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Catholic Pocket Dictionary/C


CANON LAW             

CANON OF THE MASS             


CANTATE SUNDAY             






























CLERICAL STATE             



COAT, THE HOLY             














CONFESSOR (in Sacrament of Penance)             
















CORPUS OHRISTI             










An arrangement, founded on the Julian-Gregorian determinations of the civil year, marking the days set apart for particular religious celebration.


From the earliest times the determinations of the Church received the name of Canons - that is, rules directory in matters of faith and conduct. Canon Law is the assemblage of rules or laws relating to faith, morals, and discipline, prescribed or propounded to Christians by ecclesiastical authority.


That part of the Mass which begins after the "Sanctus" with the prayer “Te igitur," and ends, according to some, just before the "Pater noster," according to others, with the consumption of the Sacred Species. The name Canon is given to this part of the Mass because it contains the fixed rule according to which the Sacrifice of the New Testament is to be offered.


To pay honor to the dead whom the general voice of the Church declares to have lived saintly lives.


A name given to the fourth Sunday after Easter, from the introit of the Mass, which begins with the words "Sing to the Lord a new song."


A reform of the Franciscan order instituted by Matteo di Bassi of Urbino, who, being an Observantine Franciscan at Monte Falco, and having convinced himself that the capuche or cowl worn by St. Francis was different in shape from that worn by the friars of his own time, adopted a long pointed cowl, according to what he conceived to be the original form. In 1526 he obtained the consent of Pope Clement VII. to the wearing of this habit by himself and his companions, with the further permission to live the life of hermits, and preach the gospel in every country, on condition that once in each year they should present themselves at the general chapter, wherever it might be held, of the Observantine friars. After this the order grew with great rapidity, and it has produced down to the present time numbers of men eminent for every Christian virtue, great preachers, and accomplished scholars.


A member of the Supreme Council or Senate of the Church. The Cardinals are the advisers of the Supreme Pontiff, and at his death they elect his successor from among the members of the Sacred College.

There are three orders of Cardinals, Cardinal-Bishops, Cardinal-Priests and Cardinal-Deacons. The Sacred College of Cardinals consists of seventy members, six Cardinal-Bishops, fifty Cardinal-Priests and fourteen Cardinal-Deacons.

The first Cardinal-Bishop is Dean; the first Cardinal-Priest is First Priest; and the first Cardinal-Deacon is First Deacon of the Sacred College. The first Cardinal-Deacon announces the election of a new Pope, and the first Cardinal-Dean consecrates him.


In the 'middle of the twelfth century a crusader named Berthold vowed at the commencement of a battle that if by the mercy of God his side was victorious, he would embrace the religious life. The victory was won, and Berthold became a monk in Calabria. Soon after he left Italy, and repairing to Mount Carmel (1156) - that mountain, so conspicuous and so beautiful, which juts out into the sea to the south of Acre - took up his abode there. Everyone knows the connection of Carmel, with some of the leading incidents of the prophet's life (3 Kings xviii; 4 Kings iv). A cavern near the summit was then shown as the habitation of Elias, and the ruins of a spacious monastery, the history of which is unknown, covered the ground. Berthold found hermits living on the mountain when he arrived there, attracted by the peculiar sanctity which the residence of the great prophet had conferred on the spot; these appear to have joined him, and to have accepted along with him and his immediate followers the rule which was framed for them in 1209 by Albert, patriarch of Jerusalem. These hermits may have had a long line of predecessors, nor is there any historical or moral impossibility in the assumption that holy men had lived on the mountain without interruption since the days of Elias, although positive evidence is wanting. This belief in the possible succession of a long line of saintly anchorites was gradually merged in the fixed persuasion that the very order of Our Lady of Mount Camel, such as it was in the thirteenth and following centuries, had existed there in unbroken continuity, keeping the three vows, and with hereditary succession, from the time of Elias.

The rule given to the order by the patriarch Albert was in sixteen articles. It forbade the possession of property; ordered that each hermit should live in a cell by himself; nterdicted meat altogether; recommended manual labor and silence; and imposed a strict fast from the Exaltation of the Cross (Sept. 14) to Easter, Sundays being excepted.

