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Catholic Basics: Selected Definitions

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Catholic Basics:

Selected Definitions

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Definitions [E-F]

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 Item

Description

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Easter

"Christ rose from the dead, glorious and immortal, on Easter Sunday, the third day after His death." (Baltimore Catechism) Easter is called the "'feast of feasts,' and 'most solemn of all solemnities,' for the Resurrection is the keystone of the Christian faith and hope" (Catholic Dictionary) Note: For liturgical feasts, click here (see 'moveable feasts' fliers). For 'Resurrection' Reflections, click here.

Easter Duty

Refers to the grave obligation to receive Holy Communion at Easter time. "Can. 920 §1 Once admitted to the blessed Eucharist, each of the faithful is obliged to receive Holy Communion at least once a year. §2 This precept must be fulfilled during paschal time (the Easter season), unless for a good reason it is fulfilled at another time during the year." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

Easter Triduum

Refers to special prayers and observances which begin on Maundy Thursday. 

Eastertide

See 'Paschaltide'

Ecumenical

(Or "Oecumenical") "Pertaining to or representing the whole world or Church" (Catholic Dictionary)

Ecumenical Council

A universal council of the Church (as opposed to a regional council). Note: For a listing of the Church's ecumenical councils, click here

Ecumenism

True ecumenism calls all persons to join the Catholic Church. False ecumenism allows others to remain in their errors without attempts at conversion, tends towards religious indifferentism and the 'watering down' of the faith. Note: For more on false ecumenism, click here ('Why Do Traditionalists Disapprove of Ecumenism?' / Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition Section)

Ember Days

Click here for information on Ember Days

Encyclical

Click here for information on papal writings. Note: For actual papal writings ('Classic Encyclicals'), click here

Envy

"Envy is a feeling of sorrow at another's good fortune and joy at the evil which befalls him; as if we ourselves were injured by the good and benefited by the evil that comes to him." (Baltimore Catechism) Envy is one of the seven deadly sins. Note: For more information on deadly sins, try here

Epiphany

"[The Epiphany] is the name of a feast of the first rank [in the traditional calendar] and a holyday of obligation observed throughout the Christian world on Jan. 6, which commemorates the manifestations of our Lord, (a) to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi, (b) of his divinity made at his baptism in the Jordan and (c) of his power shown in the miracle of Cana." (Catholic Dictionary) Note: For liturgical feasts, click here

Episcopate

Click here for information on 'Episcopate' (Priests & Vocations Section / Facts)

Epistle

Refers to the books of the New Testament which are in letter form. Note: Click here for information on books of the Bible.

Eschatology

"Eschatology ['The Last Things'] is that branch of theology which is concerned with death and the last things, the destruction and renewal of the world, the eternal reign of Christ when all men are judged and all things fulfilled, etc. It is the most difficult part of Christian dogma; very little has been defined regarding it and theologians are [customarily] very cautious in their treatment" (Catholic Dictionary)

Eternal

Never ending, continuous, perpetual. (Although all created beings had a beginning and continue to exist only by the Will and through the Power of God, God alone is truly eternal of His own nature - with no beginning and no ending.)

Eternity

Without beginning or end ("absolute eternity" - which belongs to God alone) or without end ("relative eternity" - a creature's continued existence by the Will and Power of God)

Eucharist

"The Holy Eucharist is the true Body and the true Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearances of bread and wine." (Catechism of St. John Neumann) Note: For more information on the Holy Eucharist, click here

Euthanasia

The act of intentionally killing someone (e.g. through medication) to 'relieve their pain'. Although some persons may prefer to refer to the act as 'mercy killing', the true name for such an act is murder. It is always a grave violation of God's law.

Click here for more information on euthanasia

Evangelical Counsels

Click here for information on 'Evangelical Councils' (Priests & Vocations Section / Facts)

Eve

The first female human being (and the second person) created by God. She was created from Adam's (the first man's) side. At the prompting of the devil, she disobeyed God's command, and later induced her husband to do so as well. The consequences of this Original Sin include death, the loss of God's grace, the transmission of the stain of Original Sin to all human beings, concupiscence, the closure of the gates of Heaven, etc. Christ - the Son of God - became Incarnate to redeem the fallen human race as a direct result of Original Sin. Note: Click here for 'Original Sin' Reflections

Ex Cathedra

"The pope is said to speak ex cathedra when 'exercising his office as the shepherd and teacher of all Christians, he in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole church. The cathedra being the official episcopal throne, the word is used figuratively of an official pastoral utterance of the most solemn kind." (Catholic Dictionary) When the pope speaks "ex cathedra", he speaks infallibly. Note: Click here for more on papal infallibility.

Examination of Conscience

Refers to an internal examination of one's words, thoughts, actions, omissions, etc. against Christian precepts in order to know and remember our sins, to be contrite for them, and to confess them sincerely. The Church recommends frequent examination of conscience. At minimum, one should examine one's conscience every evening and before going to Confession. This practice helps one to grow spiritually, avoid sin, make a worthy Confession, and to prepare for the final judgment. It should be done with all due diligence and should be considered a matter of grave importance. Items for consideration during an examination of conscience include the commandments, the deadly sins, the precepts of the Church, the sins against the Holy Spirit, the sins crying to heaven for vengeance, etc. We must also consider our role in others' sins (click here).

