BASIC CATHOLIC DEFINITIONS THAT EVERY CATHOLIC SHOULD KNOW

We see below how these terms relate to the Creed we profess as Catholics

I believe in God the Father Almighty….

Holy Trinity: The mystery of one God in Three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Angel: A spiritual, personal and immortal creature, with intelligence and free will, who glorifies God without ceasing and who serves God as a messenger of his saving plan.

In Jesus Christ our Lord conceived by the Holy Spirit born of the Virgin Mary….

Incarnation: When the Son of God assumed human nature and became man.

Immaculate Conception: The conception of the Virgin Mary, who through the anticipated merits won by Jesus Christ through his death and resurrection, was preserved  from original sin.

Transubstantiation: When, in the consecration of the bread and wine, there occurs the change of the entire substance of the bread into the Body of Christ, and the entire substance of the wine into the Blood of Christ.

I believe in the Holy Catholic Church…

Doctrine: A revealed teaching of Christ that is irreversible.

Dogma. Doctrine taught by the Church to be believed by all the faithful as part of divine revelation. All dogmas, therefore, are formally revealed truths and promulgated as such by the Church. Moreover, their acceptance by the faithful must be proposed as necessary for salvation.

Real Presence. Council of Trent in 1551 declared that “in the sacrament of the most holy Holy Eucharist is contained truly, really, and substantially the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ” Hence Christ is present truly or actually and not only symbolically.

Magisterium. The Church’s teaching authority, vested in the bishops, as successors of the Apostles, under the Roman Pontiff, as successor of St. Peter.

Encyclical. A papal document treating of matters related to the general welfare of the Church, sent by the Pope to the bishops. Although of themselves not infallible, encyclicals may (and generally do) contain pronouncements on faith and morals that are de facto infallible because they express the ordinary teaching of the Church

Infallibility. Freedom from error in teaching the universal Church in matters of faith or morals.  The source of the infallibility is the supernatural assistance of the Holy Spirit, who protects the supreme teacher of the Church from error. The condition of the infallibility is that the Pope speaks ex cathedra, that is:  he have the intention of declaring something unchangeably true; and he speak as shepherd and teacher of all the faithful with the full weight of his apostolic authority.

The communion of saints…

Mystical Body Of Christ.  The Term “Body,” When Referring To The Church, Derives Its meaning from the analogy used by St. Paul, where he speaks of Christians: “You are the Body of Christ, (I Corinthians 12:27), The Church is called Mystical because she is a mystery, which God revealed to be true and  must be accepted on faith and without full comprehension of the mind.

I believe in the forgiveness of sins…

Sanctifying grace: Grace that heals our wounded human nature and gives us a share in the divine life of the Trinity. A habitual and supernatural gift that perfects and makes us holy.

Actual grace: Temporary supernatural intervention by God to enlighten the mind or strengthen the will to perform supernatural actions that lead to heaven.

Sin: Any intentional thought, word, deed or omission that violates God’s law.

Original sin: The sin by which the first humans disobeyed God, resulting in the loss of original holiness. Also,the fallen state of human nature that affects every person.

Concupiscence: An inclination to sin, due to original sin, which remains even after baptism.

Mortal sin: Grave infraction of the law of God that destroys divine life (sanctifying grace) in the soul of the sinner. For sin to be mortal, it must involve grave matter, full knowledge of the evil of the act, and deliberate consent of the will.

Venial sin: Sin that diminishes and wounds but does not destroy the divine life (sanctifying grace) in the soul of the sinner.

I believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlating

Heaven: Complete and eternal happiness with God and all the blessed.

Purgatory: Temporary state after death whereby souls who die in a state of sanctifying grace are purified from sin and its effects and are made ready for eternal life with God.

Hell: State of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed; unending misery reserved for those who freely choose not to repent of mortal sin before death.

NOTE: Thanks to Our Sunday Visitor and Fr. John Hardon for these brief definitions

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