The progress of the Mohammedan power in Palestine, after the illusory treaty entered into by the Emperor Frederic II. in 1229 with the Sultan Kameel, made it more and more difficult for Christians to live there in peace; and under their fifth general, Alan of Brittany, they abandoned Camel and established themselves in Cyprus (1238) and other places. After passing into Europe they found it necessary to live in common, and no longer as hermits. This, with other mitigations of the primitive rule, was sanctioned by Innocent IV., who confirmed them in 1247 under the title of Friars of Our Lady of Mount Camel. Their habit was originally striped, but ultimately the dress by which they are so well known, the brown habit with white cloak and scapular, was adopted. Many distinguished men and eminent ecclesiastics have worn their habit.

The glories of the order are due to the heroic virtue of a woman, St. Teresa. Carmelite nuns had first been instituted by John Soreth, general of the order in the fifteenth century. St. Teresa lived for many years in the convent of Avila, which was under the mitigated observance. Amidst great obstacles, she carried out her object of introducing a reform among the nuns by returning to the ancient rigor of the rule. She thus became the founder of the Discalced Carmelite nuns. Nor did her zeal stop here, but extended itself to a reformation of the friars, in which also, aided by the counsel of St. Peter of Alcantara, and the labors and sufferings of St. John of the Cross, who joined the new order, she was completely successful. At the time of her death, in 1852, she had assisted in the foundation of seventeen reformed convents for women and fifteen for men. The Discalced Carmelites, whose institute rapidly spread to all the Catholic countries of Europe, and to the Spanish colonies, is at present continuing the great work of St. Teresa. Several other reforms have been introduced since that of St. Teresa in various countries, which we have not space here to notice. At present Carmelite monasteries exist, In France, though they were swept away at the first revolution, they had been reintroduced, and till lately possessed some sixty houses. But the iniquitous decree of March 29, 1880, issued by the Republican Government of France, has resulted in the violent seizure of all the houses of men, and in turning the friars adrift. In Spain, we believe, they are at present numerous.


(from caro, vale, the time when we are about to say farewell to flesh-meat; or ubi caro valet-in allusion to the indulgence of the flesh in the days which precede the fast), the three days before Lent, though the name sometimes includes the whole period between February 3, the fast of St. Blasius, and Ash-Wednesday. The Carnival in Catholic countries, and in Rome itself, is a special season for feasting, dancing, masquerading and mirth of all sorts. In itself this custom is innocent, although the Church from Septuagesima onwards assumes the garb of penance, and prepares her children, by the saddened tone of her office, for the Lenten season. But the pleasures of the Carnival easily degenerate into riot, and the Church therefore specially encourages pious exercises at this time.

In 1556 the Jesuits at Macerati introduced the custom of exposing the Blessed Sacrament during the Carnival. This devotion spread through the Church, and Clement XIII., in 1765, granted a plenary indulgence on certain conditions to those who take part in it.


The founder of this order was St. Bruno, in the eleventh century. Bruno was a native of Cologne, and gave proof of more than common piety, recollection, and mortification even from his tender years. When he was grown up, he was at first entered among the clergy of St. Cunibert's at Cologne, whence .he passed to Rheims, a city then celebrated for its diocesan school. Bruno made here great progress in learning, and was appointed "scholasticus"; many of the leading men of the age were his pupils. Leaving Rheims, uncertain in what way God willed him to carry out his clearly-seen vocation, he repaired to St. Robert of Molesme, the founder of the Cistercian order, by whom he was referred to St. Hugh, Bishop of Grenoble. With six companions, Bruno presented himself to the bishop, and opened to him their desire to found an institute in which the glory of God and the good of man should be sought on a foundation of rigorous austerity and self-discipline. The good bishop was overjoyed at seeing them; in their request he saw the beginning of the fulfillment of a wonderful dream which he had had the night before. Soon afterwards he led them to the desert of the Chartreuse, an upland valley in the Alps to the north of Grenoble, more than 4,000 feet above the sea, and only to be reached by, traveling a gloomy and difficult ravine.

Bruno accepted this site with joy, and he and his companions immediately built an oratory there, and small separate cells, in imitation of the ancient Lauras of Palestine. This was in 1086, and the origin of the Carthusian order, which takes its name from Chartreuse, is dated from this foundation. The name of Chartreuse was given to each of their monasteries; this was corrupted in England into Charterhouse.