"The examination of conscience is an earnest effort to recall to mind all the sins we have committed since our last worthy confession." (Baltimore Catechism)

"The examination of conscience is a diligent search for the sins committed since the last good confession." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)

"We can make a good examination of conscience by calling to memory the commandments of God, the precepts of the Church, the seven capital sins, and the particular duties of our state in life, to find out the sins we have committed." (Baltimore Catechism)

"The examination of conscience is made by carefully calling to mind before God all the sins committed but not confessed, in thought, word, deed and omission, against the Commandments of God and the Church, and against the duties of our state." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)

"Before beginning the examination of conscience we should pray to God to give us light to know our sins and grace to detest them." (Baltimore Catechism)

"Nothing can be imagined more useful than for those who value their salvation to examine their consciences diligently twice every day, morning and night." (St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church) 

Excommunication

"Can. 2257 § 1 Excommunication is a censure by which one is excluded from the communion of the faithful with the effects that are enumerated... § 2 Moreover, it is called anathema especially when it is inflicted with the formalities that are described in the Roman Pontifical." (1917 Code of Canon Law) Note: Click here for 'Excommunication' Reflections

Exegesis

Refers to the study of Scripture. Note: For more information concerning Holy Scripture, click here

Exorcism

May refer to the driving out of evil spirits from a possessed person. May also refer to certain blessings traditionally employed by the Church to cast away evil spirits (e.g. exorcism in a traditional Baptism, traditional exorcism of Holy Water, etc.). Note: Click here for 'Exorcism' Reflections

Expiation

Refers to satisfaction for sin. Note: For more on expiation, try here (Sacraments - Penance) and here (Sacraments - Holy Eucharist/Mass). For 'Expiation' Reflections click here 

Extreme Unction

"Extreme Unction [also called 'Anointing of the Sick'] is the Sacrament which through the anointing and prayer of the priest gives health and strength to the soul, and sometimes to the body, when we are in danger of death from sickness." (Baltimore Catechism) Note: For more information, click here

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- F -

Faith

"Faith is the virtue by which we firmly believe all the truths God has revealed, on the word of God revealing them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived." (Baltimore Catechism) Note: For more information, see 'What Faith Is' Reflections (click here). Click here for 'Faith' Reflections. Click here for Feed Your Faith Section Reflections

Fall of Man

Refers to the transgression of Adam and Eve (Original Sin), which resulted in the loss of God's grace, death, the transmission of the stain of Original Sin to all human beings, concupiscence, the closure of the gates of Heaven, etc. Note: Click here for 'Original Sin' Reflections

Fasting

Refers to a reduction in food intake, designed to mortify the body and expiate sins. Traditionally, the Church has required a 40 day Lenten fast [patterned on Jesus' 40 day fast (Mt. 4:2)], and fasting has also been appointed for other days. Note: For more on fasting / abstinence, click here. For fasting / abstinence reflections, click here

Feast Days

Click here for information on 'Feast Days' (Saints Section / Facts)

Feasts

Click here for information on 'Feasts' (Saints Section / Facts)

Ferendae Sententiae

Refers to a penalties which are imposed (e.g. by a judge) after a judicial proceeding (although procedures may be dispensed with in certain cases)

Feria

Traditionally, the term 'feria' may refer to a "week-day on which no feast or vigil is observed" (Catholic Dictionary). It may also refer to certain days of the week [e.g. Feria Secunda (Monday)] Note: For liturgical feasts, click here. For 'Latin Language Definitions: Months / Days / Years', click here

Fornication

Fornication refers to an unlawful (e.g. carnal) union between unmarried persons. It is a grievous sin and, if unrepented, excludes one from heaven ["Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God." (St. Paul, 1 Cor. 6:9)] Note: For reflections on topic 'Fornication', click here

Freemasonry

A 'secret society' condemned on numerous occasions - in the strongest of terms - by the popes, membership in which traditionally subjected a Catholic to excommunication. Although it claims to promote "liberty, equality, and fraternity" and religious toleration, it is, in truth "the leader in a war against anything sacred" (Pope Leo XIII, "Inimica Vis", 1892), whose "poisonous infection...pervades entire communities" (Pope Leo XIII, "Inimica Vis", 1892) and is "Possessed by the spirit of Satan, whose instrument they are, they burn like him with a deadly and implacable hatred of Jesus Christ and of His work; and they endeavor by every means to overthrow and fetter it." (Pope Leo XIII, "Dall'alto Dell'apostolico Seggio", 1890) Many actions against the Church over the past few hundred years have been traced to the machinations of Freemasonry. We are told that, under no circumstance whatsoever, should Catholics join or promote the Masonic sect. As Pope Leo XIII has said: "As Our predecessors have many times repeated, let no man think that he may for any reason whatsoever join the Masonic sect, if he values his Catholic name and his eternal salvation as he ought to value them. Let no one be deceived by a pretense of honesty. It may seem to some that Freemasons demand nothing that is openly contrary to religion and morality; but, as the whole principle and object of the sect lies in what is vicious and criminal, to join with these men or in any way to help them cannot be lawful." (Pope Leo XIII, "Humanum Genus", 1884) Note: Click here for 'Freemasonry / Secret Societies' Reflections

Friar

Click here for information on 'Friar' (Priests & Vocations Section / Facts)

Fruits of the Holy Ghost

Click here for 'Gifts & Fruits of the Holy Spirit'

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