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Aachen - In French, Aix-la-Chapelle, the name by which the city is generally known; in Latin Aquae Grani, later Aquisgranum
Aaron - Brother of Moses, and High Priest of the Old Law
Abaddon - A Hebrew word signifying: ruin, destruction (Job 31:12); place of destruction; the Abyss, realm of the dead (Job 26:6; Proverbs 15:11)
Abandonment - A term used by writers of ascetical and mystical books to signify the first stage of the union of the soul with God by conforming to His Will
Abba - Aramaic word for father
Abbess - The female superior in spirituals and temporals of a community of twelve or more nuns
Abbey - A monastery canonically erected and autonomous, with a community of not fewer than twelve religious; monks under the government of an abbot; nuns under that of an abbess
Abbot - A title given to the superior of a community of twelve or more monks
Abbreviation, Methods of - Discusses forms used to get the most use from scarce and costly materials
Abbreviations, Ecclesiastical - Latin abbreviations commonly seen in documents of the Catholic Church, the full Latin words or phrases, and their English meaning
Abdias - A minor prophet
Abduction - May be considered as a public crime and a matrimonial diriment impediment
Abel - Commentary on the first murder victim
Abelard, Peter - Dialectician, philosopher, and theologian (1079-1142)
Abgar, The Legend of - Concerns a correspondence that took place between God and the local potentate at Edessa
Abiogenesis and Biogenesis - According to their Greek derivation these two terms refer to the origin of life
Abomination of Desolation, The - Spoken of in St. Matthew, xxiv, 15, and St. Mark, xiii, 14
Abortion - Briefly defined as 'the loss of a fetal life.'
Abortion, Physical Effects of - Covers definition, causes, and physical effects
Abraham - Outline of his life, with New and Old Testament views
Abraham, The Bosom of - Found only in two verses of St. Luke's Gospel (xvi, 22, 23)
Absalom - Article covers Absalom, son of David; Absalom, father of Mathathias; and Absalom, father of Jonathan
Absolution - The remission of sin, or of the punishment due to sin, granted by the Church
Abstinence - Includes information about old and new testament fasting as well as church laws
Abyss - Primarily and classically an adjective, very deep
Abyssinia - Provides details on the geography, ethnology, political revolutions, as well as church information
Acacius - Patriarch of Constantinople (d. 489)
Academy, The French - Founded by Cardinal de Richelieu in 1635
Accident - The obvious division of things into the stable and the unstable
Accomplice - A term generally employed to designate a partner in some form of evildoing
Achilleus and Nereus, Domitilla and Pancratius, Saints - Roman martyrs who shared a feast day on 12 May
Acolyte - A cleric promoted to the fourth and highest minor order in the Latin Church, ranking next to a subdeacon
Acta Pilati - The Gospel of Nicodemus
Acta Sanctæ Sedis - A publication containing the principal public documents issued by the Pope, directly or through the Roman Congregations
Acton, John Emerich Edward Dalberg, Baron Acton - Biography of the historian best-known for his view of the corruption power causes
Acts, Human - St. Thomas and the scholastics in general regard only the free and deliberate acts of the will as human
Acts, Indifferent - An act that is neither good nor bad
Acts of the Apostles - The fifth book of the New Testament
Acts of the Martyrs - Records of the trials of early Christian martyrs made by the notaries of the court
Actual Grace - A grace that is given for the performance of salutary acts and is present and disappears with the action itself
Ad Limina Visit - The obligation incumbent on certain members of the hierarchy of visiting, the 'thresholds of the Apostles', Sts. Peter and Paul, and of presenting themselves before the pope to give an account of the state of their dioceses
Adalbert, Saint - Apostle of the Slavs. Monk, missionary to Russia, abbot, and bishop of Magdeburg, d. 981
Adam - First man and father of the human race
Addeus and Maris, Liturgy of - Oriental liturgy, sometimes assigned to the Syrian group; sometimes to the Persian group
Addresses, Ecclesiastical - Rules as to what is fitting and customary in the matter of ecclesiastical correspondence
Adelaide, Saint - Or Adelheid. The widow of Otho, she died in 999
Adeodatus I, Pope Saint - Also known as Pope Adeodatus I, d. 618
Adeodatus - Son of St. Augustine (372-388)
Adeodatus (II), Pope Saint - Brief article on this Roman monk, opponent of Monothelitism, d. 676. Called Adeodatus II to distinguish him from his predecessor St. Deusdedit, who is also called Adeodatus
Adjuration - An urgent demand made upon another to do something, or to desist from doing something, which is rendered more solemn by coupling with it the name of God
Adonai - Hebrew meaning 'lord, ruler', a name bestowed upon God in the Old Testament
Adoption - Adoption, as defined in canon law, is foreign to the Bible
Adoption, Supernatural - The adoption of man by God in virtue of which we become His sons and heirs
Adoptionism - The theory that the man Jesus at some point in time became the Son of God only by adoption. Strictly speaking, refers to an eighth-century Spanish heresy, but the term is also used to cover similar beliefs
Adoration - In the strict sense, an act of religion offered to God in acknowledgment of His supreme perfection and dominion, and of the creature's dependence upon Him
Adoration, Perpetual - A term broadly used to designate the practically uninterrupted adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
Adoro Te Devote - A hymn sometimes styled Rhythmus, or Oratio, S. Thomae (sc. Aquinatis) written c. 1260
Adrian I, Pope - Reigned 772-95
Adrian II, Pope - Reigned 867-872
Adrian III, Pope Saint - Short article on this pope, a Roman, who died in 885
Adrian IV, Pope - Reigned 1154-1159
Adrian V, Pope - A Genoese, and nephew of Innocent IV. He was elected at Viterbo 12 July 1276, but died 18 August
Adrian VI, Pope - Reigned 1522-1523
Adrian of Canterbury, Saint - African-born Benedictine abbot, d. 710
Adulteration of Food - This act is defined as the addition of any non-condimental substance to a food
Adultery - The article considers adultery with reference only to morality
