we can understand religion generally to mean a
relationship to what is divine. A religious person acknowledges something
divine as the power that created him and the world, on which he is dependent
and to which he is ordered. He wants to please and honor the Divinity by his
way of life.
Revelation means that God opens himself, shows
himself, and speaks to the world voluntarily.
(from the Latin caro, carnis= flesh, “becoming
flesh”) God’s act of becoming man in Jesus Christ. This is the foundation of
Christian faith and of hope for the redemption of mankind.
(from Latin mission= sending) Mission is the
essence of the Church and Jesus’ mandate to all Christians to proclaim the Gospel
in word and deed, so that all men can freely make a decision for Christ.
(from the Greek apostolos= messenger, envoy) in
the New Testament initially the term for the twelve men who were called by
Jesus to ne his closest collaborators and witnesses. Paul, too, was privileged to
consider himself an apostle called by Christ.
(from Latin magister= teacher) term for the
mandate of the Catholic Church to present the faith, to interpret it with the
aid of the Holy Spirit and to protect it from falsifications.
(Latin inspiratio= inbreathing) God’s influence
on the human writers of the Bible, so that he himself should be regarded as the
author of the Sacred Scriptures.
(Greek kanon= measuring rod, rule, norm) the
authoritative collection of Sacred Scriptures in the Old and New Testaments of
“Bible” (Latin biblia= scrolls, books) is what Jews
and Christians call a collection of Sacred Scriptures that came into being over
a period of more than one thousand years and is for them the charter of their
faith. The Christian Bible is considerably more extensive than the Jewish
bible, because besides their Scriptures it also contains the four Gospels, the
letters of St. Paul, and other writings of the early Church.
(Latin testamentum= covenant, will) the first
part of the complete Bible and the Sacred Scriptures of the Jews. The Old
Testament of the Catholic Church includes 46 books: historical writings,
prophetical writings, and wisdom literature, with the Psalms.
the second part of the complete bible. It contains
the specifically Christian texts, namely, the Gospels, the Acts of the
Apostles, 14 letters written by Paul, 7 Catholic letters, and Revelation.
(from the Latin credo= I believe) the first word
of the Apostles’ Creed became the name for various formulas of the Church’s
profession of faith, in which the essential contents of the faith are
(from Greek monos= only and Theos= God, doctrine
about the existence of only 1 God) the teaching that God is a unique, absolute,
and personal being the ultimate found of everything. Monotheistic religions are
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
the most important name of God in the Old
Testament (Ex 3:14). It can be translated “I am who I am.” For Jews as well as
for Christians, it designates the one God of the whole world, their creator,
preserver, covenant partner, liberator from slavery in Egypt, judge, and
(Latin trinitas= the state of being threefold)
God is only one, but he exists in three persons. The fact that in English we
have two terms, the Tribune God and the Trinity for the same reality (one
emphasizes God’s unity, the other the distinction of persons in him) is an indication
if the unfathomable mystery of the Trinity.
(Latin evolutio= unfolding, development) the
growth of the final form of organisms over millions of years. Viewed from a
Christian perspective, evolution takes place as God’s continuous creation in
(from Latin creation= making, producing) the
idea that God himself by his direct action created the world all at once, as if
the book of Genesis were an eyewitness account.
(Greek= origin, beginning) the first book of the
Bible which describes, among other things, the creation of the world and of
the roman catacombs we find an ancient Christian secret sign that was a profession
of faith in Christ: the word ICHTHYS (=fish). If you spell the word out, each
letter serves as the beginning of the Greek words Iesous, Christos, THeou, (=of
God) hYious (=Son), and Soter (=savior). ICHTHYS ZONTON means: Fish of Life.
mysterion= secret) a mystery is a reality ( or one aspect of a reality) that in
principle eludes rational knowledge
passio= sickness, suffering) term designating for Christ’s suffering
(Greek= personal presence) Christ’s second
coming at the Last Judgment
from the Greek charis= gift, grace, favor,
charm) a name for the gratuitous gift of the Holy Spirit as they are described
for example in 1 Corinthians 12:6ff.: the gift of healing, miraculous powers,
prophecy, speaking in tongues, and the gift of interpreting them, wisdom,
knowledge, firmness in faith, and so on. Also included are the seven gifts of
the Holy Spirit.
