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Vatican Insider - Vatican glossary
Category: History and Culture > The Vatican
Date & country: 01/08/2013, IT
Words: 206

Diocesan Administrator
A priest, who has completed 35 years of age, elected to govern the diocese when the bishop's seat is vacant

Diocesan Synod
Assembly of priests and other faithful chosen to assist the bishop in his pastoral work. It is convened by the diocesan bishop. It is composed of some legal members (those with the most significant responsibilities in the diocese), plus others elected by the clergy

The portion of the people of God that is entrusted to the pastoral care of a Bishop. As a rule, is limited within a given territory. Several dioceses together form the archdiocese

He who is officially recognized for his ability to teach. In the Church, the first teachers are the bishops

Doctor of the Church
Title attributed by the Pope to holy writers for the perfect orthodoxy of their doctrine. During the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI granted the title for the first time to two women: St. Catherine of Siena and St. Teresa of Jesus

A specific doctrinal statement that the Church has solemnly defined. Its acceptance is mandatory for all members of the Church. Whoever rejects it, falls into heresy and is removed from the Church

Dogmatic Constitution
Official document of the teachings of the Council of Bishops in union with the Pope. It is the highest form in which the Church expresses itself and its faith

Dogmatic Definition
Clear and accurate statement of a truth of faith handed down by the highest authority of the Church (the pope or an ecumenical council), which requires that believers accept, under pain of separation (excommunicated) from the Catholic unity

The capacity given to a priest to celebrate Mass twice on the same day. In this case we say that he dubs

Popular term used to designate some of the cathedrals in Italy, particularly Milan, Orvieto, Siena and Pisa

Eastern Catholic Churches
There are about twelve million faithful united in Rome in the five rites and Eastern Church groups: Byzantine (about 5 million faithful, Ukrainians, Romanians, and others spread throughout the world), Chaldean (about 500,000 in Iraq, Malabar in India); Alexandrian (150,000 Copts in Egypt, 100,000 Ethiopians), Antiochian (Maronite, Syrian ...)...

Ecclesiastical Court
Separate or privileged jurisdiction established from the times of Constantine for clerics, who could not be judged by ordinary courts, but only by those specifically established for them

Ecclesiastical Letter
Document of the Pope in the form of a letter to a certain person or to a group, usually with universal intentions

Movement that tends to unite the various Christian Churches under one Church. Ecumene in Greek means the inhabited part of the earth, or universality

The fact that social or religious customs belonging to a culture are introduced into another

Or encyclical letter. Document of the Pope under the form of a letter addressed to the bishops and all the faithful, or even to all mankind who is willing to listen, on a particular theme, usually of a doctrinal character

Manifestation. The solemnity of the Epiphany celebrates the manifestation of God in the Incarnate Word

Adjective that describes that which relates to the Bishop

Episcopal Conference
Permanent assembly of all the bishops of a country or a territory established to jointly exercise certain pastoral functions

Group of bishops (of the world, a nation, a region, etc.)

In ecclesiastical language, the transfer of an ecclesiastic from a diocese. It is the opposite to incardination

Faculty of the Supreme Pontiff to relieve some institutes of consecrated life (religious) from the government of the Local Ordinaries, subjecting them directly to its authority or that of other ecclesiastical authorities

Liturgical celebration of a funeral

Chair with arms, and kneeling pillow, without back, used by the bishop on certain occasions instead of the cathedra. It is covered with a cloth of the color corresponding to the liturgical celebration

Grand Chancellor
The highest authority in a pontifical university, inasmuch as delegated by the Pope. It is usually the bishop of the city where the university is located

The life and works of the saints, from a literary and scientific perspective

Holy Days of Obligation
The holidays that the Church orders to celebrate by attending mass and abstaining from any work or business that may prevent the worship of God

Holy of Holies
The innermost room in the temple of Jerusalem. It was the place par excellence of the divine presence and only the high priest would enter once a year

Holy Year
Year of peace and forgiveness in the Catholic Church, also known as Jubilee. Convened by the Pope at first every hundred years, then every fifty, then every twenty-five

It is that part of the liturgical celebration that proclaims the wonders of God, starting from the sacred texts, relating them with the mystery being celebrated and with the concrete life of the community

A wide sash that the bishop or priest carries on his shoulders, with the front of which he covers his hands to avoid touching the ciborium or monstrance directly, when blessing with the Blessed Sacrament or when carrying it in procession

From the Greek, hymnos, or hymn, song. Poetic-musical composition, usually of praise. Hymns abound in the Bible: many of the Psalms have this character