Advent - According to 1907 usage, a period beginning with the Sunday nearest to the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle and embracing four Sundays
Adventists - A group of six American Protestant sects which hold in common a belief in the near return of Christ in person
Advocatus Diaboli - A title given to an officer of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, established in 1587, by Sixtus V, to deal juridically with processes of beatification and canonization
Advowson - In English law the right of patronage of a church or ecclesiastical benefice, a right exercised by nomination of a clergyman to such church or other benefice
Adytum - A secret chamber or place of retirement in the ancient temples, and esteemed the most sacred spot; the innermost sanctuary or shrine
Aelfred the Great - King of the West Saxons (849-899)
Aelred, Saint - Cistercian abbot, homilist, spiritual writer, d. 1166 or 1167
Aeons - The term appropriated by Gnostic heresiarchs to designate the series of spiritual powers evolved by progressive emanation from the eternal Being
Æsthetics - May be defined as a systematic training to right thinking and right feeling in matters of art, and is made a part of philosophy by A.G. Baumgarten
Affinity (in the Bible) - Scripture recognizes affinity as an impediment to wedlock
Affinity (in Canon Law) - A relationship arising from the carnal intercourse of a man and a woman, sufficient for the generation of children, whereby the man becomes related to the woman's blood-relatives and the woman to the man's
Africa - This name, which is of Phoenician origin, was at first given by the Romans to the territory about the city of Carthage
African Liturgy - In use not only in the old Roman province of Africa of which Carthage was the capital, but also in Numidia and Mauretania
African Synods - Commonly called African or Carthaginian Synods
Agabus - Mentioned in Acts 11:28, and 21:10, as a prophet of the New Testament
Agape - Under certain circumstances the agape and the Eucharist appear to form parts of a single liturgical function
Agapetus I, Pope Saint - Anti-Arian, instrumental in deposing a Monophysite bishop who had moreover abandoned his see, d. 536
Agapetus II, Pope - Reigned 946-955
Agatha, Saint - Virgin and martyr, died at Catania in Sicily, probably in the Decian persecution (250-253)
Agatho, Pope Saint - Short article on St. Agatho the Wonderworker, a Sicilian believed to have been over 100 years old at the time of his election. He died in 681
Age, Canonical - Fixed by the canons, or law of the Church, at which her subjects become capable of incurring certain obligations, enjoying special privileges, embracing special states of life, holding office or dignity, or receiving the sacraments
Age of Reason - The name given to that period of human life at which persons are deemed to begin to be morally responsible
Agnes of Assisi, Saint - Brief biography of the younger sister of St. Clare, and prioress of the Poor Clares at Monticelli
Agnes of Bohemia, Blessed - Also called Agnes of Prague. Poor Clare, prioress
Agnes of Prague, Blessed - Also called Agnes of Prague. Poor Clare, prioress
Agnes of Rome, Saint and Martyr - Virgin, martyred at the age of 12 or 13, revered since at least the mid-fourth century
Agnosticism - A philosophical theory of the limitations of knowledge, professing doubt of or disbelief in some or all of the powers of knowing possessed by the human mind
Agnus Dei - The name given to certain discs of wax impressed with the figure of a lamb and blessed at stated seasons by the Pope
Agnus Dei (in Liturgy) - A name given to the formula recited thrice by the priest at Mass in the Roman rite
Agony of Christ - The word is used only once in Sacred Scripture (Luke 22:43) to designate the anguish of Our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemani
Agrapha - Term for alleged sayings of Jesus, found in ancient Christian writings, not included in the canonical Gospels
Agreda, Maria de - Franciscan mystic (1602-1665)
Agrippa of Nettesheim, Heinrich Cornelius - Described as a 'knight, doctor, and by common reputation, a magician'
Aidan of Lindisfarne, Saint - Irish monk, first bishop of Lindisfarne, d. 651
Aisle - In architecture, one of the lateral or longitudinal divisions of a church, separated from the nave by rows of piers, pillars, or columns
Alanus de Rupe - Dominican promoter of the Rosary (1428-1475)
Alb - A white linen vestment with close fitting sleeves, reaching nearly to the ground and secured round the waist by a girdle
Alban, Saint - First martyr of Britain, d. about 304. Biographical article
Albania - The ancient Epirus and Illyria, is the most western land occupied by the Turks in Europe
Alberta and Saskatchewan - The twin provinces of the Canadian West, so called because they were formed on the same day
Albertus Magnus, Saint - Called 'the Universal Doctor.' Dominican scientist, philosopher, theologian, instructor of St. Thomas Aquinas
Albigenses - A neo-Manichaean sect that flourished in southern France in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries
Alchemy - The art of transmuting baser metals into gold and silver
Alcoholism - The term is understood to include all the changes that may occur in the human organism after the ingestion of any form of alcohol
Alcuin - Lengthy article on the educator, scholar, theologian, liturgist, who died in 804
Alexander I, Pope Saint - Article on this pope, who died in 115 or 116. According to a tradition dating to the fifth century, Alexander was martyred, but it is possible that he has been confused with another St. Alexander who was indeed a martyr
Alexander II, Pope - Reigned 1061-1073
Alexander III, Pope - Reigned from 1159-81
Alexander IV, Pope - Reigned 1254-61
Alexander V - Pietro Philarghi, born c. 1339, on the island of Crete (Candia), whence his appellation, Peter of Candia; elected 26 June, 1409; died at Bologna, 3 May, 1410
Alexander VI, Pope - Rodrigo Borgia, born at Xativa, near Valencia, in Spain, 1 January, 1431; died in Rome, 18 August, 1503
Alexander VII, Pope - Biographical article on this seventeenth-century pontiff
Alexander VIII, Pope - Pietro Ottoboni, born at Venice, April, 1610; elected 5 October, 1689; died at Rome, 1 February, 1691
Alexander, Saint (Bishop of Comana) - Called 'The Charcoal Burner.' Made bishop of Comana at the recommendation of St. Gregory Thaumaturgus. St. Alexander was martyred in the Decian persecution