St. Bruno, when he had been only two or three years at the Chartreuse, was summoned to Rome by an imperative mandate from Urban II., for the approval of his order.

In 1905 the Grande Chartreuse was seized by the French Government and the monks were expelled.


A close-fitting garment reaching to the heels, which is the distinctive dress of clerics. The cassock of a secular priest is black; that of bishops and other prelates, purple; that of cardinals, red; that of the Pope, white.


Anything used as a bier placed during Masses of the dead, when the corpse itself is not there, in the centre of the church, surrounded with burning lights and covered with black cloth.


A summary of Christian doctrine, usually in the form of question and answer, for the instruction of the Christian people.


The cathedral church in every diocese is that church in which the bishop has his chair or See.


A visitation fee due from every parish church in a diocese to the bishop on the occasion of his annual visit to it. Since the Council of Trent it has been customary to pay it at the annual Synod if one is held or by annual remittance.


The priest who actually offers Mass, as distinct from others who assist him in doing so.


A law of the Church that forbids persons living in the married state to be ordained, and persons in holy orders to marry.


Censure may be defined as a spiritual penalty, imposed for the correction and amendment of offenders, by which a baptised person, who has committed a crime and is contumacious, is deprived by ecclesiastical authority of the use of certain spiritual advantages.


The cup used in Mass, for the wine which is to be consecrated.


The veil with which the chalice is covered.


The part of a church between the altar and the nave, so named from the rails which separated it from the nave.


The priest appointed to the charge of a chapel.


Spiritual mark indelibly impressed on the soul, by the sacrament of baptism, confirmation, and holy order.


The chief garment of a priest celebrating Mass. It is worn outside the other vestments.


Olive oil mixed with balm, blessed by the bishop and used by the Church in confirmation as well as in baptism, ordination, consecration of altar-stones, chalices, churches, and in the blessing of baptismal water.


"Anointed." Jesus Christ, according to the Catechism familiar to English Catholics, is "God the Son made man for us." He has therefore two natures: that of God, and that of man. As God, according to the Nicene Creed, He was born of his Father, before all worlds: He is God from God - i.e. He, being true and perfect God, proceeds from God the Father, who is also true and perfect God - He is light from light; begotten, not made, as creatures. He exists from all eternity. He is almighty, omniscient, incapable of error or of sin. At the moment of his Incarnation, He further became true man, without, however, in any way ceasing to be God.


A name first given at Antioch to the followers of Christ about the year 43, as we learn from Acts. xi. 26.


The proper title is "Brothers of the Christian Schools." This institution was founded by the Abbé Jean Baptiste de la Salle, who, after being beatified on Feb. 19, 1888, was canonized on May 24, 1900, by Leo XIII. The rule of St. J. B. de la Salle required that the Brothers who bound themselves by vow to devote their lives to teaching in the schools, and wore the religious habit, should be and remain laymen, equally with the professors and assistant teachers who were employed under them. And this has continued to be the practice of the congregation ever since. For the training of the Brothers the founder instituted a noviciate; for that of the professors, &c., a normal school. Founded at Rheims in 1685, this appears to have been the first training school for primary teachers in Europe. It was, and still is, a part of the rule, that the Brothers should work in pairs. They take the three religious vows, after having attained to at least twenty-three years. Their habit gives them an ecclesiastical appearance; it consists of a long black cassock, with a cloak over it fastened by iron clasps and a falling collar.

The founder lived to see the fruit of his labors in the establishment of his schools in many of the principal towns of France. He died in 1719, leaving his congregation so firmly planted that all the convulsions by which French society has since been torn have not been able to extirpate it. It has moreover spread to many countries beyond the limits of France, and has been imitated by other teaching associations.

It should be mentioned that a Bull of approbation in favor of the Christian Brothers was granted by Benedict XIII. in 1725, elevating them into a religious congregation.

In 1699, St. J. B. de la Salle established Sunday Schools, one at St. Sulpice, which was to be open from noon to three o'clock, and give secular instruction. Similar schools, open on festivals, were established by St. Charles Borromeo at Milan, about 1580.


The registers of baptisms, confirmations, marriages and deaths.


