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Catechism Research – Section S

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Section S

SABBATH: The Sabbath or seventh “day,” on which God rested after the work of the “six days” of creation was completed, as recounted in the opening narrative of the Bible. Creation is thus ordered to the Sabbath, the day to be kept holy to the praise and worship of God. Just as the seventh day or Sabbath completes the first creation, so the “eighth day,” Sunday, the day of the week on which Jesus rose from the dead, is celebrated as the “holy day” by Christians–the day on which the “new creation” began (345-349). Thus the Christian observance of Sunday fulfills the commandment to remember and keep holy the Sabbath day (2175).

SACRAMENT: An efficacious sign of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us through the work of the Holy Spirit (774, 1131). The sacraments (called “mysteries” in the Eastern Churches) are seven in number: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance or Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony (1210).

SACRAMENTALS: Sacred signs which bear a certain resemblance to the sacraments, and by means of which spiritual effects are signified and obtained through the prayers of the Church (1667).

SACRED HEART: The symbol of the love with which Jesus continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings without exception (478).

SACRIFICE: A ritual offering made to God by a priest on behalf of the people, as a sign of adoration, gratitude, supplication, and communion (2099). The perfect sacrifice was Christ’s death on the cross; by this sacrifice, Christ accomplished our redemption as high priest of the new and eternal covenant (616). The sacrifice of Christ on the cross is commemorated and mysteriously made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Church (1357, 1544).

SACRILEGE: Profanation of or irreverence toward persons, places, and things which are sacred, i.e., dedicated to God; sacrilege against the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, is a particularly grave offense against the first commandment (2120).

SAINT: The “holy one” who leads a life in union with God through the grace of Christ and receives the reward of eternal life. The Church is called the communion of saints, of the holy ones (823, 946; cf. 828). See Canonization.

SALVATION: The forgiveness of sins and restoration of friendship with God, which can be done by God alone (169).

SANCTIFYING GRACE: The grace which heals our human nature wounded by sin by giving us a share in the divine life of the Trinity. It is a habitual, supernatural gift which continues the work of sanctifying us–of making us “perfect,” holy, and Christlike (1999).

SANCTUARY: (1) The part of a church set apart for the principal rites of worship (cf. 1183). (2) A shrine or place of pilgrimage (1674).

SATAN: A fallen angel or the devil; the Evil One (391, 395, 2851).

SATISFACTION (FOR SIN): An act whereby the sinner makes amends for sin, especially in reparation to God for offenses against him. The penance given by the confessor in the Sacrament of Penance constitutes such satisfaction. All true satisfaction for sin must be a participation in the satisfaction for sin made by Christ through his death on the cross (1459). See Penance; Penitent/Penitential; Reparation.

SAVIOR: Jesus (which means “God saves” in Hebrew). The Son of God became man to achieve our salvation; he is the unique savior of humanity (430).

SCANDAL: An attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil (2284).

SCHISM: Refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff, or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him (2089).

SCRIPTURE, SACRED: The sacred writings of the Old and New Testaments (101). See Bible.

SEAL OF CONFESSION: The confessor’s obligation to keep absolutely secret what a penitent has told to him in the Sacrament of Penance; also known as the “sacramental seal” (1467).


SECULAR INSTITUTE: See Institute, Secular.

SENSUS FIDEI: A supernatural appreciation of the faith (sensus fidei) shown by the universal consent in matters of faith and morals manifested by the whole body of the faithful under the guidance of the Magisterium (92).

SEPTUAGINT: A pre-Christian Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures made by Jewish scholars, and later adopted by Greek-speaking Christians (213).

SIGN OF THE CROSS: A sign in the form of a cross made by the Christian as a prayer honoring the Blessed Trinity, “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (2157; cf. 786).

SIMONY: The buying or selling of spiritual things, which have God alone as their owner and master (2121).

SIN: An offense against God as well as a fault against reason, truth, and right conscience. Sin is a deliberate thought, word, deed, or omission contrary to the eternal law of God. In judging the gravity of sin, it is customary to distinguish between mortal and venial sins (1849, 1853, 1854).

SLANDER: See Calumny.

SLOTH: A culpable lack of physical or spiritual effort; acedia or laziness. One of the capital sins (1866, 2094, 2733).

SOCIAL JUSTICE: The respect for the human person and the rights which flow from human dignity and guarantee it. Society must provide the conditions that allow people to obtain what is their due, according to their nature and vocation (1928, 1931).

SOCIAL SIN: The effect of sin over time, which can affect society and its institutions to create “structures of sin,” by analogy called “social sin” (1869).

SOCIAL TEACHING: The teaching (social doctrine) of the Church on the truth of revelation about human dignity, human solidarity, and the principles of justice and peace; the moral judgments about economic and social matters required by such truth and about the demands of justice and peace (2419-2422).

SON OF GOD: A title frequently applied to Jesus in the Gospel, signifying his unique relationship to the Father. The second Person of the Blessed Trinity is called Son of God in reference to the Eternal Father. The revelation of his divine sonship is the principal dramatic development of the story of Jesus of Nazareth (441-445).

SON OF MAN: The title used by our Lord of himself in the Gospel. This title connotes a relationship with the eschatological figure of the “Son of man appearing in clouds and glory” in the prophecy of Daniel (Mk 13:26; Dn 7:13) (440; cf. 661).

SOUL: The spiritual principle of human beings. The soul is the subject of human consciousness and freedom; soul and body together form one unique human nature. Each human soul is individual and immortal, immediately created by God. The soul does not die with the body, from which it is separated by death, and with which it will be reunited in the final resurrection (363, 366; cf. 1703).

SPIRIT: See Holy Spirit.

STEALING/THEFT: Unjustly taking and keeping the property of another, against the reasonable will of the owner (2408). Stealing is a violation of the seventh commandment of God, “You shall not steal.”

SUICIDE: The willful taking of one’s own life; a grievous sin against the fifth commandment. A human person is neither the author nor the supreme arbiter of his life, of which God is sovereign master (2280).

SUNDAY: The “Lord’s Day,” the principal day of the week for the Eucharistic celebration of the Church. Each Sunday Mass commemorates the resurrection of Christ on the first Easter Sunday, and is a reminder of the first day of creation for those who have become a “new creation in Christ” (1166, 2174, 2180).

SUPERNATURAL: Surpassing the power of created beings; a result of God’s gracious initiative. Our vocation to eternal life is supernatural (1998; cf. 1722).

SUPERSTITION: The attribution of a kind of magical power to certain practices or objects, like charms or omens. Reliance on such power, rather than on trust in God, constitutes an offense against the honor due to God alone, as required by the first commandment (2110).

SYNOD: A meeting of bishops of an ecclesiastical province or patriarchate (or even from the whole world, e.g., Synod of Bishops) to discuss the doctrinal and pastoral needs of the church. A diocesan synod is an assembly of priests and other members of Christ’s faithful who assist the bishop by offering advice about the needs of the diocese and by proposing legislation for him to enact (887, 911). The words “synod” and “council” are sometimes used interchangeably.

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