Alexander, Saint (Patriarch of Alexandria) - Patriarch of Alexandria. Elected instead of the heresiarch Arius, who had been scheming to be made bishop. A man of great holiness, St. Alexander died in 326
Alexander of Hales - Biographical article on the first of the scholastic theologians to use Aristotelean principles in systematic theology
Alexandria - Seaport of Egypt, on the left bank of the Nile
Alexandria, The Church of - Founded by St. Mark the Evangelist, the center from which Christianity spread throughout all Egypt, the nucleus of the powerful Patriarchate of Alexandria
Alexandrian Library, The - The Great Library of Alexandria, so called to distinguish it from the smaller or 'daughter' library in the Serapeum, was a foundation of the first Ptolemies for the purpose of aiding the maintenance of Greek civilization in the midst of the conservative Egyptians
Alexandrinus, Codex - Greek manuscript of the Old and New Testaments, so named because it was brought to Europe from Alexandria and had been the property of the patriarch of that see
Alexius, Saint - Tries to untangle the story of the Man of God. According to tradition, a fifth-century Roman who became a beggar in Edessa. He is honored as a confessor of the Faith
Alfred the Great - King of the West Saxons (849-899)
Algonquins - The Micmacs, Abenakis, Montagnais, Penobscots, Chippewas, Mascoutens, Nipissings, Sacs, Pottowatomies, and Illinois, the Pequods of Massachusetts, the Mohegans of New York, the Lenapes of Pennsylvania and Delaware, with many other minor tribes, may be classed among them
Alighieri, Dante - An annotated (in linked hypertext) biography of the poet
Alimentation - In a broad sense, whatever is necessary to sustain human life: not merely food and drink, but lodging, clothing, care during sickness and burial
Alimony - In the common legal sense of the word, the allowance by order of the court a husband pays to his wife for her maintenance while she is living separately from him, or paid by her former husband to a divorced woman
All Saints' Day - Celebrated on the first of November. Instituted to honour all the saints, known and unknown, and, according to Urban IV, to supply any deficiencies in the faithful's celebration of saints' feasts during the year
All Souls' Day - The commemoration of all the faithful departed is celebrated by the Church on 2 November, or, if this be a Sunday or a solemnity, on 3 November
Allah - The name of God in Arabic
Alleluia - A liturgical mystic expression
Allen, Frances - The first woman of New England birth to become a nun (1784-1819)
Allen, John - Archbishop of Dublin, canonist, and Chancellor of Ireland (1476-1534)
Allen, John - Priest and martyr. He was executed at Tyburn in the beginning of the year 1538
Alma - A Hebrew word signifying a 'young woman', unmarried as well as married
Alms and Almsgiving - Any material favour done to assist the needy, and prompted by charity
Aloysius Gonzaga, Saint - Short biography of this Jesuit student, who died in 1591 at the age of 23
Alpha and Omega (in Scripture) - Employed from the fourth century as a symbol expressing the confidence of orthodox Christians in the scriptural proofs of Our Lord's divinity
Alpha and Omega - Includes Jewish and Christian meanings
Alphabet, Christian Use of the - The Hebrew, Greek and Latin alphabets have been variously made use of in Christian liturgy
Alphonsus Liguori, Saint - Long biographical article on the founder of the Redemptorists and devotional writer
Alphonsus Rodriguez, Saint - Spanish-born widower, Jesuit lay brother, served as porter at Majorca for 46 years, d. 1617. Also known as Alonso
Alsace-Lorraine - The German Imperial Territory so known, and divided for State purposes into three civil districts
Altar Breads - Bread is one of the two elements absolutely necessary for the sacrifice of the Eucharist
Altar Candles - For mystical reasons the Church prescribes that the candles used at Mass and at other liturgical functions be made of beeswax
Altar Candlesticks - Consists of five parts: the foot, the stem, the knob about the middle of the stem, the bowl to receive the drippings of wax, and the pricket, i.e. the sharp point that terminates the stem on which the candle is fixed
Altar Cloths - The custom of using three altar-cloths began probably in the ninth century, but at present it is of strict obligation for the licit celebration of Mass
Altar Crucifix - The principal ornament of the altar
Altar Frontal - An appendage which covers the entire front of the altar, from the lower part of the table to the predella, and from the gospel corner to that of the epistle side
Altar, High - The chief altar in a church, raised on an elevated plane in the sanctuary, where it may be seen simultaneously by all the faithful in the body of the church
Altar Horns - On the Jewish altar there were four projections, one at each corner, which were called the horns of the altar. These projections are not found on the Christian altar, but the word cornu ('horn') is still maintained to designate the sides or corners of the altar
Altar Lamp - In the Old Testament God commanded that a lamp filled with the purest oil of olives should always burn in the Tabernacle of the Testimony without the veil
Altar Linens - The corporal, pall, purificator, and finger towels
Altar (in Liturgy) - In the New Law the altar is the table on which the Eucharistic Sacrifice is offered
Altar Rail - The railing which guards the sanctuary and separates the latter from the body of the church. Also called the communion-rail
Altar Vessels - The chalice is the cup in which the wine and water of the Eucharistic Sacrifice is contained
Altar Wine - Wine is one of the two elements absolutely necessary for the sacrifice of the Eucharist. For valid and licit consecration vinum de vite, i.e. the pure juice of the grape naturally and properly fermented, is to be used
Altars (in Scripture) - Describes several biblical uses of the word
Altar, History of the Christian - An elevated surface, tabular in form, on which the Sacrifice of the Mass is offered
Altruism - A term formed by Auguste Comte in 1851, to denote the benevolent, as contrasted with the selfish propensities
Alumnus - Signifies in ecclesiastical usage, a student preparing for the sacred ministry in a seminary
