ABORTION: Deliberate termination of pregnancy by killing the unborn child. Such direct abortion, willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life
ABRAHAM: The man of faith and patriarch of Israel with whom God made a covenant which promised him land in which to live and many descendants, a great people for whom the Lord would be their God. Through Abraham God formed the people to whom he would later give the law by revelation to Moses. With the advent of Christ, the people of Israel would serve as the root to which the Gentiles would be grafted by their coming to believe.
Abraham’s prayer, 2569, 2570, 2592 calling of, 59, 72, 762 divine blessing and, 59, 1080 God’s covenant with, 72, 992, 2571 Jesus, stem of, 527 as model of hope, 165, 1819 as model of obedience in believing God, 144-46, 165, 2572, 2676 Muslims and the faith of, 841 a people sprung from its father Abraham, 63, 709, 762, 1541 promises made to, 422, 705, 706, 1222, 1716, 1725, 2571, 2619
ABSOLUTION: An essential element of the Sacrament of Penance in which the priest, by the power entrusted to the Church by Christ, pardons the sin(s) of the penitent (1424, 1442, 1449, 1453, 1480).
ACOLYTE: A liturgical minister appointed to assist at liturgical celebrations. Priests and deacons receive this ministry before they are ordained. Lay men may be installed permanently in the ministry of acolyte through a rite of institution and blessing (903, 1672).
ADAM: According to the creation story in Genesis, the first man. From this story the Church has learned that humanity was originally created in a state of holiness and justice and that the first ancestors of the human race lost this state for themselves and all humanity by their sin (“original sin”). Christ is called the “second” or “new Adam” because he ushered in the new creation by forgiving sin and restoring humanity to the grace of God’s friendship lost by original sin.
ADORATION: The acknowledgment of God as God, Creator and Savior, the Lord and Master of everything that exists. Through worship and prayer, the Church and individual persons give to God the adoration which is the first act of the virtue of religion. The first commandment of the law obliges us to adore God.
ADULTERY: Marital infidelity, or sexual relations between two partners, at least one of whom is married to another party. The sixth commandment and the New Testament forbid adultery absolutely.
definition of, 2380 and desire, 2336, 2528 and divorce, 1650, 2384 and God s commandment, 2052, 2055, 2196 gravity of, 1756, 1856, 1858, 2380, 2400 and the heart of man, 1853, 2517 and insults against the dignity of marriage, 2380-81
ADVENT: The liturgical season of four weeks devoted to preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas.
“Come, Lord Jesus,” 2853 coming of Christ and the Last Judgment, 1040 coming of God s kingdom brought on by signs and miracles, 542, 1505 coming of God s kingdom and the defeat of Satan s kingdom, 550 coming of the Holy Spirit and Pentecost, 729, 732 expectation of the coming of Christ, 840 preparation for Christ s coming, 522-24 “Thy kingdom come,” 2816-21, 2859 transfiguration as a foretaste of Christ s glorious coming, 556 uncertainty of the time of Christ s glorious coming, 673-74, 1040, 2772
ALMSGIVING: Money or goods given to the poor as an act of penance or fraternal charity. Almsgiving, together with prayer and fasting, are traditionally recommended to foster the state of interior penance.
ALTAR: The center and focal point of a church, where the sacrifice of Christ on the cross is made present under sacramental signs in the Mass. Among the Israelites the altar was the place where sacrifices were offered to God. The Christian altar represents two aspects of the mystery of the Eucharist, as the altar of sacrifice where Christ as the sacrificial victim offers himself for our sins and as the table of the Lord where Christ gives himself to us as food from heaven.
blessing of the, 1672 celebration of the Eucharist and the meanings of the, 1383 Eucharist, sacrament of the, 1372 the heart as, 786, 2655 of heaven, 1383, 1589 the Lord s altar built by Abraham, 2570 New Covenant and the, 1182 sacrifice of the cross and the, 1182, 1364, 1366-68, 1939
AMEN: A Hebrew word meaning “truly; it is so; let it be done,” signifying agreement with what has been said. The prayers of the New Testament and of the Church’s liturgy, and the Creeds, conclude with “amen.” Jesus used the word to introduce solemn assertions, to emphasize their trustworthiness and authority.
ANALOGY/ANALOGY OF FAITH: The coherence of the truths of the faith among themselves and within the whole plan of Revelation.
ANAMNESIS: The “remembrance” of God’s saving deeds in history in the liturgical action of the Church, which inspires thanksgiving and praise (1103). Every Eucharistic Prayer contains an anamnesis or memorial in which the Church calls to mind the Passion, Resurrection, and glorious return of Christ Jesus (1103, 1106, 1354, 1362).
ANAPHORA: The Eucharistic Prayer–the prayer of thanksgiving and consecration–which is the heart and summit of the celebration of the Mass (1352).
ANGEL: A spiritual, personal, and immortal creature, with intelligence and free will, who glorifies God without ceasing and who serves God as a messenger of his saving plan. See Guardian Angels.
in the anaphora, 1352 birth of Christ and, 525, 559 Christ and, 331, 538, 954, 1038, 1161 in the Church s life, 334-35 cosmic order and the guardianship of, 57 existence of angels as a truth of faith, 328 fallen, 391-93, 414, 760 Gabriel announcing, 148, 2676 gone astray, 311 guardian, 336 heaven and, 326, 1023-29, 1053 identity and duties of, 329, 332-36, 350-52, 1034, 1352 images in art, 1192, 2131, 2502 protectors of men, 336
ANGER: An emotion which is not in itself wrong, but which, when it is not controlled by reason or hardens into resentment and hate, becomes one of the seven capital sins. Christ taught that anger is an offense against the fifth commandment.
