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PAPACY: The supreme jurisdiction and
ministry of the pope as shepherd of the whole Church. As successor of St. Peter,
and therefore Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Christ, the pope is the perpetual and
visible principle of unity in faith and communion in the Church (882). See
PARABLES: A characteristic feature of the
teaching of Jesus. Parables are simple images or comparisons which confront the
hearer or reader with a radical choice about his invitation to enter the Kingdom
of God (546).
PARACLETE: A name for the Holy Spirit. The
term was used by Jesus in the New Testament (cf. Jn 14:16) to indicate
the promised gift of the Spirit as another consoler and advocate, who would
continue his own mission among the disciples (692).
PARADISE: The symbolic description of the
condition of our first parents before the Fall, who lived in a state of
friendship with God in the happiness of original justice and holiness (374,
384). Paradise also signifies heaven, the state of those who live with Christ
forever in the friendship and presence of God (1023, 1721).
PARISH: A stable community of the faithful
within a particular church or diocese, whose pastoral care is confided by the
bishop to a priest as pastor (2179).
PAROUSIA: The glorious return and
appearance of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as judge of the living and the
dead, at the end of time; the second coming of Christ, when history and all
creation will achieve their fulfillment (1001; cf. 668, 673).
PARTICULAR CHURCH: See Diocese.
PASCH/PASCHAL LAMB: Jesus' saving death
and its memorial in the Eucharist, associated with the Jewish feast of Passover
(or Pasch) commemorating the deliverance of the Jewish people from death by the
blood of the lamb sprinkled on the doorposts in Egypt, which the angel of death
saw and "passed over." Hence Jesus is acknowledged in the New Testament as the
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world; he is the Paschal Lamb, the
symbol of Israel's redemption at the first Passover. The Eucharist celebrates
the new Passover, in which Jesus "passes over" to his Father by his death and
resurrection, thus anticipating the final Passover of the Church in the glory of
the Kingdom (571, 608, 671, 1334-1340).
PASCHAL MYSTERY/SACRIFICE: Christ's work
of redemption accomplished principally by his Passion, death, Resurrection, and
glorious Ascension, whereby "dying he destroyed our death, rising he restored
our life" (1067; cf. 654). The Paschal Mystery is celebrated and made present in
the liturgy of the Church, and its saving effects are communicated through the
sacraments (1076), especially the Eucharist, which renews the paschal sacrifice
of Christ as the sacrifice offered by the Church (571, 1362-1372).
PASSION: The suffering and death of Jesus
(572, 602-616). Passion or Palm Sunday begins Holy Week, during which the annual
liturgical celebration of the Paschal Mystery of Christ takes place (560).
PASSIONS, MORAL: The emotions or
dispositions which incline us to good or evil actions, such as love and hate,
hope and fear, joy and sadness, and anger (1763).
PASSOVER: See Pasch/Paschal Lamb.
PASTOR/PASTORAL OFFICE: The ministry of
shepherding the faithful in the name of Christ. The Pope and bishops receive the
pastoral office which they are to exercise with Christ the Good Shepherd as
their model; they share their pastoral ministry with priests, to whom they give
responsibility over a portion of the flock as pastors of parishes (886, 1560,
PATRIARCH: A title given to the venerable
ancestors or "fathers" of the Semitic peoples, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who
received God's promise of election (61, 205). In the Church hierarchy, and
especially among the Churches of the East, a patriarch is a senior bishop with
jurisdiction over a larger unit of particular churches (patriarchate) of a
certain rite or region or liturgical tradition (887).
PATRISTIC: Pertaining to the writings of
the holy Fathers of the Church, who are privileged witnesses of the apostolic
tradition (78, 688). See Fathers of the Church.
