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Glossary of the Catholic Church

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This is a glossary of terms used within the Catholic Church.

Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


  • Altarage - the revenue reserved for the chaplain (altarist or altar-thane) in contradistinction to the income of the parish priest, it came to signify the fees received by a priest from the laity when discharging any function for them


  • Bishop - an ordained minister who holds the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders and is responsible for teaching the Catholic faith and ruling the Church
  • Brother - a member of a Catholic religious order


  • Catholicism - a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioural characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole.
  • Catechism - an official exposition of Church teachings
  • Communion - see Eucharist
  • Counter-Reformation - the period of Catholic revival beginning with the Council of Trent and ending at the close of the Thirty Years' War.


  • East–West Schism - divided medieval Christianity into Eastern (Greek) and Western (Latin) branches, which later became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, respectively
  • Excommunication - a religious censure used to deprive or suspend membership in a religious community
  • Eucharist - a Christian sacrament or ordinance, generally considered to be a commemoration of the Last Supper, the final meal that Jesus Christ shared with his disciples before his arrest and eventual crucifixion


  • Fall of Man - the transition of the first humans from a state of innocent obedience to God, to a state of guilty disobedience to God


  • Holy Communion - see Eucharist
  • Holy See - the episcopal jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome (who is commonly known as the Pope), and is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church


  • Lapsed Catholic - a Catholic who has ceased practicing the Catholic faith. Such a person is said to have lapsed from the faith
  • Lay communion - a term used to describe the status of a cleric who is in communion with the Church, but only with the standing of a lay person.
  • Limbo - a speculative idea about the afterlife condition of those who die in original sin without being assigned to the Hell of the damned. Limbo is not an official doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church or any other
  • Liturgy - public worship


  • Mass - the usual English-language name for the Eucharistic celebration in the Latin liturgical rites of the Catholic Church
  • Mariology - the theology concerned with the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ
  • Mediatrix - refers to the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary as a mediator in the salvation process.






  • Sacrament of Penance - (commonly called Confession, Reconciliation or Penance) is the method given by Christ to the Church by which individual men and women may be freed from sins committed after receiving Baptism

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