Alvarado, Pedro de - Accompanied Grijalva on his exploration of Yucatan and the Mexican coast in 1518, and was the chief officer of Cortez during the conquest of Mexico
Alypius, Saint - Close friend of St. Augustine of Hippo. Like Augustine, Alypius was baptized by Ambrose. St. Alypius became bishop of Tagaste
Amalec - A people remembered chiefly as the most hated of all the enemies of Israel
Ambition - The undue craving for honor
Ambo - A word of Greek origin, supposed to signify a mountain or elevation
Ambrosian Basilica - Erected at Milan by fourth-century bishop, St. Ambrose, and was consecrated in the year 386
Ambrose, Saint - Article on the life and teachings of this Bishop of Milan, and Doctor of the Church, who died in 397
Ambrosian Chant - Chant composed by St. Ambrose
Ambrosian Liturgy and Rite - The liturgy and Rite of the Church of Milan, which derives its name from St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan (374-397)
Ambulatory - A cloister, gallery, or alley; a sheltered place, straight or circular, for exercise in walking; the aisle that makes the circuit of the apse of a church
Amen - One of a small number of Hebrew words which have been imported unchanged into the liturgy of the Church
America - Consists of three main divisions: North America, Central America, and South America
America, Pre-Columbian Discovery of - Offers details of early exploration
Amerigo Vespucci - Biographical article on the Italian navigator (1451-1512)
Amice - A short linen cloth, square or oblong in shape and, like the other sacerdotal vestments, needing to be blessed before use
Ammonites - A race closely allied to the Hebrews
Amorrhites - A name of doubtful origin and meaning, used to designate an ancient people often mentioned in the Old Testament
Amos - Old Testament prophet
Ampè, André-Marie - Physicist and mathematician (1775-1836)
Amphilochius of Iconium - Fourth-century Cappadocian bishop
Amphoræ - Vessels generally made of clay, and furnished with ears or handles
Ampullæ - Their peculiarity consists in the sediment of dark red colour they contain, from which they derive the name, blood-ampullae, on the theory that the sediment is the remains of the blood of a martyr
Amsterdam - The capital, and second residential city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Amulet - An object generally inscribed with mysterious formulae and used by pagans as a protection against various maladies, as well as witchcraft
Anabaptists - A violent and extremely radical body of ecclesiastico-civil reformers which first made its appearance in 1521 at Zwickau
Anacletus, Pope Saint - Third pope, a martyr, d. about 91. May be the same person as Pope St. Cletus
Anacletus II - The title which was taken by Cardinal Pietro Pierleone at the contested papal election of the year 1130
Anæsthesia - A term in medicine, and the allied sciences, signifying a state of insensibility to external impressions, consequent upon disease, or induced artificially by the employment of certain substances known as anaesthetics, or by hypnotic suggestion
Analogy - A philosophical term used to designate, first, a property of things; secondly, a process of reasoning
Analysis - The process by which anything complex is resolved into simple, or at least less complex parts or elements
Anaphora - A liturgical term in the Greek Rite
Anarchy - An absence of law
Anastasia, Saint - Article on this martyr, whose feast day is 25 December. Attracted a cultus at Rome in the late fifth century, and a sixth-century legend makes her a Roman matron, though martyred elsewhere
Anastasius I, Pope Saint - Article on the pope remembered chiefly for condemning Origenism, d. 401
Anastasius II, Pope - Reigned 496-498
Anastasius III, Pope - Reigned 911-913
Anastasius IV, Pope - Reigned 1153-1154
Anastasius, Saint - A former magician and soldier, converted to Christianity, became a monk. He was martyred in 628
Anathema - Placed on high, suspended, set aside
Anatomy - The science of the form and structure of living beings
Anchor (as Symbol), The - Regarded in ancient times as a symbol of safety
Anchorites - In Christian terminology, men who have sought to triumph over the two unavoidable enemies of human salvation, the flesh and the devil, by depriving them of the assistance of their ally, the world
Ancient of Days - A name given to God by the Prophet Daniel
Andreas, Saint - Also known as Andreas, monk, bishop of Gortyna, best known for his hymnody, d. 740 or 720
Andrew, Saint (Apostle and Martyr) - The Apostle in Scripture and tradition
Andrew Bobola, Saint - Polish Jesuit priest and missionary, martyred in 1657
Andrew Corsini, Saint - Article on this Carmelite, called 'the Apostle of Florence,' regarded as a prophet and thaumaturgus, who became bishop of Fiesoli, and died in 1373
Andrew of Crete, Saint - Also known as Andreas, monk, bishop of Gortyna, best known for his hymnody, d. 740 or 720
Andrew the Scot, Saint - Brother of St. Bridget the Younger and archdeacon of Fiesole, d. about 877
Angel - The word is used in Hebrew to denote indifferently either a divine or human messenger
Angel, Guardian - The lowest orders of angels are sent to men
Angela Merici, Saint - Biography of the founder of the Ursulines, who died in 1540
Angela of Foligno, Blessed - Short biography of the penitent, mystic, writer, Third Order Franciscan, who died in 1309
Angelico, Fra - Biography of this Dominican, a famous painter, who died in 1455
Angels, Early Christian Representations of - The oldest fresco in which an angel appears is the Annunciation scene (second century) of the cemetery of St. Priscilla
Angels of the Churches - St. John in the Apocalypse is shown seven candlesticks and in their midst, the Son of Man holding seven stars. The candlesticks represent the seven Churches of Asia; the stars, the angels of those Churches
Angelus - A short practice of devotion in honour of the Incarnation repeated three times each day, morning, noon, and evening, at the sound of the bell
Angelus Bell - The triple Hail Mary recited in the evening, which is the origin of our modern Angelus, was closely associated with the ringing of a bell
Anger - The desire of vengeance
Anglican Orders - In the creed of the Catholic Church, Holy Order is one of the Seven Sacraments instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ
Anglicanism - A term used to denote the religious belief and position of members of the established Church of England
