An Aramaic term of endearment meaning "Daddy."
Infidelity in marriage whereby a married person has sexual intercourse with someone who is not the person's spouse.
People who claim that God's existence cannot be known.
A Hebrew word for "truly" or "it is so," thus signifying agreement with what has been said. New Testament and liturgical prayers, creeds, and other Christian prayers end with "Amen" to show belief in what has just been said.
The denial of Christ and repudiation of the Christian faith by a baptized Christian.
"One sent" to be Christ's ambassador, to continue his work. In its widest sense, the term refers to all of Christ's disciples whose mission is to preach his gospel in word and deed. Originally, it referred to the Twelve whom Jesus chose to help him in his earthly ministry. The successors of the twelve apostles are the bishops.
The Church dogma that teaches that the Blessed Mother, because of her unique role in her Son's Resurrection, was taken directly to heaven when her earthly life was over. The feast of the Assumption on August 15 is a holy day of obligation.
A person who denies the existence of God.
An inordinate passion for riches and the power that comes with them.
Seeing God "face-to-face" in heaven, the source of our eternal happiness; final union with the Triune God for all eternity.
The inspired word of God; the written record of revelation.
Any thought, word, or act that expresses hatred or contempt for God, Christ, the Church, saints, or holy things.
The central dogma of the Christian faith that there are three divine Persons Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in one God.
Slander, that is, lies told about another person in order to harm his or her reputation and lead others to make false judgments about the person.
The official body of rules (canons) that provides for good order in the Catholic Church.
Sins that are the root of other sins and vices. There are seven capital sins: pride, covetousness, envy, anger, gluttony, lust, and sloth.
The "hinge" virtues from which all other virtues come. They are prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance.
A process of "education in the faith" for young people and adults with the view of making them disciples of Jesus Christ.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
A compendium of Catholic doctrine on faith and morals published in 1992 that serves Catholics as "a sure norm for teaching the faith" and "an authentic reference text."
From a Greek word meaning "universal" or "general." The Catholic Church is the Christian community that is one, holy, apostolic, and catholic that is, open to all people everywhere at all times and that preaches the fullness of God's revelation in Jesus Christ.
A special gift of the Holy Spirit that helps us build up the Church, Christ's body. Some of these gifts are the ability to express wisdom and knowledge, healing, prophecy, and discernment of spirits (1 Cor 12:4-11).
The moral virtue that enables persons to integrate their sexuality into their stations in life.
A title for Jesus meaning "the anointed one." In Greek, the word Christos translated the Hebrew Messiah.
A life in Christ through responsible living that flows from our dignity as God's adopted children made in his image and from Christ's command to love.
The Body of Christ, that is, the community of God's people who profess faith in the risen Lord Jesus and love and serve others under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Roman Catholic Church is guided by the pope and his bishops.
The sum total of social conditions that allow people to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily.
communion of saints
The unity in Christ of all those he has redeemed the Church on earth, in heaven, and in purgatory.
An inclination to commit sin that can be found in human desires and appetites as a result of original sin.
The open-ended contract of love between God and human beings. Jesus' death and resurrection sealed God's new covenant of love for all time. Testament translates to covenant.
The belief that God did create the universe but that he takes no further interest in it.
Giving up hope in God's saving graces, his forgiveness of sins, and his promise of salvation.
Without a legitimate reason, disclosing a person's faults to someone who did not know about them, thus causing unjust harm to that person's reputation.
divine missions of the Blessed Trinity
The special roles in salvation history attributed to each member of the Trinity: the Father is the Creator, the Son is the Savior, and the Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier. The whole plan of salvation is the common work of the three divine Persons who possess one and the same nature.
God's loving and watchful guidance over his creatures on their way to their final goal and perfection.
Doctor of the Church
A Church writer of great learning and holiness whose works the Church has highly recommended for studying and living the faith.
A central truth of revelation that Catholics are obliged to believe.
A worldwide, official assembly of the bishops under the direction of the pope. There have been twenty-one ecumenical councils, the most recent being the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).
The movement, inspired and led by the Holy Spirit, that seeks the union of all Christian religions and eventually the unity of all peoples throughout the world.
