christ, based on first two letters of Christ in Greek, Chi (X) & Rho (P). Note: Click here for symbols

Christ

"To the name Jesus is added that of Christ, which signifies the anointed." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

Christian Soldiers

"Confirmation is a Sacrament through which we receive the Holy Ghost to make us strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ." (Baltimore Catechism)

"We are called soldiers of Jesus Christ to indicate how we must resist the attacks of our spiritual enemies and secure our victory over them by following and obeying Our Lord." (Baltimore Catechism)

Note: For more information on the Sacrament of Confirmation, click here. For 'Christian Soldiers' Reflections, click here.

Christians

"A Christian is a baptized person who professes to believe all that Christ has taught, and to do all that He has commanded as necessary for our salvation." (Baltimore Catechism) Properly speaking, a Christian is a member of the Catholic Church.

Christmas

December 25, the day of Jesus' birth. Note: For 'Traditional Prayers and Practices / Christmas', click here. For 'Incarnation & Nativity of Christ / Christmas' Reflections, click here 

Christmastide

Traditional season of the Church which goes from December 24 (12/24) to January 13 (1/13). Note: For more information on the traditional liturgical calendar, try here (Latin Mass / Catholic Tradition Section)

The Church

"[The Church is the] ensemble of men united by the profession of the same Christian [that is, Catholic] Faith and the communion of the same sacraments, under the government of the legitimate pastors and principally the one Vicar of Christ on earth, the Roman Pontiff." (St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church)

"The whole visible society in communion with the pope, the Church of Christ." (Catholic Dictionary)

The term 'church' may also be used to refer to the Catholic Church as a whole, to parts of the Catholic Church, and even to church buildings. Note: For more information on the term 'church', click here (Church Talk Section). For 'Catholic Church' Reflections, click here. For 'Marks, Parts, and Pillars of the Church', click here.

Church Fathers

May refer to the early Christian writers (e.g. from the first six to twelve centuries) whose writings are considered "worthy of respect". Their unanimous agreement on a particular point of doctrine is of special value. Although their writings are important, they are not all orthodox and free from error. Not all Fathers of the Church are saints (in fact, at least one was excommunicated). Note that the Fathers are often categorized as Eastern Fathers & Western Fathers. Those who lived very near to apostolic times may be called Apostolic Fathers. 

Church Militant

Refers to the Church on earth

Church Suffering

Refers to the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Note: Click here for Purgatory Reflections

Church Triumphant

Refers to the Elect in heaven.

Collect

Refers to a prayer said before the Epistle in the Traditional Latin Mass. The collect varies with the feast day. Note: Click here for more information on the Traditional Latin Mass (Latin Mass / Catholic Tradition Section)

Commands of the Church

Also called precepts of the Church. Click here for more information.

Communion of Saints

Click here for 'Communion of the Saints' information (Saints Section / Facts). Click here for 'Communion of the Saints' Reflections

Compline

Refers to one of the traditional divisions of the Divine Office. Compline is the last (eighth) hour of the Divine Office, which is said at night.

Conclave

Click here for 'Conclave' information (Vatican View Section / Facts)

Concupiscence

Concupiscence is the inclination to sin resulting from Original Sin. Click here for 'Concupiscence' Reflections. Click here for 'Original Sin' Reflections

Confession

"The sacrament of Penance, also called Confession, is a sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ to remit the sins committed after Baptism." (Catechism of St. Pius X) Note: For more information on the Sacrament of Penance / Confession, click here

Confirmation

"Confirmation is a Sacrament through which we receive the Holy Ghost to make us strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ." (Baltimore Catechism) Note: For more information on the Sacrament of Confirmation, click here

Confiteor

"I Confess." Refers to a prayer of confession. The Confiteor is said at least once in the Traditional Latin Mass. Note: For text of the Confiteor, click here. For information on the Traditional Latin Mass, click here

Conscience

Refers, generally, to one's "sense of right and wrong". Catholics are called to have a well-formed conscience against which the moral quality of actions are to be judged.

Consecration

"The priests exercise this power of changing bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ through the words of consecration in the Mass, which are the words of Christ: 'This is My Body; This is My Blood.'" (Baltimore Catechism)

Consistory

"An assembly of the cardinals summoned at the discretion of the pope." (Catholic Dictionary)

Consubstantial

"'Of one substance' applied to the three persons of the Blessed Trinity who are but one substance" (Catholic Dictionary)

Contraception

The intentional prevention of conception which the Church has condemned as gravely contrary to the natural law. Sinful in and of itself, it is made even more so by the abortifacient properties of artificial methods of birth control (which may take the life of an unborn child without the mother's knowledge that she had ever conceived). Note: For more information, click here

Contrition

"Contrition, or sorrow for sin, is a hatred of sin and a true grief of the soul for having offended God, with a firm purpose of sinning no more." (Baltimore Catechism) Note: For more information, try here (Penance / Confession - Sacraments)

The Coronation

Refers to the crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary as queen of heaven and earth. It is the final glorious mystery of the Holy Rosary. Note: For more information on the Blessed Virgin Mary, click here. For more information on the Holy Rosary, click here

Corporal Works of Mercy

Click here for information on the Corporal Works of Mercy. Note: For 'Good Works' Reflections, click here.