Anglo-Saxon Church, The - History of the occupation, conversion, and development
Anicetus, Pope Saint - Biography of this martyr, a contemporary of St. Polycarp and of the heretic Marcion
Anima Christi - Well known prayer dating from the first half of the fourteenth century and enriched with indulgences by Pope John XXII in the year 1330
Animals in Christian Art - Animal forms have always occupied a place of far greater importance than was ever accorded to them in the art of the pagan world
Animals in the Bible - The sacred books were composed by and for a people almost exclusively given to husbandry and pastoral life, hence in constant communication with nature
Animals, Cruelty to - Includes sections on pagan, Old and New Testament, scholastic, and Catholic perspectives
Animism - The doctrine or theory of the soul
Anna - Details of four women by this name in Sacred Scripture
Anna Comnena - Byzantine historian, eldest daughter of Alexius Comnenus, Emperor of Constantinople (1081-1118)
Anne, Saint - According to apocryphal literature, the mother of Mary
Anne d'Auray, Sainte - A little village three miles from the town of Auray, in the Diocese of Vannes, famous for its sanctuary and for its pilgrimages, or pardons, in honour of St. Anne
Anne de Beaupré, Sainte - Devotion to Saint Anne, in Canada
Anne Line, Saint - A convert to Catholicism, hanged in 1601 for the (unproven) crime of harboring a priest. She is one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales
Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, The Fact of the - In the sixth month after the conception of St. John the Baptist by Elizabeth, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to the Virgin Mary
Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, The Feast of the - In the Latin Church this feast is first mentioned in the Sacramentarium of Pope Gelasius
Anointing of the Sick - A sacrament to give spiritual aid and comfort and perfect spiritual health, including, if need be, the remission of sins, and also, conditionally, to restore bodily health, to Christians who are seriously ill
Anselm, Saint - Long biographical article on St. Anselm, monk, abbot, philosopher, theologian, Archbishop of Canterbury, Doctor of the Church
Antediluvians - People who lived before the flood
Anterus, Pope Saint - Also known as Anteros, pope for less than 2 months, d. in 236. Short biographical article
Anthony of the Desert, Saint - Article on the founder of Christian monasticism
Anthony of Padua, Saint - Long article on the Augustinian canon turned Franciscan, priest, preacher, miracle worker, d. 1231. Known as 'the Hammer of the Heretics.'
Anthropomorphism, Anthropomorphites - A term used in its widest sense to signify the tendency of man to conceive the activities of the external world as the counterpart of his own
Antichrist - Defines the word according to its biblical and ecclesiastical usage
Antinomianism - The heretical doctrine that Christians are exempt from the obligations of moral law
Antioch - Provides information on two places by this name
Antioch, The Church of - A city on the banks of the lower Orontes
Antiphon - One or more psalm verses or sentences from Holy Scripture which are sung or recited before and after each psalm and the Magnificat during Matins and Vespers
Antiphon, Communion - The term Communion is used, not only for the reception of the Holy Eucharist, but also as a shortened form for the antiphon that was originally sung while the people were receiving the Blessed Sacrament
Antiphonary - One of the present liturgical books intended for use in the liturgical choir, and originally characterized, by the assignment to it principally of the antiphons used in various parts of the Roman liturgy
Antipodes - Speculations concerning the rotundity of the earth and the possible existence of human beings 'with their feet turned towards ours' were of interest to the Fathers of the Early Church only in so far as they seemed to encroach upon the fundamental Christian dogma of the unity of the human race, and the consequent universality of original sin and redemption
Antipope - A false claimant of the Holy See in opposition to a pontiff canonically elected
Antiquities, Biblical - Details domestic, political, and sacred antiquities
Antoninus Pius - Roman Emperor (138-161)
Antonio Maria Zaccaria, Saint - A Doctor of Medicine, founder of the Barnabites, d. 1539
Antwerp - A city of Belgium, in the archdiocese of Mechlin
Apaches - A tribe of North American Indians belonging linguistically to the Athapascan stock whose original habitat is believed to have been Northwestern Canada
Apocalypse, Book of - The name given to the last book in the Bible, also called the Book of Revelation
Apocatastasis - A name given in the history of theology to the doctrine which teaches that a time will come when all free creatures will share in the grace of salvation; in a special way, the devils and lost souls
Apocrypha - A long article with a comments on each Apocryphal book. Classified according to origin
Apollinarianism - Fourth-century Christological heresy propounded by Apollinaris of Laodicea. The theory that Jesus had a human body and soul, but that the Logos took the place of the human spirit or mind in Jesus. Solemnly condemned at the Council of Constantinople in 381
Apollonia, Saint - A virgin, possibly ordained, martyr at Alexandria in late 248 or early 249
Apologetics - A theological science which has for its purpose the explanation and defence of the Christian religion
Apostasy - The word itself in its etymological sense, signifies the desertion of a post, the giving up of a state of life; he who voluntarily embraces a definite state of life cannot leave it, therefore, without becoming an apostate
Apostle Spoons - A set of thirteen spoons, usually silver, the handles of which are adorned with representations of Our Lord (the Master spoon) and the twelve Apostles
Apostles, The - Apostolos (Apostle) means one who is sent forth, who is entrusted with a mission
Apostles, Acts of the - The fifth book of the New Testament
Apostles' Creed - A formula containing in brief statements, or 'articles,' the fundamental tenets of Christian belief, and having for its authors, according to tradition, the Twelve Apostles
Apostles, Portraits of the - The earliest fresco representing Christ surrounded by the Apostles dates from the beginning of the fourth century. . .
