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Catholic Basics: Selected Definitions

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Catholic Basics:

Selected Definitions

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Definitions [O-P]

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 Item

Description

- O -

Obreption

"Obreption, that is, the making of a false statement" (1983 Code of Canon Law)

Occasions of Sin

"Any person, place or thing which allures a man to sin." (Catholic Dictionary) We are called to avoid occasions of sin whenever possible. Note: For additional information on sin, click here. For Reflections on topic 'Sin', click here

Octave

"The commemoration of a feast over a period of eight days, counting the feast itself; the final day of such a commemoration. Days in between are 'within the octave.'" (Catholic Dictionary)

Old Testament

"Those books of the Bible written before the coming of Jesus Christ and, for the most part, accepted as canonical by the Hebrews." (Catholic Dictionary) Note that the Old Testament finds its fulfillment in the New Testament.

Omission

"When we neglect things commanded our sin is called a sin of omission. Such sins as willfully neglecting to hear Mass on Sundays, or neglecting to go to Confession at least once a year, are sins of omission." (Baltimore Catechism) It should especially be noted that the failure to attend Mass on Sunday (without an appropriate excuse) is a mortal sin. Note: For additional information on sin, click here. For Reflections on topic 'Sin', click here

Ordination

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

Original Sin

"Original sin is the sin in which we are all born, and which we contracted by the disobedience of our first parent, Adam." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X) Note: Click here for 'Original Sin' Reflections

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- P -

Palm Sunday

Refers to the Sunday prior to Easter. Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus' entry into Jerusalem (see Mt. 21:1-11)

Papacy

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

Papal

May refer to items issued by or belonging to the Pope.

Papal Bull

A solemn papal letter, traditionally associated with a lead seal ("bulla"). Note: Click here for more information on Papal writings. For actual papal writings ('Classic Encyclicals'), click here.

Papal Legates

Click here for information on 'Papal Legates' (Vatican View Section / Facts)

Parables

"A story of human life, usually fictitious, used to illustrate a religious or moral truth. Over thirty parables are recorded in the gospels as having been spoken by our Lord" (Catholic Dictionary)

Paraclete

See "Holy Spirit"

Parish

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

Partial Indulgence

"A partial Indulgence is that by which is remitted only a part of the temporal punishment due to our sins." (Catechism of Pope Pius X) Note: For more information on indulgences, click here. For 'Indulgences' Reflections, click here.

Particular Judgment

"The judgment we have to undergo immediately after death is called the Particular Judgment" (Baltimore Catechism) 

"The rewards or punishments appointed for men's souls after the Particular Judgment are Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell" (Baltimore Catechism)

Each person's Particular Judgment will be confirmed and made public on the last day, at the General Judgment. Note: Click here for 'Judgment' Reflections

Parts of the Church

Click here for 'Parts of the Church'

Paschaltide (or 'Eastertide')

The traditional liturgical season which spans from Ester Sunday to the Sunday After Pentecost. Note: For more information on traditional liturgical seasons, try here (Latin Mass / Catholic Tradition Section)

Passion of Christ

Refers to the suffering and death of Jesus. Note: Click here for 'The Passion / The Cross' Reflections

Passion Sunday

Traditionally refers to the fifth Sunday of Lent, when the (traditional) season of Passiontide begins. For more information on traditional liturgical seasons, try here (Latin Mass / Catholic Tradition Section)

Passiontide

The traditional liturgical season which spans from Passion Sunday to Holy Saturday. Note: For more information on traditional liturgical seasons, try here (Latin Mass / Catholic Tradition Section)

Paten

"A thin circular plate of metal, sufficiently large to rest on top of the chalice, which holds the Host at Mass." (Catholic Dictionary)

Pater Noster

Latin for 'Our Father'. Refers to the Our Father prayer as given by Jesus in Holy Scripture. For text of the Our Father prayer, click here. Note: For 'The Lord's Prayer' Reflections, click here. 

Patron Saint

Click here for 'Patron Saint' information (Saints Section / Facts)

Penance

May mean the Sacrament of Penance. Also note that the term penance has various other meanings, for example: "It means also those punishments we inflict upon ourselves as a means of atoning for our past sins; it means likewise that disposition of the heart in which we detest and bewail our sins because they were offensive to God." (Baltimore Catechism) Note: For information on Penance / Confession, click here. For 'Penance' Reflections, click here. 

Pentateuch

Refers to the first five books of the Bible, namely: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

Pentecost

"The feast on which is commemorated the visible coming-down of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles and the establishment of the Church founded by our Lord on St. Peter, usually called Whit-Sunday [Whitsunday] in English. It occurs fifty days after Easter [and ten days after the Ascension]" (Catholic Dictionary) Note that this refers to the Christian Pentecost (which occurred during the Jewish Pentecost). Note: For liturgical feasts, click here (see 'moveable feasts' fliers). 

