Catholic terms: A serious & not so serious look


When talking about the new translation of the Mass recently, Abbot Cuthbert Johnson spoke of professions such as the medical one, having very specific language. The Catholic Church is rediscovering that specific language too.

But even very specific language can be learned and understood. Columnist for the National Catholic Register, Matthew Archbold has taken a humorous look at 12 terms which have specific uses in either the Catholic liturgy, or wider Catholic culture.

“Zucchetto – I’ll take extra parmesan on my zuccheto please with some lean mutton on the side. It’s a small skullcap worn by clerics.”

Here at CTS, our booklet, A Simple Glossary of Catholic Terms does the same job, only without the wisecracks. Written and expanded by respected academics, Fr Jerome Bertram &, Dr Raymond Edwards, it also gives you the root of the word as well as its meaning, for example:

Acolyte (Greek AKOLUTES, “follower”) Originally, the fourth grade of Holy Orders, now suspended in the Latin Church. Now used for a lay ministry, assistant to the priest, hardly ever conferred except for those on the way to ordination as deacon or priest.

Communion of Saints The unity and mutual solidarity of all Christians living and dead, forming the Church.

Embolism (Greek EMBOLISMOS, ‘something stuck in or intercalated’ from EMBALLEIN, “to throw in”) Generally, any prayer inserted into another, or amplifying it; usually refers to the prayer at Mass after the Our Father, which develops the last petition of that prayer.

Indult (Latin INDULTUM ‘something allowed for’) A letter from the Pope giving permission for a particular Canon Law to be suspended in particular circumstances.”

Others are Catholic expressions which have entered into common usage.

Promoter of the Faith An official of the Curia charged with presenting objections to a cause for canonization or beatification, or resolving controversies connected with it; sometimes known informally as the Devil’s Advocate.”

A Simple Glossary of Catholic Terms is available from CTS priced £1.95

Of related interest:

LF34 Signs and Symbols Inside a Catholic Church – What you will see inside a Catholic church and what it all means.
H508 The History of the Mass Explained – This booklet looks at how the Mass has changed and developed over the centuries, and how changes have occurred at different times in the Church’s history.
The Catholic Mass Revealed, revised edition – The Catholic Mass is the most sacred act of worship a person can participate in upon earth. This DVD from the USA, with accompanying audio CDs and book, takes you through each part of the Mass, explaining its significance and drawing out deeper spiritual lessons.

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