The transfer of a cleric to a diocese, prelature or congregation

Aromatic resinous substance extracted from various trees

Canonical penalty by which it is forbidden to celebrate the sacraments and participate in other religious ceremonies

From Greek laos, people. In the Church it means Christians that carry out their mission through their ordinary worldly commitments: marriage, politics, arts, science, as opposed to the specific tasks of the clergy

Book that contains the readings that are proclaimed during the mass or in other liturgical celebrations

Prayer that consists in a series of short praise and proclamations which follow as responses to an invocation

Liturgical Books
Those that contain material and directions for conducting liturgical celebrations. Among the most important are: The Missal (book from altar), the Liturgy of the Hours, the Rituals of the sacraments, the Ritual of the funeral

Liturgical Year
It is the order given by the Church to the time throughout the year in which to celebrate the mysteries of the Lord. It is divided into liturgical seasons: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter time and Pentecost

Is the authoritative teaching exercised by the Pope and the bishops. The Ordinary Magisterium, which is exercised in the normal and ordinary life of the Church, is different from the Extraordinary Magisterium, which is exercised in circumstances of particular relevance, as a council or a dogmatic definition

Chant that the Virgin Mary, according to Luke's story, sang in the home of her parents Elizabeth and Zechariah on the occasion of her visit. It is a psalm of praise and thanksgiving

Marriage Separation
Interruption of married life. The Canon Law recognizes this right to the innocent spouse, when the other spouse commits adultery, but suggests not to refuse forgiveness and not to break the marriage

Liturgical book that contains the names of the saints (including saints that are not martyrs), with some information on their origin, date and place of martyrdom or death

In the Roman Curia, a congregation

This is the book containing the prayers and directions for celebrating the Eucharist

Title that the Holy See grants to bishops and other clerics for the importance of their function

Case made of precious metal in which is exposed the Blessed Sacrament to expose it for adoration by the faithful or carried in procession

From the Latin nullum, worthless. An act is null when it is not effective or lacks value. It is often used to qualify a marriage that was not valid due to a fault at the time it was entered into: deception, moral pressure, lack of legal conditions

Small Greek bronze coin. It is synonymous with small donation in money, charity

Charity given to the priest for religious services, usually for the intention of the Mass according to the will of the donor. The most common is to ask on behalf of deceased relatives

It is customary to give this name to the part of the Mass during which gifts are prepared and brought to the altar, but the term is inappropriate because it creates confusion: what is offered in the Mass is the Body and Blood of Christ (offer of sacrifice after consecration)

Small square of starched linen used to cover the chalice during the celebration of the Eucharist

Stole of white wool decorated with black embroidered crosses that covers the shoulders with the ends falling over the chest and shoulders

Small candelabra used in the liturgy by cardinals, bishops and abbots, now virtually fallen into disuse

Speech or writing in praise of someone, especially the Madonna or some saint on his feast day

Papal Legate
Representative of the Holy See to foreign governments or special Churches with the title of apostolic nuncio, Internuncio, apostolic delegate

Papal, Episcopal, Patriarchal Seat
From the Latin sedes, seat: the seat of ecclesiastical authority

A particular community of believers that is stably constituted in a particular church, whose pastoral care is entrusted to a priest, under the authority of the diocesan bishop

Parish Administrator
One who, appointed by the diocesan bishop, replaces the parish priest when the position is vacant or if the parish priest cannot exercise his work

Parish Council
Organization which studies, evaluates, proposes practical solutions on all that regards the pastoral activities of the diocese

Parish Priest
Presbyter, pastor of the parish entrusted

Paschal Candle
Large candle used in liturgical worship. It symbolizes Christ, light of the world

Emblem of the bishops to indicate, by its shape as a shepherd's crook, their position as shepherds of the Christian flock. Intended as actions: the series of practical achievements that members of the Church, under the direction of the pastors, will complete to extend the kingdom of God

Pastoral Area
Intermediate structure between the diocese and the parish, established to better undertake pastoral commitments

In the Latin Church honorific title of some bishops or in relation to their episcopal office (Venice, Lisbon), or by personal concession

The cross that Western bishops wear on their chest or the medallion that is similarly worn by Eastern bishops

Probationary period, prior to entering the novitiate, for those who asks to enter a religious order

The cleric that promotes a cause with the court of the Sacred Congregation of Rites for beatification or canonization

The income of a cathedral or collegiate assigned to each canonic or prebendary for his ministry therein