Perfect Contrition

In contrast with imperfect contrition, perfect contrition "is that which fills us with sorrow and hatred for sin, because it offends God, who is infinitely good in Himself and worthy of all love." (Baltimore Catechism) Note: For more on contrition, try here (Penance / Confession - Sacraments Section)

Perpetual Adoration

Refers to the continual adoration of the Holy Eucharist, day and night. Note: For more information on the Holy Eucharist, click here

Perseverance

"The grace of perseverance is a particular gift of God which enables us to continue in the state of grace till death." (Baltimore Catechism) Note: Click here for 'Perseverance' Reflections. 

Pilgrimage

"A journey to a sacred place undertaken as an act of religious devotion, either simply in order to venerate it or to ask the fulfillment of some need or as an act of penance or thanksgiving, or a combination of these." (Catholic Dictionary)

Pillars of the Church

Click here for 'Pillars of the Church'

Plenary Indulgence

"A plenary Indulgence is that by which the whole temporal punishment due to our sins is remitted." (Catechism of Pope Pius X) Note: For more information on indulgences, click here.

Pontificate

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

Pope

Click here for information on the Pope (Vatican View Section)

Prayer

Click here for prayers and prayer information (Prayers & Devotions Section)

Precepts of the Church

Click here for 'Precepts of the Church'

Predestination

"The act of foreordaining, by which from eternity God decrees whatever he will do in time. The term particularly refers to the act of his providence which destines certain human beings for salvation. God knows from all eternity whether or not an individual will be saved, and from eternity he has decreed those graces by which a person is saved, including the grace of final perseverance. But man is free whether he does good or evil. God does not positively predestine anybody to Hell or to sin... He has foreseen the wickedness of the damned, and has foreordained their punishment, but, none the less, he has a real will for their salvation, and he offers them the grace of conversion which they freely reject. Since God knows whether an individual will be saved or not, there is objective certainty about the fact. But man can never (except by a rare private revelation) be subjectively certain of his predestination, though he should have a very sure hope in God's mercy." (Catholic Dictionary). Note: Click here for 'Predestination' Reflections

Presbyter

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

The Presentation

Refers to the presentation of Jesus in the Temple. The Presentation is the fourth joyful mystery of the Holy Rosary. Note: For more information on the Holy Rosary, click here

Presumption

"A vice opposed to hope, whereby a man expects to gain eternal life by his own strength or without merits, or to obtain pardon without repentance. Of itself, presumption is a mortal sin; but in its usual form, sc., so acting as to appear presumptuous, it may be venial." (Catholic Dictionary)

"We may be guilty of presumption (1) By putting off confession when in a state of mortal sin; (2) by delaying the amendment of our lives and repentance for past sins; (3) by being indifferent about the number of times we yield to any temptation after we have once yielded and broken our resolution to resist it; (4) by thinking we can avoid sin without avoiding its near occasion; (5) by relying too much on ourselves and neglecting to follow the advice of our confessor in regard to the sins we confess." (Baltimore Catechism)

Pride

"Pride is an excessive love of our own ability; so that we would rather sinfully disobey than humble ourselves." (Baltimore Catechism) 

"Pride is that accursed sin which drove the angels out of paradise, and hurled them into Hell." (Catechism of the Cure de Ars)

Pride is one of the seven deadly sins. Note: For more information on deadly sins, try here. For 'Pride' Reflections, click here

Priest

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

Priesthood

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

Primacy

Click here for 'Papal Primacy / Supremacy' information (Vatican View Section / Facts)

Prime

Refers to one of the traditional divisions of the Divine Office. Prime is the third hour of the Divine Office, which is said at the first hour of each day (6 a.m.).

Privileged Altar

"One at which a plenary indulgence may be gained for a soul in Purgatory by the celebration and application of a [particular] Mass. The privilege is either local (belonging to any priest at a particular altar) or personal (to a particular priest and any altar) or mixed (to certain priests at certain altars)." (Catholic Dictionary) Note that the indulgence is to be applied to the soul for whom the Mass was offered.

Propitiation

May refer to appeasing the wrath of God, atoning for sins.

Protoevangelium

Refers to the "first gospel", namely that portion of Genesis (Chapter 3) which contains the first announcement of the Messiah who was to come.

Purgatory

"Purgatory is the state in which those suffer for a time who die guilty of venial sins or without having satisfied for the punishment due to their sins." (Baltimore Catechism) The souls in purgatory - called 'Holy Souls' - suffer dreadfully for their sins, but they are assured of eventually reaching heaven. They may be assisted by the living by means of indulgences. It is believed that most of the souls that are saved must pass through purgatory, and that the duration of purgatory may be as long as decades or centuries or even longer. Note: For 'Purgatory' Reflections, click here. For more information on indulgences, click here. For 'Indulgences' Reflections, click here.

The Purification

"A feast of our Lady [traditionally on Feb. 2], commemorating her ritual purification in the Temple after childbirth, [based on] the Jewish law. It is [traditionally] accompanied by the blessing, distribution and procession with candles, whence the English name Candlemas." (Catholic Dictionary)

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