Corpus Christi

Latin for "The Body of Christ." The Feast of Corpus Christi commemorates the institution of the Blessed Sacrament by Our Lord. Note: For liturgical feasts, click here (see 'moveable feasts' fliers)

Covet

"Covet means to wish to get wrongfully what another possesses or to begrudge his own to him." (Baltimore Catechism) Covetousness is one of the seven deadly sins. Note: For more information on deadly sins, try here

Creed

"A creed is a summary or list of the chief truths we believe or profess to believe. It is a compendium of doctrine." (Baltimore Catechism) Note: For the Apostles' Creed, click here. For additional creeds, click here

Crucifix

A crucifix is a cross containing a figure of our crucified Lord. Every Catholic home should have at least one crucifix. Note: Click here for 'Cross Vs. Crucifix'

Crusades

"Wars originally undertaken to deliver the Holy Places from the hands of infidels." (Catholic Dictionary)

Curia (Roman)

"Can. 360 The Supreme Pontiff usually conducts the affairs of the universal Church through the Roman Curia which performs its function in his name and by his authority for the good and service of the churches. The Roman Curia consists of the Secretariat of State or the Papal Secretariat, the Council for the Public Affairs of the Church, congregations, tribunals, and other institutes; the constitution and competence of all these are defined in special law." (1983 Code of Canon Law) Note: For more information, try the Vatican View Section (click here)

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- D -

Deadly Sins

Also called 'Capital Sins'. Note: For more information, click here

Death

"Death is the extinction of life in the body, through the departure of the soul, and takes place when the body is no longer adapted to life. Death of the soul is a figure of speech, meaning that the soul is turned away from its true end, God, by mortal sin; the soul cannot die, but in its state of disembodiment, from death until the general resurrection, its activities are curtailed." (Catholic Dictionary) Once a person has died, they are immediately subject to judgment (the particular judgment) and can no longer repent or earn merit. The state of a soul at the moment of death determines its ultimate fate for all eternity, without regard to how 'good' or 'bad' the person may have been in his or her life for the years prior to that moment. All men must die as a result of Original Sin. Note that eternal damnation may be referred to as "eternal death", however, the damned soul does not actually die; rather, it enters hell. Note: For information on 'Suffering / Death', click here. For 'Death / Dying' Reflections, click here.

Decalogue

Refers to the Ten Commandments. Note: For more information, click here

Demon

Synonym for devil. An evil spirit, a fallen angel. Note: Click here for 'Devil / Satan' Reflections

The Deposit of Faith

"That body of revelation, containing truths to be believed and principles of conduct, which was given by Christ to the Apostles, to be preserved by them and their successors, with the guarantee of infallibility, for the guidance of the Church. It embraces the truths of both Scripture and Tradition... It closed with the death of the last surviving apostle [St. John]. It is entrusted to the infallible magisterium of the Church to preserve, unfold and defend the deposit." (Catholic Dictionary) Note: Click here for information on papal infallibility.

Despair

"Despair is the loss of hope in God's mercy." (Baltimore Catechism)

Detraction

"Detraction is revealing the sins of another without necessity." (Baltimore Catechism)

Devil

Devils are fallen angels who tempt us to sin. They are our mortal enemies. "The Devil" refers to Lucifer (Satan). Note: Click here for 'Devil / Satan' Reflections

Devotions

Click Here for Catholic Devotions

Click Here for Monthly Devotions

Click Here for Daily Devotions

Click Here for 'Popular Marian Devotions'

Dicastery

Click here for 'Dicastery' Information (Vatican View Section / Facts)

The Didache

Refers to an ancient Christian writing (called "The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles"). Among other things, it confirms the hierarchical priesthood, the Mass as a sacrifice, and the Lord's Day (Sunday).

Diocese

Click here for 'Diocese' Information (Priests & Vocations Section / Facts)

Divination

"The seeking after knowledge of future or hidden things by inadequate means [e.g. 'gods', evil spirits]." (Catholic Encyclopedia) Such actions are gravely sinful.

Divine Office

Click here for 'Divine Office' Information (Priests & Vocations Section / Facts)

Divine Persons

Refers to the Three Divine Persons of the Blessed Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Note: Click here for 'The Holy Trinity' Reflections

Divine Providence

"We call the care by which God preserves and governs the world and all it contains his providence." (Baltimore Catechism) Note: Click here for 'Divine Providence' Reflections

Doctors of the Church

Click here for information on 'Doctors of the Church'. For a listing of the Doctors of the Church, click here.

Doctrine

"By a doctrine of faith or morals we mean the revealed teaching that refers to whatever we must believe and do in order to be saved." (Baltimore Catechism)

"Christian doctrine is the doctrine which Jesus Christ our Lord taught us to show us the way of salvation." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)

Note: Click here for 'Doctrine / Dogma' Reflections

Dogma

"A truth directly proposed [indicated] by the Church for our belief as an article of divine revelation." (Catholic Dictionary) All dogmas must be believed. Note: Click here for 'Doctrine / Dogma' Reflections

Dominations

"One of the choirs of the celestial hierarchy." (Catholic Dictionary) Note: For 'Angels' Reflections, click here 

Doxology

"We praise the Holy Trinity by a form of prayer called the Doxology, which has come down to us almost from the time of the Apostles." (Baltimore Catechism)

"A formula of praise. The greater doxology is the Gloria in excelsis (click here), the lesser, or simply the doxology, is Gloria Patri (click here)." (Catholic Dictionary)

Note: Click here for Prayers

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