(From Greek pentecoste= “the 50th”
day after Easter) originally celebrated on which Israel celebrated the establishment
of the covenant with God on Mount Sinai. Through the Pentecost event in
Jerusalem, it became for Christians the feast of the Holy Spirit.
according to Gal 5:19, these include: immorality,
impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger,
selfishness, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, carousing and the like.
the works of the flesh
(from the Greek kyriake= belonging to the Lord)
consists of those called together from all nations (from Greek ex kealeo, ekklesia)
who through the Baptism belong to the Body of Christ
Many Christian communities on earth call
themselves churches. According to the Catholics understanding, only those in
which the sacraments of Jesus Christ have been preserved in their entity have
remained “Church”. This is true especially of the Orthodox and Eastern Churches.
In the ecclesial communities that resulted from the Protestant Reformation, all
the sacraments have not been preserved.
Churches and ecclesial communities
(from Greek oikumere= the inhabited earth, the
globe) efforts to unify divided Christians
the most essential attribute of God. In Latin
there is a word, fanum, for what is divine, pure, and set apart from profane,
everyday things. God is the totally Other, the Holy One of Israel; Jesus comes
into the world as the Holy One of God. In him we can see what holiness is: to
love unconditionally and mercifully, in a helping and healing way, up to
perfection in the Cross and Resurrection.
the right of every man to follow his conscience
in choosing and practicing his religion. Acknowledgement of religious freedom
is not saying that all religions are equal or equally true.
(Greek apostolos= someone sent, messenger) the
names of the twelve apostles are these: first Simon, who is called peter, and Andrew
his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and john his brother; Philip and
Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alpheus,
and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.
(Latin successio= sequence, appointment of a
replacement) the unbroken series of bishops since the apostles, their
successors in the episcopal ministry. As Jesus conferred his authority on his
apostles, so it is passed on since e from bishop to bishop through the imposition
of hands and prayer, until the Lord comes again
(from Greek laos= people) the common state of
life in the Church: baptized non-ordained Christians who belong to the People of
Greek kleroi= share or inheritance) the state of ordained men in the Church.
(from Greek hieros and arche= holy origin) the
graduated structure of the Church under Christ, from whom all power and authority
(from Greek pappas= father) successor of the
apostle Peter, Bishop of Rome. Because peter was first among the apostles, the
Pope, as his successor, presides over the college of bishops. As Christ’s Vicar
of representative, he is the supreme pastor, priest and teacher of the Church.
(from Greek episkopein= to supervise) successor
of the apostles; leader of a diocese (local church); as a member of the college
of bishops, under the leadership of the Pope, the bishop has a share in the responsibility
for the universal Church.
(from Greek presbyteros= elder) co-worker with
the bishop in proclaiming the gospel and administering the sacraments. He
carries out his ministry in communion with the other priests, under the leadership
of the bishop.
(Greek diakonos= servant, helper) he is ordained
for the ministry (diakonia) of the word, the liturgy, and charitable works. His
ordination includes the authority to baptize, to preach at Mass, and to preside
at the sacrament of Matrimony.
From the Very beginning, the Christian community
in Rome was regarded as the greatest and most ancient church known to all,
founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and
Paul. With this Church, because of her superior origin, all Churches must
agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world; and it is in her that the
faithful everywhere have maintained the tradition of the apostles. The fact
that both apostles suffered martyrdom in Rome lent additional significance to
the Roman community
( Greek oikumeme= the entire inhabited world)
assembly of the Catholic bishops from all over the world; not to be confused
with ecumenism in the sense of efforts to bring about unity among Christians
(Greek dogma= opinion, decision, doctrine) an article
of faith proclaimed by a Council or the Pope as divine revelation contained in
Scripture and Tradition.
(Latin= from the chair, symbol of teaching
authority) this technical expression designates the special cade of an infallible
magisterial decision of the Pope.
poverty, unmarried chastity and obedience are
the counsels given in the Gospel for imitating Jesus.
the so-called particular or personal judgment
occurs at the death of the individual. The last or general judgment occurs on
the last day, at the end of the world, when the lord comes again.
The word amen (From Hebrew aman= to be
steadfast, trustworthy) is used in the Old Testament most often in the sense of
so be it to reaffirm one’s desire for God to act or to join in the praise of
God. In the New Testament it is commonly the affirmative concluding word of a
prayer. Most often, however, Jesus himself uses it as an otherwise unusual
introduction to a speech. It underscores the authority of his words.