ANNUNCIATION: The visit of the angel Gabriel to the virgin Mary to inform her that she was to be the mother of the Savior. After giving her consent to God’s word, Mary became the mother of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.
angel salutes Mary as “full of grace” at the, 490 feast day of the, 1171 the fullness of time inaugurated by the, 484 Jesus, the name given by God at the, 430 Mary s consent at the, 973 Mary s prayer and the, 2617 motherhood of Mary and the, 969, 2674 See also Angels; Mary
ANOINTING: A symbol of the Holy Spirit, whose “anointing” of Jesus as Messiah fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament. Christ (in Hebrew Messiah) means the one “anointed” by the Holy Spirit. Anointing is the sacramental sign of Confirmation, called Chrismation in the Churches of the East. Anointings form part of the liturgical rites of the catechumenate, and of the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Orders. See Christ.
in Baptism, 1241, 1291 Christ anointed in the Holy Spirit, 438, 690 in Confirmation, 1242, 1289, 1291, 1295, 1300 effects of the Holy Spirit s anointing for the Christian faithful, 91, 698, 786, 2769 in Holy Orders, 1574 significance of, 1293-94 symbol of anointing with oil, 695
ANOINTING OF THE SICK: One of the seven sacraments, also known as the “sacrament of the dying,” administered by a priest to a baptized person who begins to be in danger of death because of illness or old age, through prayer and the anointing of the body with the oil of the sick. The proper effects of the sacrament include a special grace of healing and comfort to the Christian who is suffering the infirmities of serious illness or old age, and the forgiving of the person’s sins (1499-1525).
celebration of the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick in the Roman rite, 1513, 1517-19, 1531 effects of, 1520-23, 1532 minister of, 1530 preparation of the faithful for receiving the sacrament of, 1516 purpose of, 1511, 1527 over the centuries, 1512 for whom the sacrament is intended, 1514-15, 1528-29 See also Sacraments
ANTICHRIST: The “deceitful one” referred to in the New Testament, associated with the “mystery of iniquity” which will precede the second coming of Christ, through which people will be led away from the truth to follow a false “messianism,” by which man glorifies himself and human achievement in place of God and his Messiah come in the flesh, in whom the kingdom will be fulfilled (675-677).
APOSTASY: The total repudiation of the Christian faith.
APOSTLE: A term meaning one who is sent as Jesus was sent by the Father, and as he sent his chosen disciples to preach the Gospel to the whole world. He called the Twelve to become his Apostles, chosen witnesses of his Resurrection and the foundation on which the Church is built.
acceptance of the teachings of, 87, 949, 2624 apostolic college, 880 (see also Apostolic college) appearances of the Risen One and, 641-42, 644-45, 647 Baptism and, 1226 catechesis of, 1094 choosing and calling of, 2, 75, 96, 858-60, 873, 935, 1086, 1120, 1122, 1575, 2600 the Church and, 688, 756, 857, 865, 869, 1342, 2032 Holy Spirit and, 244, 746, 798, 1287, 1288, 1299, 1302, 1315, 1485, 1556 imposition of hands and, 699, 1288, 1299, 1315 institution of the Eucharist and, 610-11, 1337, 1339-41 ministry of Reconciliation and, 981, 1442, 1461 power of the apostles to forgive sins, 981, 983, 984, 1442, 1444, 1485, 1586 preaching of, 76 sacrament of Holy Orders and, 1087, 1536, 1565, 1576, 1577, 1594 significance of the Apostles mission, 858 successors of, 77, 861-63, 892, 938, 1313, 1560, 1562, 2068 transmission of the faith and, 171, 173, 605, 815, 816, 889, 1124 transmission of the Word of God and, 3, 81, 84, 96, 126, 571 witness of the, 664, 1518
APOSTOLIC OFFICE: The apostolic office is permanent in the Church, in order to ensure that the divine mission entrusted to the Apostles by Jesus will continue to the end of time. The bishops receive their office as successors of the Apostles through the Sacrament of Holy Orders (860). See Apostolic Succession.
APOSTLES’ CREED: A statement of Christian faith developed from the baptismal creed or “symbol” of the ancient Church of Rome, the see of St. Peter, first of the Apostles. The Apostles’ Creed is considered to be a faithful summary of the faith of the Apostles (194).
APOSTOLATE: The activity of the Christian which fulfills the apostolic nature of the whole Church by working to extend the reign of Christ to the entire world.
APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION: The handing on of apostolic preaching and authority from the Apostles to their successors the bishops through the laying on of hands, as a permanent office in the Church.
APPARITION: An appearance to people on earth of a heavenly being–Christ, Mary, an angel, or a saint. The apparitions of Jesus in his risen body to his disciples occurred between Easter and his Ascension into heaven (641, 659).
ASCENSION: The entry of Jesus’ humanity into divine glory in God’s heavenly domain, forty days after his Resurrection (659, 665).
celebration of, 2177
ASCESIS: The practice of penance, mortification, and self-denial to promote greater self-mastery and to foster the way of perfection by embracing the way of the cross.
ASSUMPTION: The dogma which recognizes the Blessed Virgin Mary’s singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection by which she was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, when the course of her earthly life was finished (966).
ATHEISM: The denial in theory and/or practice that God exists. Atheism is a sin against the virtue of religion required by the first commandment of the law.