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Useful Glossary of Terms

October 4th, 2009, Promulgated by Dr. K

Below is a glossary of useful terms with regard to Roman Catholicism. This is in response to a request for a glossary of such terms. This will be updated periodically as more entries are added.

Update 10/4/09: Two new entries have been added. They appear in red text.

*Ad orientem – The priest offering the liturgy facing the east, either symbolically or literally. When Mass is celebrated in this manner, the priest and people will face the same direction for at least the consecration. Often confused as the priest “turning his back on the people,” rather than what it is in actuality; the priest facing God in the tabernacle.
*Apostasy – Full rejection of the Catholic faith.
*Conclavists – Former sedevacantists who have chosen their own pope.
*Divine Liturgy – The liturgy used by many Eastern Rites.
*Eastern Rite – Churches of the Orthodox Christian tradition who are in full communion with Rome.
*Ecumenism – Work towards unity of the various Christian denominations.
*Excommunication – The removal of a person or group from good standing in the Catholic Church. The excommunicated party is unable to partake of the Sacraments or participate in a liturgical role in the Mass. One who is excommunicated may seek Reconciliation with the Church. There are two types of excommunication. Ferendae sententiae is a formal excommunication given by some Church authority. Latae sententiae is automatic excommunication, which occurs immediately following an act worthy of this penalty. A list of some instances of latae sententiae excommunication is available here.
*Extraordinary Form (or Traditional Latin Mass, or “Latin Mass“, or Tridentine Mass) – The form of the liturgy in place in the Catholic Church officially since the Council of Trent. This liturgy was promulgated in 1570 by Pope Pius V. The latest revision came in the year 1962, at the beginning of the Second Vatican Council.
*Heresy – Rejection of one or more doctrines of the Church (Examples – Advocating the ordination of women, denying the Immaculate Conception, etc.)
*Heterodox(y) – To depart from the accepted beliefs of the Catholic Church. Similar to heretical, but often indicates a lesser degree of heresy.
*Nun – A woman who has chosen to live a vowed religious life in the Catholic Church. Nuns differ from Sisters in that they frequently live in cloistered communities with little to no contact with the outside world. These women profess perpetual solemn vows.
*Ordinary Form (or Novus Ordo Mass) – This is the liturgy that one is most likely to find in a Latin rite parish today. This liturgy is the Mass of Pope Paul VI, formed shortly after the close of the Second Vatican Council, and officially promulgated in 1969.
*Orthodox(y) – One who completely follows the teachings of the Church, and respects the authority of the Pope and Magisterium.
*Religious Sister A woman who has chosen to live a vowed religious life in the Catholic Church. Sisters have more contact with the public than nuns, as they offer their time and energy to the community. Religious sisters frequently assist with religious education, care for the sick, and outreach to the poor. These women profess perpetual simple vows.
*Schismatic
– A person or group of people who leave, or are in some way separated from the Church, because of disagreements over some doctrine or discipline. (Example: Spiritus Christi)
*Sedevacantist – Schismatics who believe that the pope is a heretic, and therefore is not a true pope. (Example- Society of St. Pius V)
*Summorum Pontificum – A 2007 Motu Proprio released by Pope Benedict XVI which clarified the status of the Traditional Latin Mass, and established the terms Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Latin rite. This document relaxed restrictions on the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass, as well as the celebration of the Sacraments according to the older rubrics.
*traditional Catholic – A Latin rite Catholic who respects Catholic tradition (both before and after the Second Vatican Council), and wishes to see greater use of traditional practices never outlawed by the Church.
*Traditionalist – A Catholic who either rejects the Second Vatican Council or wishes to see a restoration of the Pre-Vatican II Church or liturgy. Often schismatic, but not always. (Examples – Society of St. Pius X <- schismatic, Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter <- not schismatic) Common abbreviations:
EF = Extraordinary Form
NO = Novus Ordo Mass
OF = Ordinay Form
S.P. = Summorum Pontificum
TLM = Traditional Latin Mass

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31 Responses to “Useful Glossary of Terms”

  1. I met a conclavists-elected Pope once. He was named, I think, Pius XIII and gloriously reigning from a mailbox in Kalispell, Montana. I kid you not.

    If I look hard enough I should find the picture of a shack in the woods with white smoke coming out of the chimney to let the world know "Habemus Papam".

  2. avatar Dr. K says:

    Sounds like a winner like the Rev. Rocco Tripodi, aka "Doctor of Divinity", who owned around 30 homes in Gates in Chili before getting arrested.

