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Catholic Pocket Dictionary/G


GAUDETE SUNDAY             







GOLDEN ROSE             



GRACE AT MEALS             


GREEK CHURCH             



Is a tendency to enlarge the prerogatives of a national church - in the particular case, of the church of France - and to restrict proportionately the authority of the Holy See.


The third Sunday of Advent, so called from the first word of the Introit, Gaudete, "rejoice."


A confession of sins committed by the penitent since baptism, so far as they can be remembered. Such a confession is of course necessary in the case of those who have made no previous confession, or whose previous confessions have been invalid. A person may reasonably desire to make such a confession in order to obtain direction when he proposes to enter on a new state of life; or, again, to acquire deeper humility and a better knowledge of himself. Hence it is common to make a general confession before first communion, ordination, or religious profession.


Genuflection (the bending of the knee) is a natural sign of adoration or reverence. It is frequently used in the Ritual of the Church. Thus the faithful genuflect in passing before the tabernacle where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved; the priest repeatedly genuflects at Mass in adoration of the Blessed Eucharist, at the mention of the Incarnation in the Creed. Genuflection is also made as a sign of profound respect before a bishop on certain occasions. A double genuflection - i.e. one on both knees - is made on entering or leaving a church where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed.


In the Old Testament there are many allusions to necromancers, who professed to summon up the spirits of the dead; and possibly in 1 Kings xxviii. 7 we have the account of a real apparition. Many apparitions of saints after death are recorded in the history of the Church. The theological principles on the matter are stated by St. Thomas. According to the natural course of things, no soul can leave heaven or hell, even for a time, or quit purgatory till its purification is completed. But God may permit departed souls to appear on earth for many wise reasons, that is, that the saints may help men; that the sight of lost souls may warn them; that the spirits in purgatory may obtain prayers. St. Thomas even thinks that God has communicated to the saints a permanent power of appearing on earth when they please.


A cord with which the priest or other cleric binds his alb. It is the symbol of continence and self-restraint, as is said by Innocent III., and implied in the prayer which the priest about to celebrate Mass is directed to use while he ties the girdle round his waist.


A bishop's gloves are blessed and put on his hands at his consecration by the consecrator.


It is a false knowledge which throws off the trammels of faith and ecclesiastical authority. It subjects everything to the caprice of an individual, and makes any fixed rule of faith impossible. It abandons the faith which the Church proclaims, and cavils at the simplicity of the holy teachings. It destroys the efficacy of baptism - that is, it sets at naught faith, the gift conferred in that sacrament. The Gnostic professes to impart a knowledge "greater and deeper" than the ordinary doctrine of Christians, a knowledge which forgets the limits of reason and scorns to believe what it can not understand. This knowledge, to those who were capable of it, is the means of redemption; indeed, in most of the Gnostic systems it is the one and sufficient passport to perfect bliss. It is, however, important to observe that Gnosticism is not a philosophy. True, it is as unfettered and unstable as any philosophy can be, and it addresses itself to the same kind of questions. But it keeps the semblance of Christianity, for in nearly all the Gnostic systems Christ occupies a central place, and, as a rule, Gnosticism answers the speculative questions which it raises, not in the abstract language of metaphysics, but by the invention of an elaborate mythology. Without its Christian elements, it could not have entered into such close conflict with the Church; without its mythological garb, it would have missed the popularity which made it and makes it still dangerous.

It was in the East that Gnosticism began, and in its rudimentary form it appears very early in the history of the Church.

GOD. In the Apostles and in the Nicene Creed we begin by professing our belief in one God, creator of heaven and earth, and the Fourth Lateran Council explains more fully what we know by reason and revelation of His nature and attributes. The Vatican Council, although to a great extent it merely reiterates the Lateran definition, adds at least two important truths concerning God's relation to us and ours to Him. For, after stating that there is one true and living God, creator and Lord of heaven and earth, almighty, eternal, immense, incomprehensible, infinite in intellect and will and in every concerning whom, seeing that He is one, singular, altogether simple and unchangeable spiritual substance, we must assert that He is in reality and essence distinct from the world, most blessed in Himself and from Himself, and infinitely exalted above all that is or can be thought of besides Himself, the council adds that God "by His most free counsel," constrained by no necessity of any kind, created the world, and then, in the next chapter, that we can, by the natural light of reason, and from the consideration of created things, attain a "sure" knowledge of God, who is the beginning and end of all.


An ornament blessed by the Pope every year on Lætare Sunday (fourth Sunday in Lent), and sent occasionally to Catholic sovereigns, to churches and sanctuaries, to distinguished persons and to Catholic cities. Originally, it was a single flower of wrought gold, colored red; afterwards the golden petals were decked with rubies and other gems; finally, the form adopted was that of a thorny branch, with several flowers and leaves, and one principal flower at the top, all of pure gold.


The practice of reading the gospels in the Mass is mentioned in all the liturgies. The Gospel was read after the Epistle and before the offertory, in order that the catechumens might listen to the words of Christ and hear them explained.


Definition and Divisions of Grace.- All that we receive from God - our existence, our natural powers, the good things, of this life - are God's free gift and may therefore be rightly called graces or favors received from Him. Man has been created that he may see God face to face in His glory, and God, who calls him to eternal life, also furnishes the means by which it may be secured. The theologians of the Church distinguish grace from nature. Grace in its strict sense may be defined as a supernatural gift freely bestowed by God on rational creatures in order that they may attain eternal life. It is called a supernatural gift in order to distinguish it from gifts which come to us in the natural order. All grace since the Fall has been given to man on account of Christ's merits.

Grace is divided into external and internal grace. The former term includes such external gifts as the preaching of the Gospel, the examples of Christ and the Saints, occasions of good actions, the removal of exterior temptations - in a word, all the effects of supernatural providence by which the cause of our salvation is promoted. Internal grace directly affects the understanding and the will, either inhering in the soul as a permanent quality, or merely moving and aiding the soul at the time to acts of supernatural virtue.


"Whether you eat or drink," says St. Paul (1Cor. x. 31), "or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God." St. Basil says, "Let prayers be said before taking food, in meet acknowledgment of the gifts of God, both of those which He is now giving and of those which He has put in store for the future. Let prayers be said after food, containing a return of thanks for the things given, and request for those promised. "


An antiphon sung after the Epistle, and so called either because it used to be sung on the altar steps, or because it was sung while the deacon ascended the steps of the ambo to sing the Gospel. It is also called "responsory,” because it answers to the Epistle, or because sung antiphonally.


Under this title are included all those Christians who, being separated from the communion of the Pope, acknowledge the primacy of the Patriarch of Constantinople. At one time, as everybody knows, the Greek Churches were in full communion with the Holy See.


A person responsible in the eye of the law for the proper bringing up of children whose father is dead or incapable. Under the ancient discipline, a cleric could not act as guardian, lest he should be too much entangled in worldly business.


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