Apostles of Erin, The Twelve - Twelve holy Irishmen of the sixth century who went to study at the School of Clonard in Meath
Apostleship of Prayer, The - A pious association otherwise known as a league of prayer in union with the Heart of Jesus
Apostolic Blessing - The popes very often delegated to others the power to give this blessing in answer to petitions from princes, at the close of missions, and on such occasions
Apostolic Camera - The former central board of finance in the papal administrative system, which at one time was of great importance in the government of the States of the Church, and in the administration of justice
Apostolic Churches - All the individual orthodox churches could, in a sense, be called Apostolic Churches, because they were in some more or less mediate connection with the Apostles
Apostolic Constitutions - A fourth-century pseudo-Apostolic collection, in eight books, of independent, though closely related, treatises on Christian discipline, worship, and doctrine, intended to serve as a manual of guidance for the clergy, and to some extent for the laity
Apostolic Fathers, The - Christian writers of the first and second centuries who are known, or are considered, to have had personal relations with some of the Apostles, or to have been so influenced by them that their writings may be held as echoes of genuine Apostolic teaching
Apostolic Letters - The letters of the Apostles to Christian communities or those in authority
Apostolic See, The - A metaphorical term, used, as happens in all languages, to express the abstract notion of authority by the concrete name of the place in which it is exercised
Apostolic Succession - Article claims that Apostolic succession is found in the Catholic Church and not in others
Apostolicity - The mark by which the Church of today is recognized as identical with the Church founded by Jesus Christ upon the Apostles
Apotheosis - Deification, the exaltation of men to the rank of gods
Apparitions - The article deals not with natural but with supernatural visions, that is, visions due to the direct intervention of a power superior to man
Appeals - The purpose of this article is to give a comprehensive view of the positive legislation of the Church on appeals belonging to the ecclesiastical forum; but it does not treat of the nature of the ecclesiastical forum itself nor of the rights of the Church and its supreme head, the pope, to receive appeals in ecclesiastical matters
Appetite - A tendency, an inclination, or direction
Approbation - An act by which a bishop or other superior grants to an ecclesiastic the actual exercise of his ministry
Appropriation - In theology, appropriation is used in speaking of the different Persons of the Trinity
Apse - The semicircular or polygonal termination to the choir or aisles of a church
Apse Chapel - A chapel radiating tangentially from one of the bays or divisions of the apse, and reached generally by a semicircular passageway, or ambulatory, exteriorly to the walls or piers of the apse
Aquila and Priscilla - Jewish tentmakers, who left Rome in the Jewish persecution under Claudius, 49 or 50, and settled in Corinth
Aquinas, St. Thomas - Lengthy article on the life, writings, and influence of this philosopher, theologian, and Doctor of the Church. Called the Angelic Doctor. Died in 1274
Arabia - The cradle of Islam and, in all probability, the primitive home of the Semitic race
Aragon and Castile - The united kingdom which came into existence by the marriage (1469) of Isabella, heiress of Castile, with Ferdinand the Catholic, King of Aragon
Arawaks - The first American aborigines met by Columbus
Arbitration - A method of arranging differences between two parties by referring them to the judgment of a disinterested outsider whose decision the parties to a dispute agree in advance to accept as in some way binding
Arca - A box in which the Eucharist was kept by the primitive Christians in their homes
Arch - A structure composed of separate pieces, such as stone or bricks, having the shape of truncated wedges, arranged on a curved line so as to retain their position by mutual pressure
Archæology, Christian - That branch of the science which is the study of ancient Christian monuments
Archbishop - An archbishop or metropolitan, in the present sense of the term, is a bishop who governs a diocese strictly his own, while he presides at the same time over the bishops of a well-defined district composed of simple dioceses but not of provinces
Archconfraternity - A confraternity empowered to aggregate or affiliate other confraternities of the same nature, and to impart to them its indulgences and privileges
Archdeacon - The incumbent of an ecclesiastical office dating back to antiquity and up to the fifteenth century of great importance in diocesan administration, particularly in the West
Archdiocese - Not an ecclesiastical province, but only that diocese of the province which is the archbishop's own
Archeology, Christian - That branch of the science which is the study of ancient Christian monuments
Archimandrite - In the Greek Rite the superior of a monastery or of several monasteries
Architecture, Ecclesiastical - All ecclesiastical architecture may be said to have been evolved from two distinct germ-cells, the oblong and the circular chamber
Architecture, Gothic - History of the style
Archives, Ecclesiastical - A collection of documents, records, and memorials, pertaining to the origin, foundation, growth, history, and constitutions of a diocese, parish, monastery, or religious community under the jurisdiction of the Church
Archpriest - Since the fourth century numerous dioceses had an archpriest, or head of the college of presbyters, who aided and represented the bishop in the discharge of his liturgical and religious duties
Archpriest Controversy - Arose in England on the appointment of George Blackwell as archpriest with jurisdiction over the secular clergy of England and Scotland, by the Holy See on 7 March, 1598
Arianism - Founded by Arius, belief asserting that Christ was not God like the Father, but a creature made in time. Rejected by the Council of Constantinople (381)
Aristides - A Christian apologist living at Athens in the second century
Aristotle - Philosopher, born at Stagira, a Grecian colony in the Thracian peninsula Chalcidice, 384 B.C.; died at Chalcis, in Euboea, 322 B.C
Arius - An heresiarch, born about A.D. 250; died 336
Ark, Noah's - The form, very likely foursquare, was not convenient for navigation, but, as has been proven by the experiments of Peter Jansen and M. Vogt, it made the Ark a very suitable device for shipping heavy cargoes and floating upon the waves without rolling or pitching