    ~Dr. K

  3. avatar Persis says:

    Awesome!!

    Thank you so much, Dr. K!

    This will help out a lot! 🙂

  4. try this
    http://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/encyclopedia/Antipope_Pius_XIII/

    Dr. K or anybody have you heard about a Father? Lissuzo or Lizzuso? He faked being a priest and had a totally bogus chapel in his mother's garage. Man o man..it takes all kinds.

  5. Or how about those Palmar DeTroya bishops, or Father Fenton from ORCM. We have to stay with the barque of Peter. "Don't rock the boat baby"

  6. Dr K – Would you mind adding schismatic to the list? Thanks.

  7. avatar Sister Emily says:

    Thank you Dr.k.This is very helpful to me.

  8. avatar Rob says:

    Nice list. Should I send Sr. Joan the definitions for heresy and excommunication?

  9. avatar ben says:

    I would like to see the EF become the OF. Does that make me a Traditional Catholic or a Traditionalist?

  10. avatar Mary Kay says:

    Ben, Traditionalist.

  11. avatar Persis says:

    Thanks for the clarification!

  12. avatar Dr. K says:

    No problemo.

    ~Dr. K

  13. avatar Gen says:

    Ben, so long as your opinion is just that, an opinion, and you do nor break from Rome (i.e. SSPX), you are just a Traditional Catholic. Many people, though, tend to stray to far once they take the first step.

  14. avatar Sister Emily says:

    Religious Sister/Nun..
    I continue to have problems understanding this. Carmelites are Nuns, even though they call one another Sister.

    Religious Sisters are Sisters but as I recall when they taught in schools they were called Nuns. When a young woman is called to a religious vocation is she studying to be a Nun? – or a Sister?

    Nice and slow now..

    While we are at it, would you explain,or next time add to our glossary Monk/Priest.

  15. avatar ben says:

    Mary Kay, Genjlcgettys,

    Perhaps I should have been more specific. I'v been wondering about these terms for a while, and I think that because they are used differently by different people they are both fuzzy.
    For example I know of 'Trads' who call themselves 'Traditional Catholics' to distinguish themselves from the 'RadTrad' types I also know of people who accept VatII but prefer the EF who call themselves 'Traditionalist' their are also people with opinions identical to mine who hate the labels and revolt against using them. I think that some sort of descriptor is needed to identify ones opinion.

    Now my own personal stance is this, I usually fulfill my Sunday obligation at the most bearable OF available because its unreasonable to drag my family 1hr and 40 minutes every Sunday to get to an EF. I fully accept Vatican II, however I think that its been deliberately misinterpreted and applied. I am of the opinion that the 1970 missale is not what the council called for (the 1964 missale was much closer)it is not the result of minor reforms to the Mass but is a new rite alltogether it is not an organic development but the invention of a committee, this is what I'm opposed to.

    I?m all for the ?reform of the reform? and am working as part of it (singing Gregorian chant at an OF Mass as called for by VatII) , but part of the ?reform of the reform? (I think) needs to include a restoration of the liturgical books, a re-traditionalization of the OF. For example fix the OF calendar (It really is a mess), a one year cycle of readings, restore pre lent, strip the novelties and extraneous options, make the prayers at the foot of the altar an option. It is my opinion (and only my opinion) that it should be possible at some point in the future to celebrate both forms using the same book. These are only my opinions. I think that the distinctions between ?Traditionalis? ?traditional? and ?reform of the reform? have become much fuzzier since the liberation of the EF.

    Sorry for the long winded post

  16. avatar ben says:

    Sister Emily,

    a monk is a male member of a religious order who lives in a monastic community. He may or may not be a Priest (ordained in the sacrament of Holy Orders) a PriestMonk. Usually a priestmonk is not refered to as Father (but brother) unless he is the head of the community and therefore a 'father' to the community.

  17. avatar Mary Kay says:

    Ben and Dr. K,

    Could either or both tell me if
    the 1970 missale is not what the council called for

    a) is different from what it sounds like, that you know better than the Church and

    b) is different than the dissidents who are of the opinion that they know "what the council called for."

    Thanks.

  18. avatar Gen says:

    "opinion" ? "knowing better than the Church"

    The 1970 Missal has many errors in translation. It is not being schismatic or out of line to ask that the USCCB accurately present the faithful with the prayers, as opposed to "dumbing down" the language of the Liturgy. The French have never abandoned the "high language" of the Mass, i.e. "et avec votre espirit." However, the English-speaking Church has felt compelled to make the Mass' language, in some cases, trite. I AM NOT SAYING THAT THE MASS IS TRITE. I am saying, however, that poor translations lend an air of immaturity to the worship of Our Lord.

