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Catholic Basics: Selected Definitions

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Catholic Basics:

Selected Definitions

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Definitions [S-T]

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Description

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Sacerdos

Latin for priest. Note: For Priests & Vocations section, click here. For more Latin definitions, click here

Sacramental Grace

"Sacramental grace is a special help which God gives, to attain the end for which He instituted each Sacrament." (Baltimore Catechism) Note: For more information on grace, click here. For 'Grace' Reflections, click here.

Sacramentals

"A sacramental is anything set apart or blessed by the Church to excite good thoughts and to increase devotion, and through these movements of the heart to remit venial sin." (Baltimore Catechism) Note: For more on Sacramentals, try here. For 'Sacramentals' Reflections, click here.

Sacramentary

Refers to "A book containing the rites for Mass and the sacraments generally - e.g. holy orders, baptism, &c.; Also for various sacramental rites - e.g. dedication of churches, consecration of nuns, &c." (Catholic Dictionary) Latin: Liber Sacramentorum

Sacraments

Click here for 'What is a Sacrament?' Click here for Sacraments Section

Sacred Scripture

The word of God. Note: For more information, see the Scripture / Parables Section (click here)

Sacrifice of the Mass

"The Holy Mass is the Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ offered on our altars under the appearances of bread and wine, in commemoration of the Sacrifice of the Cross." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)

The Mass is truly a propitary sacrifice, as promised in the old Testament. As the Catechism of the Council of Trent states, "Should we look for figures and prophecies of this Sacrifice in the Old Testament, in the first place Malachy most clearly prophesied thereof in these words: From the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts. (Mal. 1:11)"

Those who deny that the Mass is a true and propitary sacrifice fall under various anathemas. As stated by the Council of Trent: 

"If any one saith that in the mass a true and proper sacrifice is not offered to God; or that to be offered is nothing else but that Christ is given us to eat; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"If any one saith that the sacrifice of the mass is only a sacrifice of praise and of thanksgiving; or that it is a bare commemoration of the sacrifice consummated on the Cross, but not a propitiatory sacrifice; or that it profits him only who receives; and that it ought not to be offered for the living and for the dead for sins, pains, satisfactions, and other necessities; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"The holy council teaches that this Sacrifice [of the Mass] is truly propitiatory, so that if we draw near to God with an upright heart and true faith, with fear and reverence, with sorrow and repentance, through the Mass we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (see Heb. 4:16). For by this oblation the Lord is appeased" (Council of Trent).

Note that in Mass, Christ is not re-sacrificed, but rather the Sacrifice of the Mass is the same as the Sacrifice on the Cross - that is, the same sacrifice is made present on the Altar in an unbloody manner. There are not many sacrifices, but one Sacrifice. "The Mass is the same sacrifice as that of the Cross." (Baltimore Catechism)

Note: For more information on the Mass / The Holy Eucharist, click here

Sacrilege

"A person sins by sacrilege when he mistreats sacred persons, places, or things." (Baltimore Catechism)

"A sacrilege is the profanation of a place, of a person, or of a thing consecrated to God and set apart for his worship." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)

"[T]he sin of sacrilege consists in the irreverent treatment of a sacred thing." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Note: For more 'Sacrilege' Reflections, try here

Sacristy

"An [area] adjoining a church wherein are kept the sacred vessels, books, vestments and other accessories of divine worship and where the clergy vest for their office." (Catholic Dictionary)

Saint

Click here for more information on 'Saint / Sancti' (Saints Section / Facts)

Salvation

Refers, ultimately, to the attainment of everlasting life with God in Heaven. May also refer to the "freeing of the soul from the bonds of sin and its consequences" (Catholic Dictionary)

Sanctifying Grace

"Sanctifying grace is a supernatural gift inherent in our soul, and rendering us just, adopted children of God and heirs to Paradise." (Catechism of St. Pius X) Sanctifying grace is also called "habitual grace". Note: For more information on grace, click here. For 'Grace' Reflections, click here.

Sanctoral

Traditionally, the traditional liturgical year is considered to be comprised of the Temporal Cycle (e.g. concerning the mysteries of our Lord) and, simultaneously, the Sanctoral Cycle (e.g. feasts of the Saints).

