||Roman Catholic Church Glossary
The following is a glossary of terms used by the Roman Catholic Church. The church headquarters is in Vatican City, Rome, a sovereign city-state.
(Sources: A Catholic Dictionary, third edition. The Macmillan Publishing Co., New York, N.Y., 1997. The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual, 29th edition. The Associated Press, New York, N.Y., 1994.Webster's New World Dictionary, third college edition. Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1994.)
- In the Western church, the bishop of a diocese (archdiocese) who has authority
limited and defined by canon law, over the bishops of the dioceses of a defined
territory or province.
- One of the organizational units of the church headed respectively by archbishops
and bishops, who have final responsibility for many activities within their
jurisdictions and report directly to Rome.
- The supreme ecclesiastical ruler of a diocese. Bishops are the successors
of the apostles, as the pope is the successor of St. Peter. Bishops are responsible
for governing their flocks in the name of God as representatives of Christ;
they are not delegates of the Holy See, though they are subject to its authority,
and report directly to the pope.
- 1. A law or body of laws of a church; established rules or principles based
on the books of the Bible and accepted as divinely inspired. 2. The chief
category of canon in the Roman Catholic Church is of members of a cathedral
chapter. A canon is appointed by the bishop with the advice of other canons.
The rights and duties of canons vary from country to country and from diocese
- A member of the Sacred College of Cardinals; the counselors and assistants
of the pope in the government of the Church.
- College of Cardinals
- Members of the church clergy who serve as principal counselors to the pope.
- The territory governed by a bishop. A diocese is divided into parishes and
deaneries. Every diocese normally has a chapter of canons to help the bishop
in the government of the diocese, and to rule it in his stead when he is absent.
A diocese is a principal organizational unit of the church, headed respectively
by archbishops and bishops, who have final responsibility for many activities
within their jurisdictions and report directly to Rome.
- The second of the major orders and the third of the hierarchical orders.
In Western churches, deacons minister at the altar and preach. His office
is chiefly ceremonial; he sings the gospel at high Mass and assists the celebrant
(bishop, cardinal, priest).
- 1. The usual name for the chief dignitary of a diocesan or collegiate chapter.
A dean is appointed by the Holy See but has no greater powers than the other
canons, except in certain German dioceses. 2. A senior priest who has the
oversight of a group of parishes. His duties and rights vary from diocese
to diocese but always include summoning and presiding at periodical meetings
of the clergy of a deanery.
- 1. The position, authority or jurisdiction of a dean. 2. The official
residence of a dean.
- Cleric, person in holy orders, especially of the superior ranks.
- Of the church, or the clergy; used chiefly in early writings relating to
- Extreme Unction
- A sacrament of the New Law (Roman Catholic) in which, by anointing with
oil and the prayers of the priest, health of soul and, sometimes, of body
is conferred on a baptized person who is in danger of death.
- Holy See
- Generally used as a term to indicate the pope as supreme pontiff, together
with those associated with him in government at the church's headquarters.
- All the people not included among the clergy; laymen collectively. Those
who have membership in the Church without authority. The distinction of clergy
and laity is of divine institution, although not all grades of clergy are
divinely instituted. Lay persons cannot exercise the power of orders or jurisdiction,
but they may be religious and rule their brethren in religion with dominative
power, which is not jurisdiction.
- The minister of divine worship, especially in its highest act, sacrifice.
Since a sacrifice is offered in the mane of a whole religious society, the
minister must be appointed by public authority. Roman Catholic priests are
of two grades: Priests of the second order are given power to offer the sacrifice
of the Mass, to baptize and to administer Extreme Unction. Priests of the
first order, i.e., bishops possess the additional power of administering the
sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Order.
- Since the 11th century, the title of the bishop of Rome, as the supreme
pontiff of the Catholic Church. As bishop of Rome, the pope is the successor
of St. Peter, and therefore the visible head of the Church on earth, the vicegerent
or deputy of Christ, and supreme ruler of all Roman Catholic Christians.
- An ecclesiastical council.
- A cleric who takes the place of another in the exercise of an ecclesiastical
office and acts in his name and with his authority, as determined by canon
law, e.g. cardinal vicar (of the bishop of Rome), vicar apostolic (of the
pope in missionary countries), vicar capitular (of the chapter when a diocese
is vacant), vicar general (of a bishop in a deanery).