  19. avatar ben says:

    Mary Kay,

    A. I don?t know better than the Church, as I said this is only my opinion, see my attempted explanation of it below.
    B. You can read what was called for their are documents. Most dissidents haven?t read them and assume that they are justified by the ?Spirit of Vatican II? which means whatever they want it to.

    Explaining that statement, that the 1970 missal is not what the council called for, is somewhat difficult to do. Basically if you look at the preconciliar Mass and then read what reforms the VatCounII called for (in the document on the liturgy 'SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM') is the 1970 Mass really the result.

    'SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM? can be found here I recommend all Catholics who are concerned about the liturgy read it.

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19631204_sacrosanctum-concilium_en.html

    (in my opinion) what we have now is not what the council called for. For example Vatican II says 'the use of Latin is to be maintained? even though it permits ?increased use of the vernacular?. Mass facing the congregation isn?t even mentioned neither is communion in the hand, or receiving standing. Communion under both kinds is mentioned as perhaps being re introduced but only on special occasions.
    Whats more the actual textual changes introduced by the 1970 missal can?t be justified by ?Sacrosanctum Concilium?

    As I mentioned their was a Missal which did make many of the suggested changes it was published in the mid 60s. A committee of ?experts? which included non Catholics and was mainly made up of ?progressives? put together the 1970 missal??Pope Paul VI (reluctantly according to some) had it put into use, but this was years after the council had ended. It?s a valid Mass but questioning its value theologically, the spirituality it reflects and whether it should be changed does not put me at odds with the Church. Many of my criticisms are shared by the current Pope.

  20. avatar Dr. K says:

    Mary Kay,

    The Pope has spoken of the need for a Reform of the Reform, so I'm in the same camp as the Holy Father. I think we need to reexamine the documents, look back and see whether the goals of the Council have been achieved, and then make modifications as necessary.

    I've heard that Rochester's former Bishop Kearney did not particularly care for the Novus Ordo Mass. His was just an opinion, as are ours.

    ~Dr. K

  21. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    this is good discussion – could be enough for another post.

  22. avatar Mary Kay says:

    Ben, first of all, congrats on being on the Tiber swim team and welcome to the Catholic Church.

    I think that some sort of descriptor is needed to identify ones opinion.
    How about plain old Catholic? The bottom line is that people are either faithful to the Magisterium or they?re not. I realize there are times when it?s helpful to have some sort of label, but sometimes I think people get more caught up with distinctions between subgroups than simply being Catholic.

    You can read what was called for their are documents. Most dissidents haven?t read them and assume that they are justified by the ?Spirit of Vatican II? ? Basically if you look at the preconciliar Mass and then read what reforms the VatCounII called for (in the document on the liturgy 'SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM') is the 1970 Mass really the result.

    'SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM? can be found here I recommend all Catholics who are concerned about the liturgy read it.

    That?s very sweet of you to suggest that I read Sacrosanctum Concilium ? three times ? and even provided the link. I?m wondering though by what logic my question based on your statements turned into an assumption that I haven?t read the document. Do you always assume that others who engage you in discussion are less read than you are? By the way, I?ve read and re-read Sacrosanctum Concilium several times, and although not an expert, do have some familiarity. Oh, and I grew up with the changes in the liturgy.

    The point of my question was that you have an opinion about which Missal better reflects Sacrosanctum Concilium and it?s not the Missal the Church has chosen to use. Do you see how that certainly sounds like you know better than the Church?

    You made a blanket generalization that the dissidents have not read the documents, a generalization which is inaccurate. Granted, far too many Catholics have not read various Vatican documents or even the Catechism, but the dissidents I know did read the documents, thought they knew better, chose to oppose what was written, hence ?dissent.? Not knowing is ignorance, knowing and choosing to oppose is dissent.

    Briefly, some of your other statements:

    Many of my criticisms are shared by the current Pope.
    So the pope thinks the OF liturgical calendar is ?a mess?? And the pope favors a one year cycle of readings? Really? Do you have a source for that? Those are the statements that occur to me as your private opinion and where it comes across as you knowing better than the Church.

    What the pope is doing, the reform of the reform, is chant, text translation, ad orientem, etc. But those are prescribed by Church documents.

    A committee of ?experts? which included non Catholics and was mainly made up of ?progressives? put together the 1970 missal
    Do you have a source for that?