Ark of the Covenant - A kind of chest, measuring two cubits and a half in length, a cubit and a half in breadth, and a cubit and a half in height
Armada, The Spanish - A fleet intended to invade England and to put an end to the long series of English aggressions against the colonies and possessions of the Spanish Crown
Armagh - Archdiocese founded by St. Patrick about 445, as the primatial and metropolitan see of Ireland
Armenia - A mountainous region of Western Asia occupying a somewhat indefinite area to the southeast of the Black Sea
Arminianism - The popular designation of the doctrines held by a party formed in the early days of the seventeenth century among the Calvinists of the Netherlands
Arnulf of Metz, Saint - Frankish civil servant at the court of Austrasia, bishop of Metz, hermit, d. about 640
Art, Christian - Also called ecclesiastical art
Art, Ecclesiastical - Article explores the origin, history, and types
Articles of Faith - Certain revealed supernatural truths such as those contained in the symbol of the Apostles
Arts, The Seven Liberal - Chiefly used during the Middle Ages. Doesn't mean arts as the word is understood today, but those branches of knowledge which were taught in the schools of that time
Ascension - The elevation of Christ into heaven by His own power in presence of His disciples the fortieth day after His Resurrection
Ascension, Feast of the - The fortieth day after Easter Sunday, commemorating the Ascension of Christ into heaven, according to Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, and Acts 1:2
Ascetical Theology - Briefly defined as the scientific exposition of Christian asceticism
Asceticism - The word asceticism comes from the Greek askesis which means practice, bodily exercise, and more especially, atheletic training
Aseity - The property by which a being exists of and from itself
Ash Wednesday - The Wednesday after Quinquagesima Sunday, which is the first day of the Lenten fast
Ashes - A number of passages in the Old Testament connect ashes with mourning
Asia - Article intended to give a rapid survey of the geography, ethnography, political and religious history of Asia, and especially of the rise, progress, and actual condition of Asiatic Christianity and Catholicism
Asia Minor - The peninsular mass that the Asiatic continent projects westward of an imaginary line running from the Gulf of Alexandretta (Issus) on the Mediterranean to the vicinity of Trebizond (Trapezus) on the Black Sea
Asmodeus - Demon mentioned in the Book of Tobias
Asperges - The rite of sprinkling the congregation with holy water before the principal Mass on Sunday
Ass, The, in Caricature of Christians - The calumny of onolatry, or ass-worship, attributed by Tacitus and other writers to the Jews, was afterwards, by the hatred of the latter, transferred to the Christians
Assemblies of the French Clergy - Meetings of the Clergy of France for the purpose of apportioning the financial burdens laid upon the Church by the kings of France, and incidentally for other ecclesiastical purposes
Asses, Feast of - The feast dates from the eleventh century, though the source which suggested it is much older
Assideans - The maintainers of the Mosaic Law against the invasion of Greek customs
Assisi - Diocese in Umbria
Assumption of Mary - The principal feast of the Blessed Virgin
Assyria - Includes geographical and historical information
Assyrian Rite - This rite is used by the Nestorians and also by Eastern Catholic bodies — in Syria, Mesopotamia, Persia, and Malabar — who have separated from them
Astrology - The supposed science which determines the influence of the stars, especially of the five older planets, on the fate of man
Astronomy - Divided into two main branches, astrometry and astrophysics; the former concerned with determining the places of the investigation of the heavenly bodies, the latter, with the investigation of their chemical and physical nature
Astronomy in the Bible - Includes examples of Old and New Testament references
Atavism - Duchesne introduced the word to designate those cases in which species revert spontaneously to what are presumably long-lost characters
Athanasian Creed, The - One of the symbols of the Faith approved by the Church and given a place in her liturgy
Athanasius, Saint - Long article on the Bishop of Alexandria, confessor and Doctor of the Church
Atheism - That system of thought which is formally opposed to theism
Athenagoras - A Christian apologist of the second half of the second century of whom no more is known than that he was an Athenian philosopher and a convert to Christianity
Athens, Christian - History of the Church in Athens
Athos, Mount - The mountain that the architect Dinocrates offered to turn into a statue of Alexander the Great with a city in one hand and in the other a perennially flowing spring
Atom - Primarily, the smallest particle of matter which can exist
Atomism - The system of those who hold that all bodies are composed of minute, indivisible particles of matter called atoms
Atonement, Day of - A most solemn fast, on which no food could be taken throughout the day, and servile works were forbidden
Atonement, Doctrine of the - In Catholic theology, the Atonement is the Satisfaction of Christ, whereby God and the world are reconciled or made to be at one
Attila the Hun - Life and times of the legendary king
Attributes, Divine - In order to form a more systematic idea of God, and as far as possible, to unfold the implications of the truth, God is All-Perfect, this infinite Perfection is viewed, successively, under various aspects, each of which is treated as a separate perfection and characteristic inherent to the Divine Substance, or Essence. A certain group of these, of paramount import, is called the Divine Attributes
Attrition - Also called 'imperfect contrition.' Definition, its relation to sacramental penance, and moral considerations
Audiences, Pontifical - The receptions given by the pope to cardinals, sovereigns, princes, ambassadors, and other persons, ecclesiastical or lay, having business with or interest in the Holy See
Augustine, Rule of Saint - Names the five documents sometimes identified as the Rule of Augustine, quickly narrows the field to two contenders, settles on Letter 211. Also deals with Augustine's relation to monasticism
Augustine of Canterbury, Saint - Biographical article on the monk who was the first Archbishop of Canterbury, called 'Apostle of the English.'