The territorial prelature or territorial abbey is a certain portion of the people of God, territorially limited, which, due to special circumstances, are entrusted to a prelate or abbot who rules them as a diocesan bishop, as their pastor

From the Greek presbiteros, namely elderly. In current usage it is synonymous to priest

Part of the church around the alter, that is reserved to priests during in the liturgical celebration. Another meaning refers to all the priests of a diocese

From the Latin prior, i.e. the first. In some communities it is the name given to the head of the community

The protodeacon cardinal announces to the people the name of the newly elected Pope

Poetic-musical compositions of the literature of the Jewish people. Because of their great religious (and literary) wealth, the Church continues to use them in its prayers

A collection of 150 Psalms, or the Book of Psalms

Raised stage, often leaning against a pillar in the nave, for the proclamation of the Word. After the post-councilor liturgical reform it is no longer used and is considered more suitable for liturgical preaching of the lectern

Remains of the body of saints, usually of their bones. By extension, objects that belonged to a saint

Religious Denominations
The different churches or religious communities, united by common beliefs

Ring of the Fisherman
Fisherman (or Piscatory Ring). Papal ring for sealing documents, bearing the name of the Pope and the image of St. Peter let down the nets. It is destroyed at the death of the Pope

Roman Congregations
Bodies of the Vatican which, in the name of the Pope, administer the various aspects of Church governance. For the Church, they are what ministries are for a country

Roman Curia
Consists of: Secretary of State (including the General Affairs Section and the Section for Relations with States), Congregations (may be compared to the Ministries of a country), Ecclesiastical tribunals, Pontifical Councils, Offices, and then Institutions connected with the Holy See such as, for example, the Vatican Secret Archives and the Vatican...

According to ancient Jews it occurred every seven years. The fields were not cultivated and wild fruits were left for the poor. All debts were canceled and Hebrew slaves were to be set free

Temple enclosure where the ministers dress and where the vestments, sacred vessels and other items are stored that are used in worship

Sanctuary / Sanctuaries
Today this is the name given to a church frequented by people in which the Lord, or Our Lady, is venerated with particular devotion in one of their mysteries

From Latin scapulae, or shoulder, back. Long gown of cloth that hangs over the chest and back

From the Latin semen, or seed. Institute for training future priests. There is the minor seminary, where students remain until the end of middle school, and the major seminary, for those who take courses in philosophy and theology

Separated Brethren
Expression used, in the ecumenical spirit of Vatican II, to refer to members of Christian denominations separated from the Catholic Church of Rome. It is used most commonly in relation to Protestants and Orthodox

Liturgical clothing element consisting of a long strip of cloth: it is worn over the alb, so that, after having crossed it over the chest and tied it by a cord, the two fringes fall down almost to the knees

Principle by which a request or entity, which is not tasked as primarily responsible, helps or substitutes for the action of one who is primarily responsible. A public entity, for example, does not replace the intermediate groups (families, movements and associations) in education, but helps them

Prayer that the Church offers for the living or the dead, although in practice the term is used only in cases of liturgical prayers for the dead

White cotton or linen tunic, knee-length, with wide sleeves, often trimmed with lace, worn by clerics during liturgical celebrations

Canonical penalty by which a cleric is forbidden to exercise of all or any parts of his ministry

Synod of Bishops
Assembly of bishops, chosen from different regions of the world, who come together to promote a closer union between the Roman Pontiff and the bishops themselves. They are elected by the episcopal conferences of different nations, in proportion to the number of their members; some are appointed directly by the Pope. The ordinary synod meets every t...

Kiosk in the center of the altar, usually decorated artistically, which holds the Blessed Sacrament

Triple crown used by the Popes until the time of Vatican II. Paul VI gave away the one offered to him by the faithful of Milan when he was elected. Since then, Popes have stopped using it and have replaced it with the cap symbol of episcopal dignity: the mitre

The tenth part. In the Old Testament a tax was established for this at 10 percent of the fruits of the earth as a contribution to the temple, the Levites or for the poor

Unleavened Bread
Bread without yeast. In Israel it was used in sacrifices where leavened bread was not admitted. Currently, in the Roman rite, unleavened bread is used for the Eucharist; Eastern churches (including Catholic) use leavened bread, which is like normal bread

Vatican II Council
Summoned by Pope John XXIII it was celebrated from 1962 to 1965. With a stake of more than two thousand bishops from around the world, it was the most representative council of the 21 celebrated in the history of the Church. It was a pastoral council: it was not dedicated to condemning errors, but rather to look for the actualization of the doctrin...