Sanctuary

"That part of a church immediately surrounding the high altar" (Catholic Dictionary). Note that the sanctuary has traditionally been separated from the nave by an altar rail. Note: For more information, try the 'Church Talk' Section (click here)

Satan

The Devil, or Lucifer. Note: Click here for 'Devil / Satan' Reflections

Savior

Jesus Christ. Note: For Reflections on topic 'Jesus', click here

Scandal

"Scandal is any sinful word, deed, or omission that disposes others to sin, or lessens their respect for God and holy religion." (Baltimore Catechism)

"Scandal is any word, act, or omission which is the occasion of another's committing sin." (Catechism of St. Pius X)

"Scandal is a grave sin because, by causing the loss of souls, it tends to destroy the greatest work of God, namely, the redemption; it effects the death of another's soul by depriving it of the life of grace, which is more precious than the life of the body; and is the source of a multitude of sins." (Catechism of St. Pius X)

Scapular

Click here for information on Scapulars

Schism

"Schism is the withdrawal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or from communion with the members of the Church subject to him." (1983 Code of Canon Law) Note: Click here for 'Heresy / Heretics & Schism / Schismatics' Reflections

Schismatic

"Schismatics [are those] who have been baptized and believe all the articles of faith, but do not submit to the authority of the Pope" (Baltimore Catechism) Note: Click here for 'Heresy / Heretics & Schism / Schismatics' Reflections

Scholasticism

"The philosophy that flourished during the middle ages and which is personified in the Dominican St. Thomas Aquinas. It is the philosophy of the Fathers reduced to a grand synthesis and presented in a [morally instructive] form." (Catholic Dictionary)

Scholasticism has earned the Church's highest praise. For example consider that Pope Leo XIII has said, "For it has come to light that there were not lacking among the leaders of heretical sects some who openly declared that, if the teaching of Thomas Aquinas were only taken away, they could easily battle with all Catholic teachers, gain the victory, and abolish the Church. A vain hope, indeed, but no vain testimony." (Pope Leo XIII, "Aeterni Patris", 1879 A.D.)

The system has been under relentless attack in recent years by Modernists [Note that Pope St. Pius X called modernism "the synthesis of all heresies" and called modernists "the most pernicious of all the adversaries of the Church". Bl. Pope Pius IX called liberals (modernists) "the worst enemies of the Church"]. As indicated in Pascendi: "Whether it is ignorance or fear, or both, that inspires this conduct in them, certain it is that the passion for novelty is always united in them with hatred of scholasticism, and there is no surer sign that a man is on the way to Modernism than when he begins to show his dislike for this system." (Pope St. Pius X, "Pascendi Dominici Gregis", 1907 A.D.)

Note: For more information, try the 'Latin Mass / Catholic Tradition Section (click here)

Scripture

See "Sacred Scripture"

Scrupulous

May refer to those who "imagine sin where none exists or to regard as mortal sin what is only venial." (Catholic Dictionary)

"The signs of scruples are chiefly: (1) To be always dissatisfied with our confessions; (2) To be self-willed in deciding what is sinful and what is not. The chief remedy against them is to follow exactly the advice of [a good] confessor without questioning the reason or utility of his advice." (Baltimore Catechism)

Note: For more information on Penance / Confession, click here

Seal of Confession

Refers to the confessors' grave duty of confidentiality regarding the secrecy of information learned in confession.

"[T]he confessor is bound by the seal of confession under the gravest sin and under threat of the severest punishments both temporal and eternal." (Catechism of St. Pius X)

Note: For more information, try here (Sacraments Section - Penance / Confession)

Seasons

Refers to the liturgical seasons (e.g. Advent, Lent). Note that the traditional liturgical calendar has more seasons than the Novus Ordo (New) calendar. Note: For more information on the traditional liturgical calendar, try here (Latin Mass / Catholic Tradition Section). For 'The Traditional Liturgical Year' Reflections, click here

Second Coming

Refers to Jesus' glorious return at the end of the world, at which time all persons who have ever lived will be resurrected and judged in the general judgment. Those who are saved will enter heaven with glorified bodies, those who are damned will suffer in hell, along with their bodies, for all eternity. Note: Click here for 'Second Coming' Reflections. Click here for 'Resurrection' Reflections. Click here for 'Judgment' Reflections

Second Vatican Council

See "Vatican II"

Seminary

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

Senses of Scripture

"In the interpretation of the Bible the Church recognizes two senses: (a) the literal sense, which is the objective, actual and immediate truth which God prompted the writer to convey; (b) the typical sense (also called mystical or spiritual), which is the truth intended by God to be expressed by means of a figure or type which itself must be a matter of historical fact; this must be distinguished from any subjective sense. It is the office of the Church to declare the sense of any given scriptural passage; according to St. Thomas, the literal sense alone can be used for purpose of argument from the Scriptures." (Catholic Dictionary) Note: For more information on Scripture, click here