Augustine of Hippo, Saint - Biography, with extensive hyperlinks to related articles
Augustine of Hippo, Teaching of Saint - Article on Augustine as a Doctor of the Church, and his influence in the history of philosophy and theology. Particular interest in his teaching on grace
Augustine of Hippo, Works of Saint - Annotated bibliography of Augustine's principal writings
Augustinian Canons - According to St. Thomas Aquinas, a canon regular is essentially a religious cleric
Augustinians - A religious order which in the thirteenth century combined several monastic societies into one, under this name
Augustus - The name by which Caius Julius Caesar Octavianus, the first Roman emperor, in whose reign Jesus Christ was born, is usually known; born at Rome, 62 B.C.; died A.D. 14
Aurelian - Roman Emperor, 270-275, born near Sirmium in Pannonia, 9 September, 214; died 275
Aurelius Antoninus, Marcus - Second-century Roman emperor and philosopher
Australia - Includes history, education, and religious statistics
Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, The - The European monarchy whose dominions have for their main life-distributing artery the River Danube, in its course from Engelhartszell, near Passau, to Orsova. South of the Danube lie the Austrian Alpine provinces and the provinces of Carinthia and Carnola; north of the Danube are the Carpathian and Sudetic provinces
Authentic - The term is used in two senses. It is applied first to a book or document whose contents are invested with a special authority, in virtue of which the work is called authentic. In its second sense it is used as a synonym for 'genuine', and therefore means that a work really emanates from the author to whom it is ascribed
Authenticity of the Bible - The authority of Holy Writ is twofold on account of its twofold authorship: human authors and divine inspiration
Authority, Civil - The moral power of command, supported by physical coercion, which the State exercises over its members
Authorized Version, The - Historical background on the AV, also called the King James Bible
Autocephali - A designation in early Christian times of certain bishops who were subject to no patriarch or metropolitan, but depended directly on the triennial provincial synod or on the Apostolic See
Auxiliary Bishop - A bishop deputed to a diocesan who, capable of governing and administering his diocese, is unable to perform the pontifical functions; or whose diocese is so extensive that it requires the labors of more than one; or whose episcopal see has attached to it a royal or imperial office requiring protracted presence at court
Avarice - The inordinate love for riches
Avatar - The word is used, in a technical sense, in the Hindu religion to denote the descent upon earth of a portion of the essence of a god, which then assumes some coarser material form, be it animal, monster, or man
Ave Maria - Analysis of the prayer Ave Maria: origins and development
Ave Maris Stella - The first verse of an unrhymed, accentual hymn, of seven stropes of four lines each, assigned in Roman Breviary to Vespers in the Common office, the Office of Saturdays, and the Little Office (as well as for Feasts) of the Blessed Virgin
Averroes - Arabian philosopher, astronomer, and writer on jurisprudence; born at Cordova, 1126; died at Morocco, 1198
Avesta, The - The sacred books of Parsees, or Zoroastrians, and the main source of our knowledge concerning the religious and spiritual life the ancient Persians
Avicenna - Arabian physician and philosopher, born at Kharmaithen, in the province of Bokhara, 980; died at Hamadan, in Northern Persia, 1037
Avignon - Written in the form of Avennio in the ancient texts and inscriptions, takes its name from the House, or Clan, Avennius
Avignon, Councils of - Details of several councils held here
Axum - A titular metropolitan see of ancient Christian Ethiopia
Ayllón, Lucas Vésquez de - This Spanish discoverer of Chesapeake Bay, and the first who tried to find a northwest passage from Europe to Asia, date of birth uncertain; died 18 October, 1526
Azores - An archipelago situated in that tract of the Atlantic Ocean which is known to mariners as the Sargasso Sea
Aztecs - A surname applied to the tribe of the Mexica, or Chichimeca Mexitin, which occupied aboriginal Mexico, in more or less contiguous groups, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, when the Spaniards first came into contact with them
Azymes - Unfermented cakes used by the Jews in their various sacrifices and religious rites
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