A blessing which the priest gives to women after childbirth according to a form prescribed in the Roman Ritual. He sprinkles the woman, who kneels at the door of the church holding a lighted candle, with holy water, and having recited the 23rd Psalm, he puts the end of his stole into her hand, and leads her into the church, saying, "Come into the temple of God. Adore the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who has given thee fruitfulness in childbearing. The woman then advances to the, altar and kneels before it, while the priest, having said a prayer of thanksgiving, blesses her, and again sprinkles her with holy water in the form of a cross. The rubric in the Ritual reserves this rite for women who have borne children in wedlock. WOMEN ARE UNDER NO STRICT OBLIGATION OF PRESENTING THEMSELVES TO BE CHURCHED, THOUGH IT IS THE "PIOUS AND LAUDABLE CUSTOM," as the Ritual says, that they ought to do so. Properly speaking, the churching of women is not counted among strictly parochial rights; still it ought to be performed by the parish priest, as appears from, a decision of the S. Congregation of Rites, December 10, 1703.


The Roman Catechism, in expounding the ninth article of the Creed, urges priests to explain the nature and authority of the Catholic Church to their flocks with special frequency and earnestness, because of the supreme importance which belongs to this point of Christian doctrine. All heresy involves a rejection of the Church's authority; and, on the other hand, it is impossible to accept the true doctrine concerning the Church, and at the same time to be a heretic. Hence, in all ages, and against all forms of error, the Fathers and Doctors of the Catholic Church have appealed to her teaching as the infallible rule of faith. If such an appeal was necessary at every time, there is a more than ordinary need at the present day for insisting upon this article of the Creed, "I believe in the holy Catholic Church."


A church is a building intended for the general use of the faithful, and is for this reason distinct from a chapel, which is intended for the convenience of some family, college, &c., or for an oratory, which is essentially domestic or private.

The principal churches in Rome are called basilicas, and these again are sub-divided into greater and patriarchal, and into minor basilicas. The chief church of a diocese is called a cathedral, and a cathedral may be patriarchal, primatial, or metropolitan, according to the dignity of the prelate who holds it. An abbatial church is the seat of ah abbot; if served by a chapter, a church is called collegiate. The title parish-church explains itself. The greater basilicas are called "most holy," while "most illustrious" and 'illustrious" are names of honor given respectively to lesser basilicas and collegiate churches, by favor of the Holy See.

The place on which a church is to be built is to be designated by the bishop, as is expressly ordered both by the Pontifical and canon law.

Churches may, in one sense, be said to be as old as Christianity itself, for places of Christian meeting are frequently mentioned in the New Testament - e. g., in 1 Cor. xi. 22, xiv. 34. At first no doubt private houses were used for this purpose, and thus St. Paul, Coloss. iv. 15, writes, "Salute the brethren who are at Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the Church that is in his house." The same expression is used of Prisca and Aquila, both at Rome, in Rom. xvi. 5; and at Ephesus, 1 Cor. xvi 19; and also of Philemon, either at Colossae or Laodicea (Philemon, 2). This state of things continued after the Apostolic age, though it is impossible to determine exactly when the gatherings in the houses of private Christians gave way to assemblies held in buildings erected for the purpose.

As soon as this last persecution was over, and the peace of the Church secured by Constantine, Christians began to erect churches on a magnificent scale, and, thus seized the first opportunity of manifesting that outward respect to God and His house which is characteristic of Catholics.


The ciborium is the name commonly given to the pyx in which the Blessed Sacrament is kept.


Of the ancient and illustrious order of Citeaux, the most flourishing and prolific of all the offshoots from the great Benedictine trunk, there are now but scanty traces remaining.

St. Robert, the founder, the son of a gentleman of Champagne, devoted himself at an early age with all his heart to the service of God. He took the Benedictine habit, and studied carefully the rule of the great founder, from many things in which he found that the majority of the French monks deviated considerably.

In several monasteries over which he presided St. Robert and the monks could not agree, on account of the strict observance of the rule which he desired to introduce. In 1075 he founded a monastery, consisting of a group of cells, in the forest of Molesme, near Chatillon. Here he and others lived many years; but his thoughts still ran on the necessity of closer conformity to the rule, and as most of his followers saw things differently, he at last quitted Molesme, and, followed by twenty adherents, formed a new monastery in a desert then covered with forest and thickets, at a place called Cistercium (Citeaux), five leagues from Dijon. This was in 1098, which is regarded as the date of the foundation of the order. In Ireland there are two Cistercian abbeys, both of recent foundation, and both are in a highly flourishing condition - that of Mount Melleray, in the Co. Waterford, and that at Roscrea.