The feast that celebrates the mystery of Christ's manifestation as the Savior of the world.
A study of and teaching about the "last things" (death, judgment, heaven, hell, purgatory, the Second Coming of Christ, and the resurrection of the body).
"Any action or omission which of itself and by intention causes death, with the purpose of eliminating all suffering" (The Gospel of Life, No. 65). This is distinguished from palliative care that alleviates a person's suffering as the inevitable death nears. Euthanasia is a serious violation of the fifth commandment, a crime against life, and an attack on humanity.
vows of personal poverty, chastity understood as lifelong celibacy, and obedience to the demands of the community being jointed which are professed by those entering the consecrated life.
The four evangelists refers to the authors of the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The word evangelist means "one who proclaims in word and deed the good news of Jesus Christ."
To bring the good news of Jesus Christ to others.
fruits of the Holy Spirit
Perfections that result from living in union with the Holy Spirit. They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (see Gal 5:22-23).
gifts of the Holy Spirit
An outpouring of God's gifts that enable us to live a Christian life. The traditional gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel (right judgment), fortitude (courage), piety (reverence), and fear of the Lord.
A term meaning "good news." The term refers to 1) Jesus' own preaching; 2) the preaching about Jesus the Savior (Jesus Christ is the good news proclaimed by the Church); and 3) the four Spirit-inspired written versions of the good news the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
God's gift of friendship and life that enables to share his life and love.
A major break between the churches of the West (centered in Rome) and the East (centered in the Greek city of Constantinople). The Roman Church had added the expression "and the Son" to the article of the Nicene Creed referring to the Holy Spirit ("he proceeds from the Father and the Son) without seeking approval from a Church-wide council of bishops.
Perfect life of supreme happiness with God and the communion of saints for all eternity.
Eternal separation from God that results from a person dying after freely and deliberately choosing to act against God's will (that is, not repenting of mortal sin).
An obstinate denial after Baptism to believe a truth that must be believed with divine and Catholic faith, or an obstinate doubt about such truth.
The official, sacred leadership in the Church made up of the Church's ordained ministers bishops, priests, and deacons. The symbol of unity and authority in the Church is the pope, the Bishop of Rome, who is the successor of St. Peter.
Giving worship to something or someone other than the true God.
The Church dogma that holds that the Blessed Mother, by a special grace from God and by virtue of her Son's merits, was preserved immune from all stain of original sin from the very first moment of her human existence. This feast is celebrated on December 8, a holy day of obligation.
A trait of God which refers to God's intimate union with and total presence to his creation.
The dogma that God's eternal Son assumed a human nature and became man in Jesus Christ to save us from our sins. (The term literally means "taking on human flesh.")
A gift of the Spirit whereby the pope and bishops are preserved from error when proclaiming a doctrine related to Christian faith or morals.
The Holy Spirit's grace that cleanses us from our sins through faith in Jesus Christ and Baptism. It makes us right with God. Justification not only frees us from sin, but sanctifies us in the depth of our being.
kingdom of God
The reign of God proclaimed by Jesus and begun in his life, death, and resurrection. It refers to the process of God reconciling and renewing all things through his Son, to the fact of his will being done on earth as it is in heaven.
All the members of the Church who have been initiated into the Church through Baptism and who are not ordained (the clergy) or in consecrated life. The laity participate in Jesus' prophetic, priestly, and kingly ministries.
last (general) judgment
Jesus Christ's judgment of the living and the dead on the last day when he comes to fully establish God's kingdom.
The official public worship of the Church. The sacraments and the Divine Office constitute the Church's liturgy. The Mass is the most important liturgical celebration.
The official teaching authority of the Church. The Lord bestowed the right and power to teach in his name on Peter and the apostles and their successors. The Magisterium is the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome (pope).
marks of the Church
Four essential signs or characteristics of Christ's Church that mark it as his true Church. The Church is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.
A fruit of the virtue of purity, it protects one's most intimate inner self, refusing to unveil what should remain covered.
Religions that believe that there is only one God. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are the three great monotheistic world religions.
A serious violation of God's law of love that results in the loss of God's life (sanctifying grace) in the soul of the sinner. To commit mortal sin there must be grave matter, full knowledge of the evil done, and full consent of the will.
