VENERATION (OF SAINTS): Showing devotion and respect to Mary, the Apostles, and the martyrs, who were viewed as faithful witnesses to faith in Jesus Christ. Later, veneration was given to those who led a life of prayer and self-denial in giving witness to Christ, whose virtues were recognized and publicly proclaimed in their canonization as saints (828). Such veneration is often extended to the relics or remains of those recognized as saints; indeed, to many sacred objects and images. Veneration must be clearly distinguished from adoration and worship, which are due to God alone (1154, 1674, 2132).
VENIAL SIN: Sin which does not destroy the divine life in the soul, as does mortal sin, though it diminishes and wounds it (1855). Venial sin is the failure to observe necessary moderation, in lesser matters of the moral law, or in grave matters acting without full knowledge or complete consent (1862).
VIATICUM: The Eucharist received by a dying person. It is the spiritual food for one’s “passing over” to the Father from this world. With Penance and the Anointing of the Sick, the reception of Holy Communion as Viaticum constitute the “last sacraments” of the Christian (1524).
VICAR OF CHRIST: A title given to St. Peter, head of the Twelve Apostles, and to his successors, the popes (882); “vicar” means one who stands in for or acts for another.
VICE: A habit acquired by repeated sin in violation of the proper norms of human morality. The vices are often linked with the seven capital sins. Repentance for sin and confession may restore grace to a soul, but the removal of the ingrained disposition to sin or vice requires much effort and self-denial, until the contrary virtue is acquired (1866).
VIRGIN BIRTH: The conception of Jesus in the womb of the Virgin Mary solely by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Church’s confession of faith in the virgin birth affirms that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit without human seed (496). See Virgin Mary.
VIRGIN MARY: The mother of Jesus, who is honored as “ever-virgin” for her perpetual virginity (499).
VIRTUE: An habitual and firm disposition to do the good. The moral virtues are acquired through human effort aided by God’s grace; the theological virtues are gifts of God (1803). See Cardinal Virtues.
VIRTUES, THEOLOGICAL: Gifts infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as his children and of meriting eternal life. The theological virtues are faith, hope, and charity (1813).
VISION, BEATIFIC: See Beatific Vision.
VOCATION: The calling or destiny we have in this life and hereafter. God has created the human person to love and serve him; the fulfillment of this vocation is eternal happiness (1, 358, 1700). Christ calls the faithful to the perfection of holiness (825). The vocation of the laity consists in seeking the Kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God’s will (898). Priestly and religious vocations are dedicated to the service of the Church as the universal sacrament of salvation (cf. 873; 931).
VOW: A deliberate and free promise made to God, concerning a possible and better good which must be fulfilled by reason of the virtue of religion (2102). Religious vows, the public profession of the evangelical counsels in the Church, have an exemplary value in witnessing to the Kingdom to come (cf. 915).