The clerical state is the rank or condition of those who are separated from the mass of the faithful, attached in a special manner to the divine service and made capable of administering the Sacraments of the Church.


An enclosed space, usually square, surrounded by covered passages, which have continuous walls on the outer side, and rows of pillars on the inner side facing the square, in connection with monastic, cathedral, or collegiate buildings.


One who helps a prelate, or a priest holding a benefice, in discharging the duties of his bishopric or benefice.


This celebrated relic is in the treasury of the cathedral of Treves, and a very ancient tradition asserts it to be identical with the seamless coat which our Savior wore at the time of his Passion.


The prayer said in the Mass after the Gloria and before the Epistle.


Parents, and other persons invested with lawful authority, have power to make rules for those placed under them, so that things lawful in themselves become unlawful by their prohibition. The Scripture teaches plainly that the Church has this power. We are to hear the Church (Matt. xviii. 17). The Holy Ghost has placed bishops to "rule the Church" (Acts xx. 28). St. Paul , commanded Christians to keep the "precepts of the Apostles and the ancients" (Acts xv. 41).


The Church celebrates many feasts, some movable, some fixed, it may often happen that two of them fall on the same day; or again the Church may institute the feast of a saint, just canonized, on a day already occupied by the feast of another saint.

The common commemorations consist of antiphons, versicles and prayers relating to the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, St. Peter and St. Paul, the Patron or title of the church etc.


A form of prayer for the dying contained in the Roman Ritual. The practice of bringing the priest to the bed of dying persons is coeval with the Church itself, and Amalarius tells us that several of the ancient Antiphonaries contained prayers for the dying. Parts at least of the present form are very ancient. The words "Subvenite," &c., "Come to his help, all ye saints of God; meet him, all ye angels of God," &c., occur in the Antiphonary of St. Gregory the Great; the beautiful address, "Go forth, 0 Christian soul," &e., is found in a letter of St. Peter Damian written to a friend of his who was near death.


An ecclesiastic who, by delegation from the bishop, exercises a portion of the episcopal jurisdiction in a particular part of the diocese, especially with reference to licenses, institutions and the examination of witnesses.


That the body, soul and divinity of Christ are given in the Communion, and that Christ is received whole and entire under either kind - i.e., under the form of bread alone, or wine alone - is an article of the Catholic faith.


Communion of Saints is mentioned in the ninth article of the Apostles’ Creed, where it is added, according to the Roman Catechism, as an explanation of the foregoing words, "I believe in the holy Catholic Church." The communion of saints consists in the union which binds together the members of the Church on earth, and connects the Church on earth, with the Church suffering in Purgatory and triumphant in heaven.


A room that can be closed with a key. The term is applied both to the place where the Cardinals assemble for the election of a new Pope, and to the assembly itself.


A treaty between the Holy See and a secular State touching the conservation and promotion of the interests of religion in that State.


An examination into the qualifications of candidates for ecclesiastical benefices with cure of souls. The Council of Trent ordered that a board of six examiners should be appointed every year in the diocesan synod; and that when any parish became vacant, within ten days, or such period as the bishop might appoint, candidates having been duly invited to attend, an examination should be held by any three selected by the bishop from the board above mentioned. A list of those found qualified having then peen made by the examiners, it was competent for the person or persons to whom the patronage .appertained to select from among these the candidate of their choice, and present him to the bishop for institution.


The place set apart in the church where the priest hears confessions.


This consists, in accusing ourselves of our sins to a priest who has received authority to give absolution. It is the pious custom of the faithful to accuse themselves of all sins committed after baptism, mortal or venial, so far as they can remember them, and the priest, if duly commissioned, has power to absolve from all. But there is an absolute obligation imposed, not only by the law of the Church, but also by divine institution, upon all Christians, to confess all mortal sins committed after baptism, so far as the penitent is able to recall them by diligent examination of his conscience.