Septuagesima

Refers to the third Sunday before Ash Wednesday in the Traditional Liturgical Calendar, which begins the preparatory period for Lent. For more information on the traditional liturgical calendar, click here (Latin Mass / Catholic Tradition Section)

The Septuagint

"The first Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), made at Alexandria in the 3rd century B.C., traditionally by 70 translators. New Testament quotations from the O.T. [Old Testament] are mostly taken from it and not from the Hebrew. It is often referred to as the LXX." (Catholic Dictionary) Note: For more information on Scripture, click here

Sequence

Refers to a type of hymn/prayer in the Traditional Latin Mass. Note: For more information on the Traditional Latin Mass, click here (Latin Mass / Catholic Tradition Section)

Seraphim

The highest of the nine choirs of angels. Note: For 'Angels' Reflections, click here 

Sexagesima

Refers to the second Sunday before Ash Wednesday in the Traditional Liturgical Calendar. Note: For more information on the traditional liturgical calendar, click here (Latin Mass / Catholic Tradition Section)

Sext

Refers to one of the traditional divisions of the Divine Office. Sext is the fifth hour of the Divine Office, which is said at the sixth hour of each day [12 p.m. (noon)].

Shrines

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

Sign of the Cross

"A confession of faith in Christ crucified and an invocation of his blessing made by a cruciform gesture on one's body. By all Catholics, except those of the Byzantine rite it is made by touching the forehead, breast, left and right shoulders, with the tips of the fingers and thumb of the right hand held together, and is usually accompanied by the words 'In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost [Spirit].'" (Catholic Dictionary) The Sign of the Cross traces back to the earliest days of the Church, and it is customarily done before and after various works (praying, eating, sleeping, etc.) and at certain times (occasions of danger, temptation, etc.) Note: Click here for 'Sign of the Cross' Reflections

Simony

"Can. 727 § 1 By divine law, simony is the studied will to buy or sell for a temporal price an intrinsically spiritual thing, for example, Sacraments, ecclesiastical jurisdiction, consecration, indulgences, and so forth, or temporal things so connected with spiritual things that without the spiritual they cannot exist, for example, ecclesiastical benefices, and so on, or a spiritual thing that is, even in part, the object of a contract, for example, the consecration of a chalice consecrated in sale. § 2 By ecclesiastical law, simony is to give temporal things that are attached to spiritual ones for other temporal things that are attached to spiritual, or spiritual things for spiritual things, or even temporal for temporal if, in so doing, there is a danger of that irreverence toward spiritual things that is prohibited by the Church." (1917 Code of Canon Law) Note: Click here for 'Simony' Reflections

Sin

Click here for information on Sin & Vice. Click here for 'Sin' Reflections

Sinner

One guilty of sin, i.e. all persons except Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Note: For information on Sin & Vice, click here. For 'Sin / Sinner' Reflections, click here

Sloth

"Sloth is a laziness of the mind and body, through which we neglect our duties on account of the labor they require." (Baltimore Catechism) Sloth is one of the seven deadly sins. Note: For more information on deadly sins, try here

Son of God

Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity

Soul

"The soul is the noblest part of man, because it is a spiritual substance, endowed with intelligence and will, capable of knowing God and of possessing Him for all eternity." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)

Spiritual Communion

"A spiritual communion is an earnest desire to receive Communion in reality, by which desire we make all preparations and thanksgivings that we would make in case we really received the Holy Eucharist. Spiritual Communion is an act of devotion that must be pleasing to God and bring us blessings from Him." (Baltimore Catechism) Note: For 'Spiritual Communion' Reflections, click here. For more information on Holy Communion, click here.

Spiritual Works of Mercy

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

Spy Wednesday

Refers to Wednesday in Holy Week, the day in which Judas, according to tradition, is believed to have arranged to betray Jesus

St. Peter, the First Pope

Click here for information on St. Peter, the First Pope (Vatican View Section / Facts) 

State of Grace

"The state of the soul which is free of original sin and actual mortal sin. Its negative aspect is this absence of sin; its positive aspect, the presence of sanctifying grace, with the virtues and gifts of the Holy Ghost, implying the friendship of God and the personal indwelling of the Holy Ghost." (Catholic Dictionary). The state of grace is lost upon committing a single mortal sin and recovered, sacramentally, by a good Confession (or, non-sacramentally, by perfect contrition). Note: For 'Mortal Sin' Reflections, click here. For 'Penance / Confession' information, click here

Stations of the Cross

Click here for 'Stations of the Cross' 

Stigmata

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

Subreption

"[S]ubreption, that is, the withholding of the truth" (1983 Code of Canon Law)

Supreme Pontiff

Synonym for Pope. For more information on the Pope, see the Vatican View Section (click here)

Symbol

May refer to a "sign by which something is known." (Catholic Dictionary). May also refer to a creed (e.g. the Apostles' Creed).