    It?s a valid Mass but questioning its value theologically, the spirituality it reflects and whether it should be changed does not put me at odds with the Church.

    It seems to me that it puts you on thin ice. Think of any situation (family, work, military) where someone constantly questions the decisions made by the person in authority, and who may indeed follow procedure, but bellyaches about it all the time. While that might technically be obedience (and in some situations, that would be considered insubordination), do you think the Lord is greatly pleased with that? That?s part of the point I was making.

  23. avatar ben says:

    Mary Kay,

    It would be nice if no one ever had to say ?I am an orthodox Catholic? or similar sorts of things but unfortunately we sometimes have to make distinctions, but I understand what you are saying, I wish simply being Catholic were more simple.

    I feel like we are talking over each other and part of the problem is that we are talking about several different things. In my attempted response to your question I spoke in very generalized terms. [I went into detail about Sacrosanctum Concilium because there are others reading these posts and because I don?t know you or what you have read or where you are coming from, if I stepped on your toes please excuse my clumsiness] The OF or 1970 Mass could be
    1. the OF as it is typically celebrated in the USA?.or
    2. the OF as typically celebrated in the DOR?or
    3. the OF celebrated as traditionally as possible in Latin
    In my response I tried to explain why I don?t think that the 1970 missal reflects Sacrosanctum Concilium
    You seem to be saying that my having an opinion places me in the same category as the heretical dissidents. I accept those things that Catholics must believe and I obey the Pope. They do not. Having an opinion on, even disliking the OF does not make me a bad Catholic.

    The Holy father when he was Cardinal Ratzinger wrote an introduction for the French edition of a book ?The Reform of the Roman Liturgy? by Monsignor Klaus Gamber. He says this

    ? It is difficult to say briefly what is important in this quarrel of liturgists??J.A. Jungmann, one of the truly great liturgists of our century, defined the liturgy of his time, such as it could be understood in the light of historical research, as a ?liturgy which is the fruit of development???
    What happened after the Council was something else entirely: in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over the centuries, and replaced it-as in a manufacturing process-with a fabrication??

    Fixing this is what his reform of the reform is about. I have my own ideas about the details, not that they are important. Thinking about this stuff does not make me an enemy of the Church.

  24. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    ben,
    Very well said – I'd have to agree w/ you.
    -Ben

    ps – I usually describe myself as an orthodox catholic. I also dislike having to use the adjective, but it's almost necessary.

  25. avatar Anonymous says:

    What about the Latin Mass, or Maronite Mass. Both are valid Catholic Mass. I bet there are many out there who do not like these two Masses and still consider themselves obedient. The only difference is that one is the "ordinary" while the others are not. But to that, the ordinary form could change at any time, as it has already in our history. Were it to return to the 62 Mass, many would be griping, even those who consider themselves obedient because they love the new Mass.

  26. avatar Mary Kay says:

    Apparently there are two people named Ben, so now I'm not sure who I was responding to.

    One of the difficulties I see is your equating licit and illicit celebration of the OF:
    The OF or 1970 Mass could be
    1. the OF as it is typically celebrated in the USA?.or
    2. the OF as typically celebrated in the DOR?or
    3. the OF celebrated as traditionally as possible in Latin

    I would agree that an illicit celebration of the 1969 Missal is not what was intended. Because I thought that went without saying, it sounded like you were saying that a licit Mass according to 1969 Missal wasn't what was intended – actually you say that:
    I don?t think that the 1970 missal reflects Sacrosanctum Concilium – stating "the 1970 Missal" implies licit, not illicit, use and that is what I responded to.

    It seems the basic problem with our exchange that of precision in words.

    Many people use that quote of then Cardinal Ratzinger, but I've seen too many quotes taken out of context, so I have no comment on that until I can read the full context.

  27. avatar Mary Kay says:

    Anon 11:16, the point of your post is not clear to me.

    We were talking about the two forms of the Latin rite, so I have no idea why you pulled in the Maronite liturgy. No one is saying any of the mentioned Masses are invalid.

    Your bringing in "obedient" may have some relation to a previous comment, but what point you're trying to make is unclear.

    Your talk of changing the ordinary form of Mass is rhetorical. I could guess that you might favor a return to the 1962 Missal, but I have no way of know if that's what you're trying to say. Whatever point you're trying to make is just not very clear.

  28. avatar Mary Kay says:

    that should read "return of 1962 Missal as OF" – sorry, typed it too fast.

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