It also must include the different kinds of mortal sin committed and the number of sins under each class, so far as it can be ascertained. One mortal sin willfully concealed vitiates the whole confession. If, however, mortal sins are omitted unintentionally and without fault, they are forgiven when absolution is pronounced; only, if they occur to the penitent's recollection afterwards, he must mention them in his next confession. Further, various causes may excuse from this completeness of enumeration. Thus in shipwreck, before a battle, when the penitent is unable to speak, or can only say very little from physical weakness, a very general confession of sin may be enough for absolution; but the confession must be completed afterwards, if the opportunity offers itself.

It must be vocal, though for a grave reason the penitent may make it by presenting a written paper, or by signs.

It must be accompanied by supernatural sorrow and form purpose of amendment. It should also be humble and sincere; as short as is consistent with integrity; in language which is plain and direct, but at the same time pure and modest.

The form of confession is as follows. The penitent, kneeling at the confessor's feet, says, "Pray, Father, bless me, for I have sinned." The priest gives the blessing prescribed in the Roman ritual, "The Lord be in thy heart and on thy lip, that thou mayest truly and humbly confess thy sins, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." The penitent then recites the first part of the Confiteor, enumerates the sins of which he has been guilty since his last confession, and then adds, "For these and all my other sins which I cannot now remember I am heartily sorry; I purpose amendment for the future, and most humbly ask pardon of God and penance and absolution of you, my spiritual Father.


A name used from the earliest times for persons who confessed the Christian faith in times of persecution, thus exposing themselves to danger and suffering, but who did not undergo martyrdom.


The priest who hears confessions. He must have received faculties from the ordinary of the diocese. By the present law penitents may choose any approved priest for their confessor.


A sacrament of the new law by which grace is conferred on baptised persons which strengthens them for the profession of the Christian faith. It is conferred by the bishop, who lays his hands on the recipients, making the sign of the cross with chrisms on their foreheads, while he pronounces the words "I sign thee with the sign of the cross and confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Besides conferring a special grace to profess the faith, it also sets a seal or character on the soul, so that this sacrament cannot be reiterated without sacrilege.


A form of prayer ("I confess to Almighty God, to blessed Mary ever Virgin," &c.) used in the sacrament of penance and on many other occasions, particularly by the priest at the beginning of Mass before he ascends the steps of the altar.


An association, generally of men or women, having some work of devotion, charity, or instruction for its object, undertaken for the glory of God.


A congregation is a community or order bound together by a common rule, either without vows (as the Oratorians, the Oblates of St. Charles, &c.), or without solemn vows (as the Passionists, the Redemptorists, &c.).


St. Thomas of Aquinas and other theologians define conscience as "the judgment or dictate of the practical intellect, which [arguing] from the general principles [of morals] pronounces that something in particular here and now is to be avoided, inasmuch as it is evil, or to, be done, inasmuch as it is good."


The form of words by which the bread and wine in the Mass are changed into Christ's body and blood.


Altars and altar-stones are consecrated by the bishop with ceremonies prescribed in the Pontifical. The most essential part of the rite consists in the anointing with chrism, to indicate the richness of grace, and the placing of relics in the sepulchre or repository made in the altar-stone which is afterwards sealed up. The consecration endures till the altar-stone is broken or the seal of relics broken.


Consecration of Chalice and Paten is made by the bishop with chrism, the prayers to be used being given in the Pontifical.


In the Church the term used with reference to the Papal consistory, the ecclesiastical senate in which the Pope, presiding over the whole body of Cardinals, deliberates upon grave ecclesiastical affairs, and communicates to his venerable brethren, and through them to Christendom, the solicitudes and intentions of the vicar of Christ as to the condition of some Christian nation, or the definition of some Catholic doctrine.


The word used by the Fathers of Nicæa, to establish the true Godhead of the Son, inserted by them in their Creed, and ever since the watchword of those who have true faith in the divinity of Christ, A man may be said to be of one substance with another because he has the same specific nature; but the Son is consubstantial with the Father in another sense, for his nature is numerically one with that of the Father; else, there would be two Gods. Hence, when we say that the Son is consubstantial with the Father, we confess His perfect equality and co-eternity with the first Person of the Trinity and at the same time exclude all imperfection from His eternal generation. A human son receives an individual nature and is separate from his father; but God the Son is ever in the Father and the Father in Him.