A reality filled with God's invisible presence. This term applies to the Blessed Trinity's plan of salvation in Jesus Christ; the Church which is his body; and the sacraments.
God's plan for human living that is written in the very way he created things. Binding on all people at all times, it is the light of understanding that God puts in us so we can discover what is good and what is evil.
A statement or promise that calls on God to be witness to it.
original holiness and justice
The state of man and woman before sin. "From their friendship with God flowed the happiness of their existence in paradise" (CCC, 384).
The fallen state of human nature into which all generations of people are born. Christ Jesus came to save us from original sin.
A favorite teaching device of Jesus in which he told a short story with a striking, memorable comparison that taught a religious message, usually about some aspect of God's kingdom.
Another name for the Holy Spirit that means advocate, defender, or consoler.
The second coming of Christ when the Lord will judge the living and the dead.
The individual's judgment right after death when Christ will rule on one's eternal destiny to be spent in heaven (after purification in purgatory, if needed) or in hell.
The saving love of God most fully revealed in the life and especially the passion, death, resurrection, and glorious ascension of his Son Jesus Christ.
Our emotional response to the good or evil we encounter.
Lying under oath by asking God to witness a lie. This is a grave violation of the second commandment.
Religions that believe in multiple gods and goddesses. The ancient Greeks and Romans were polytheistic as is the Hindu faith.
precepts of the Church
Basic rules that bind Catholics who belong to Christ's Body. solidarity A Christian virtue of charity and friendship whereby material and spiritual goods are shared among members of the human family.
A baptized Christian who believes in Christ but who does not accept all the teachings of the Catholic Church. Protestant communities first came into existence during the Reformation in the sixteenth century.
The state of purification that takes place after death for those who need to be made clean and holy before meeting the all-holy God in heaven.
The relationship between God and humans that results in a body of beliefs and a set of practices: creed, cult, and code. Religion expresses itself in worship and service to God and by extension to all people and all creation.
resurrection of the body
The Christian belief that when Christ comes again he will reunite the bodies of every human with their souls.
An outward (visible) sign of an invisible grace. An "efficacious" symbol that brings about the spiritual reality to which it points. This term applies to Christ Jesus, the great sign of God's love for us; to the Church, his continuing presence in our world; and to the seven sacraments.
The living transmission of the Church's gospel message found in the Church's teaching, life, and worship. It is faithfully preserved, handed on, and interpreted by the Church's Magisterium.
A "holy one" of God who lives in union with God through the grace of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit and whom God rewards with eternal life in heaven.
God's forgiveness of sins, accomplished through the mercy of Jesus Christ, resulting in the restoration of friendship with God.
An offense against God through a violation of truth, reason, and conscience.
Any community of human beings that unites them in a common purpose.
Attempts to tame occult powers in order to use them to gain a supernatural power over others.
A Christian virtue of charity and friendship whereby material and spiritual goods are shared among members of the human family.
Attempts to tame occult powers in order to use them to gain a supernatural power over others.
sources of morality
The three basic elements of every action: the moral object (what we do), the intention (our motive), and the circumstances (context and consequences). All three elements must be good for a proposed action to be good. In addition, some moral objects (like murder and adultery) are always evil and can never be justified. Also, a good intention can never justify an evil act.
A principle of Catholic social justice that holds that a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving it of its functions.
Three important virtues bestowed on us at baptism which relate us to God: faith (belief in and personal knowledge of God) hope (trust in God's salvation and his bestowal of the graces needed to attain it) and charity (love of God and love of neighbor).
An appearance or manifestation of God to humans.
A trait of God that refers to God's total otherness and being infinitely beyond and independent of creation.
Actual sin that weakens and wounds our relationship with God, but does not destroy divine life in our souls.
Bad habits or dispositions (like pride) that turn us from the good and incline us to commit evil.
A Church dogma that teaches that Jesus was conceived through the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit without the cooperation of a human father.
Firm attitudes, stable dispositions, habitual perfections of intellect and will that govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith (CCC, 1804).
The sacred Hebrew name for God which means "I am who am," I am," or "I am who I am."