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Catholic Pocket Dictionary/F






FEAR OF GOD             



FLECTAMUS GENUA             




FREEDOM OF WILL             




A church - that is a building set apart for the public divine worship of the faithful and can only be erected with the approval of the bishop of the diocese.


An act of divine faith is the undoubting assent given to revealed truths, not because of the evidence which can be produced for them, but simply because they are revealed by God. Thus the truths which faith accepts are not evident in themselves, or if evident, as is the case with the truths of natural religion, are not accepted with divine faith, because so evident.

Divine faith excludes all doubt. So much is implied in the very word, for nobody would say that we put faith in a man's statement if we doubted its truth; and the faith required in the New Testament is clearly incompatible with doubt. "I know," St. Paul says, "in whom I have believed, and I am certain" (2 Timothy i 12).


A seat which can easily be moved, and which is used by bishops and other prelates in the sanctuary when they do not occupy the throne.


Theologians distinguish the natural from the ecclesiastical fast. The former consists in total abstinence from food and drink, and is required of those who are about to communicate; the latter imposes limits both on the kind and quantity of our food.


Fathers of the Church denote those writers whose orthodoxy was unimpeachable, whom works are of signal excellence or value, and whose sanctity was eminent and recognized by the Church.


Servile fear is such as a slave might hare for his master, and it looks to the punishments which God inflicts. Filial fear is the fear of the child; it consists in dread of offending God who is worthy of all love, and of being separated from Him by sin.


Days on which the Church joyfully commemorates particular mysteries of the Christian religion or the glory of her saints.


A name given the ecclesiastical calendar to all days of the week except Saturday and Sunday. The first Christians called Easter Monday, not the first day after Easter Sunday, but the second feria or feast-day; and as every Sunday is a lesser Easter, the practice prevailed of calling each Monday "feria secunda," each Tuesday, "feria tertia," and so on.


("Let us bend our knees") Words used by the deacon before the collects in the office of Good Friday and in certain Masses. The subdeacon immediately afterwards says "Levate" ("rise, " literally "raise them up,") and the ministers at the altar do so, having knelt on one knee for a second.


The tribunals of the Church are of two kinds, internal and external. The internal forum is the tribunal established in the sacrament of penance, where the coercive power is the Holy Ghost acting on the conscience, the penitent is his own accuser, and the confessor, guided by Moral Theology remits or retains sin, exacts satisfaction, and directs restitution, according to the circumstances of each case.

Under the name of external forum is included every exercise of ecclesiastical jurisdiction external to the tribunal of penance. The judicial office in the external forum belongs to bishops in their respective dioceses, metropolitans in the cases assigned to them by the canons, and supremely and universally to the Holy See.


This order takes its name from its founder, St. Francis of Assisi, who died in 1226. The saint had entirely separated from the world in his twenty-fifth year and embraced a life of strict poverty. He lived for several years in a cottage near Assisi, in the practice of almost continual prayer accompanied by severe bodily discipline. After several disciples had joined him, the cottage at Assisi was found too small to hold them.

About this time the Benedictines of the neighboring monastery of Soubazo gave him a small plot of ground near Assisi called Portiuncula, on which stood an abandoned church dedicated in honor of Our Lady of the Angels. Francis would not accept the land as an absolute gift, but by the tenure of rendering yearly to the Benedictines a basket of little fish, called lasche, caught in the stream that flowed hard by. From this humble site, which thus became the cradle of the order, thousands of monasteries were to be planted, missioners were to go forth to all parts of the world to preach, toil, and in many cases suffer martyrdom for the gospel of Jesus Christ, and a vast multitude of doctors and holy prelates were to issue, by whom the purity of the faith should be sustained, and its principles applied. The Sovereign Pontiff at that time was Innocent III. At the first interview he rejected the saint's petition. Francis humbly withdrew; but the same night the Pope dreamt that he saw a palm spring up from the ground between his feet and gradually grow till it became a great tree; at the same time an impression was borne in upon his mind that by this palm tree was designated the poor petitioner whom he had repelled the day before. The Pope ordered that search should be made for him; Francis was found, and, being brought before the Pope and the Cardinals, expounded in simple but glowing language the plan and aims of his institute. The Pope was much moved, but some of the Cardinals thought that the poverty required surpassed the strength of man. Francis betook himself to prayer, and at the next interview Innocent granted him a verbal approbation of his rule. The Pope declared that he had seen in a dream the Lateran basilica tottering to its fall, but saved by a poor despised man, who set his back against the wall and propped it up. "Truly," said he, "here is that man who, by his work and teaching will sustain the Church of Christ." The above particulars are taken from the Life of the saint by St. Bonaventure. St. Francis drew up a code of rules which were solemnly ratified by Honorius III. in 1223.

It is difficult to realize in this twentieth century the extraordinary attraction which the example and .preaching of St. Francis exercised on his contemporaries. Long before the confirmation by Honorius III., the Friars Minor (such was the name which the founder in his humility chose for them) had made their way into the principal countries of Europe, preaching penance and founding convents.

Francis said to his followers: "Let your behavior in the world be such that everyone who sees or hears you may praise the Heavenly Father. Preach peace to all; but have it in your hearts still more than on your lips. Give no occasion of anger or scandal to any, but by your gentleness lead all men to goodness, peace, and union. We are called to heal the wounded, and recall the erring."

So rapidly did the order increase that at the first general chapter, that called of Mats, held at the Portiuncula in 1219, upwards of five thousand friars were present.

In 1830 the number of Franciscan monasteries was estimated at fifteen hundred, containing ninety thousand friars. Hélyot states that in his time - that is, in the beginning of the eighteenth century, long after the destruction of the houses of the order in England and other northern countries, where they were once numerous--there were, of the first and third orders, seven thousand convents, with 120,000 friars; and of the second order above nine hundred convents, with 28,000 nuns.

The order of St. Francis has given five Popes, more than fifty cardinals, and an immense number of patriarchs and bishops to the Church. The great statesman Cardinal Ximenes was a Franciscan. Among the schoolmen, St. Bonaventure the Seraphic Doctor; Duns Scotus the Subtle Doctor; Alexander of Hales the Irrefragable Doctor; and William of Ockham, were members of this order.


An admonition which in certain circumstances we are bound to give our neighbor in order to withdraw him from sin. The duty of so admonishing is founded on the natural law of love, which obliges us to help our neighbor in the necessities of his soul, and also on the command of Christ (Matt. xviii. 15), "If thy brother shall offend thee, go and reprove him between thee and him alone.

In order to be under, such an obligation, we must be certain that the sin has been committed; we must have reason to think that it has not been repented of, and some reasonable hope that the correction will do good. We must also have grounds for supposing that no one else who is equally fit with ourselves to give these corrections is likely to do so. The admonition must of course be given with great prudence and charity. Bishops, parish-priests, parents and superiors are more strictly bound than others to the duty of making corrections. Many causes, such as inconvenience and loss, or even bashfulness, may often excuse private persons from administering it.


Freedom of Will says St. Thomas, consists essentially in the power of choice. We are said to be endowed with free will because we are able to accept one object, rejecting another; which acceptance we call "choice."


The word is a corruption of the French frère, the distinguishing title of the members of the mendicant orders.


An embroidered cloth which often covers the front side of the altar. The color should vary with the feast or season, and even now Gavanti says it may be dispensed with if the altar is of costly material or fine workmanship.


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