A word used to describe the life of those (religious and others) who devote themselves to prayer and meditation, rather than to active works of charity. No doubt such a life, in order to be real, implies a vocation of no ordinary kind.


Contrition in its widest sense, is defined by the Council of Trent as "grief of mind and detestation of sin committed, with a purpose of sinning no more."


The hermitages of the first ages gradually gave place to the cenobite mode of life in houses called convents; only in the orders of Chartreuse and Camaldoli has the solitary life been partially retained to this day.


(cappa pluviale) A wide vestment, of silk, &c., reaching nearly to the feet, open in front and fastened by a clasp, and with a cape at the back. It is used by the celebrant in processions, benedictions, &c., but never in the celebration of Mass, for the Church reserves the chasuble for the priest actually engaged in offering sacrifice, and thus carefully distinguishes between Mass and all other functions.


The linen cloth on which the body of Christ is consecrated. It is used to cover the whole surface of the altar, as may be gathered an Ordo Romanus where the corporal is said to be spread on the altar by two deacons. The chalice also was covered by the corporal, a custom still maintained by the Carthusians. The corporal is and must be blessed by the bishop or by a priest with special faculties. It represents the winding-sheet in which Christ's body was wrapped by Joseph of Arimathea.


The feast of the Blessed Sacrament on the Thursday following the first Sunday after Pentecost throughout the Church.


An assembly of the rulers of the Church legally convoked, for the discussion and decision of ecclesiastical affairs.


A table on which the cruets with wine and water, the veil for the subdeacon, the burse, and the chalice, are placed, and from which they are taken when required for use.


A summary of the chief articles of faith.


On May 19, 1886, the following decree was issued at Rome: "Several bishops and prudent members of Christ's flock, knowing that certain men possessed doubtful faith, or belonging to the Masonic sect, strongly contend at the present day for the practice of the Pagan custom of cremation, founding special societies to spread this custom, fear lest the minds of the faithful may be worked upon by these wiles and sophistries so as to lose by degrees esteem and reverence towards the constant Christian usage of burying the bodies of the faithful - a usage hallowed by the solemn rites of the Church. In order, therefore, that some fixed rule may be laid down for the faithful, to preserve them from the insidious doctrines above mentioned, the Supreme Congregation of the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition is asked:

"1. Is it lawful to become a member of those societies whose object is to spread the practice of cremation?

"2. Is it lawful to leave orders for the burning of one's own body or that of another?

"Their Eminences the Cardinals General Inquisitors, after grave and mature consideration, answered:

"To the first question, No; and if it is a question of societies connected with the Masonic sect, the penalties pronounced against this sect would be incurred. To the second, No.

"When these decisions were referred to our Holy Father, Pope Leo XIII., His Holiness approved and confirmed them, and directed them to be communicated to the bishops, in order that they might instruct the faithful upon the detestable abuse of burning the bodies of the dead and might do all in their power to keep the flock entrusted to their charge from such a practice."

We have given this decree in full, so that the exact position of the Church's teaching concerning cremation may be clearly seen. There is nothing intrinsically wrong in burning the bodies of the dead. The practice might become necessary at times of excessive mortality or of danger to the living, e. g., after a battle or during a plague. But in ordinary times cremation disturbs the pious sentiments of the faithful; it is not in keeping with the beautiful rites of Christian burial; and it has been introduced by enemies of the Church for the purpose of shutting her out from one of her most touching functions.


Or PASTORAL STAFF. The staff given to the bishop at his consecration as a symbol of the authority with which he rules his flock.


The cross was used in Christian worship from the earliest times; the crucifix, or representation of Christ crucified, was probably introduced much later.


Veneration or worship. Theologians distinguish three kinds of Cult. Latria or supreme worship is due to God alone, and cannot be transferred to any creature without the horrible sin of idolatry. Dulia is that secondary veneration which Catholics give to saints and angels as the servants and special friends of God. Lastly, hyperdulia, which is only a subdivision of dulia, is that higher veneration which we give to the Blessed Virgin as the most exalted of mere creatures, though of course infinitely inferior to God and incomparably inferior to Christ in His human nature.


One entrusted with the care of souls.


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