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Tabernacle

"[Traditionally, the] Tabernacle is the house-shaped part of the altar where the sacred vessels containing the Blessed Sacrament are kept." (Baltimore Catechism) Note: Click here for 'Tabernacle' Reflections

Temperance

"The virtue which enables the man to control his natural appetite for sensual pleasure. It includes the subsidiary virtues of modesty, chastity, and abstinence as opposed to gluttony and drunkenness." (Catholic Dictionary) Temperance is one of the four Cardinal Virtues.

Temptation

"A temptation is anything that incites, provokes, or urges us to offend God." (Baltimore Catechism) Note: Click here for 'Temptations' Reflections

Ten Commandments

Click here for the Ten Commandments

Terce

Refers to one of the traditional divisions of the Divine Office. Terce is the fourth hour of the Divine Office, which is said at the third hour of each day (9 a.m.).

Theological Virtues

Click here for information on 'Theological Virtues'

Theophanes

"Manifestations of God to Man" (e.g. in the Old Testament, to Moses)

Theotokos

Click here for information on 'Theotokos' (Misc. Marian Facts)

Thomism

"The system of philosophy and theology of St. Thomas Aquinas" (Catholic Dictionary) Note: Also see 'Scholasticism'

Thrones

The third of nine choirs of angels. Note: For 'Angels' Reflections, click here 

Tradition

"The sum of revealed doctrine which has not been committed to sacred Scripture (though it may have appeared in uninspired writing) but which has been handed down by a series of legitimate shepherds of the Church from age to age. As revelation it must have come to the Apostles directly from the lips of Christ or been handed down by the Apostles at the dictation of the Holy Ghost. More broadly the term is used for the sum of doctrine revealed either in Scripture or by word of mouth; so in 2 Thes. ii, 14: 'Hold by the traditions you have learned, in word or in writing, from us.'" (Catholic Dictionary)

"We must attach to Tradition the same importance as the revealed word of God which Holy Scripture contains." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)

Note: Click here for 'Tradition / Traditions' Reflections

The Transfiguration

"By the transfiguration of Our Lord we mean the supernatural change in His appearance when He showed Himself to His Apostles in great glory and brilliancy in which 'His face did shine as the sun and His garments became white as snow.' (Mk. 9:2-9)" (Baltimore Catechism)

Transubstan-

tiation

During Mass, at the consecration, the bread and wine are entirely changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. The change is so complete that none of the substance of bread and wine remains, leaving only the appearance of bread and wine [that is, the 'accidents' - e.g. the appearance, smell, "the figure, the color, the taste, and whatever appears to the senses" (Baltimore Catechism)]. This miraculous change is called 'transubstantiation'. Although the transubstantiation is not perceptible to the eyes, it can be - and must be - perceptible "with the eyes of faith". Note: For more information, click here (Sacraments - Holy Eucharist / Mass)

Treasury of the Church

Also called "Treasury of Merits". Refers to the "superabundant store of the merits and satisfactions of Christ, which were beyond the needs of our salvation, to which are added the excess of merits and satisfactions of our Lady and the saints. It is from this treasury that the Church grants indulgences." (Catholic Dictionary) Note: For 'Treasury of the Church' Reflections, click here. For Indulgence information, click here

Trental

Click here for 'Gregorian Masses / Trental' 

Tridentine Mass

A 'shorthand' term generally used to refer to the Traditional Latin Mass. Note that the Traditional Latin Mass is often called the 'Tridentine' Mass, since its codification is tied to the Council of Trent. In contrast to the Novus Ordo (New Order) Mass of the 1960's however, the 'Tridentine' Mass was not fabricated by men. Rather, most of its central elements are said to trace back - nearly without change - to apostolic times. Therefore, although it is convenient to refer to the Traditional Latin Mass as the "Tridentine" Mass, it is somewhat misleading. Note: For more information on the Traditional Latin Mass, click here

Triduum

"Three days" - "A time frequently chosen for prayer or for other devout practices, whether by individuals in private, or in public by congregations or special organizations in parishes, in religious communities, seminaries, or schools. The form of prayer or devotion depends upon the occasion or purpose of the triduum. The three days usually proceed some feast, and the feast then determines the choice of the pious exercises." (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Trinity

See "Holy Trinity"

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