PEACE: One of the fruits of the Holy
Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 (736). Peace is a goal of Christian
living, as indicated by Jesus who said "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they
shall be called children of God" (1716). The Fifth Commandment requires us to
preserve and work for peace, which was defined by St. Augustine as "the
tranquility of order," and which is the work of justice and the effect of
PENANCE: Interior penance: a
conversion of heart toward God and away from sin, which implies the intention to
change one's life because of hope in divine mercy (1431). External acts
of penance include fasting, prayer, and almsgiving (1434). The observance of
certain penitential practices is obliged by the fourth precept of the Church
PENANCE, SACRAMENT OF: The liturgical
celebration of God's forgiveness of the sins of the penitent, who is thus
reconciled with God and with the Church. The acts of the penitent--contrition,
the confession of sins, and satisfaction or reparation--together with the prayer
of absolution by the priest, constitute the essential elements of the Sacrament
of Penance (980, 1422, 1440, 1448).
PENITENT/PENITENTIAL: The sinner who
repents of sin and seeks forgiveness (1451). In the early Church, public sinners
belonged to an "order of penitents," who did public penance for their sins,
often for years (1447). Penitential acts or practices refer to those which
dispose one for or flows from interior penance or conversion; such acts lead to
and follow upon the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance (1434). See
Satisfaction (for sin).
PENTATEUCH: The first five books of the
Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy (702; cf.
PENTECOST: The "fiftieth" day at the end
of the seven weeks following Passover (Easter in the Christian dispensation). At
the first Pentecost after the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, the Holy
Spirit was manifested, given and communicated as a divine Person to the Church,
fulfilling the paschal mystery of Christ according to his promise (726, 731; cf.
1287). Annually the Church celebrates the memory of the Pentecost event as the
beginning of the new "age of the Church," when Christ lives and acts in and with
his Church (1076).
PEOPLE OF GOD: A synonym for the Church,
taken from the Old Testament people whom God chose, Israel. Christ instituted
the new and eternal covenant by which a new priestly, prophetic, and royal
People of God, the Church, participates in these offices of Christ and in the
mission and service which flow from them (761, 783).
PERJURY: Giving one's word under oath
falsely, or making a promise under oath without intending to keep it. Perjury
violates the second and eighth commandments (2152, 2476).
PERSON, DIVINE: Hypostasis in
Greek; the term used to describe the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in their real
relation to and distinction from one another within the unity of the Blessed
Trinity. Each of the three divine Persons is God (252). See Trinity.
PERSON, HUMAN: The human individual, made
in the image of God; not some thing but some one, a unity of spirit and matter,
soul and body, capable of knowledge, self-possession, and freedom, who can enter
into communion with other persons--and with God (357, 362; cf. 1700). The human
person needs to live in society, which is a group of persons bound together
organically by a principle of unity that goes beyond each one of them (1879).
PETER (SAINT): Simon, whom Jesus called
Peter or "Rock," upon whom he would build his Church (Mt 16:16-19). He
was the first to confess Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the living God
(442). He was the first among the Apostles, and their head; the pope is his
successor as Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the universal
Church (552 ff.; 765, 862, 881).
PIETY: One of the seven gifts of the Holy
Spirit which leads one to devotion to God (1831). Filial piety connotes an
attitude of reverence and respect by children toward their parents (2215). Piety
also refers to the religious sense of a people, and its expression in popular
POLYGAMY: The practice of having more than
one wife at the same time, which is contrary to the unity of marriage between
one man and one woman, and which offends against the dignity of woman (1645,
POPE: The successor of St. Peter as Bishop
of Rome and Supreme Pontiff of the universal Catholic Church. The pope exercises
a primacy of authority as Vicar of Christ and shepherd of the whole
Church; he receives the divine assistance promised by Christ to the Church when
he defines infallibly a doctrine of faith or morals (880-882). See
POVERTY: The condition of want experienced
by those who are poor, whom Christ called "blessed," and for whom he had a
special love (544). In imitation of Christ, the Church expresses her concern for
the poor by working for justice and solidarity (2443). Poverty is one of the
three evangelical counsels whose public profession in the Church is a
constitutive element of consecrated life (915). Poverty of spirit signifies
detachment from worldly things and voluntary humility (2544-2546).
PRAISE: The form of prayer which focuses
on giving recognition to God for his own sake, giving glory to Him for who he is
(2639). In the liturgy of the Eucharist, the whole Church joins with Christ in
giving praise and thanksgiving to the Father (1358). See Doxology.
PRAYER: The elevation of the mind and
heart to God in praise of his glory; a petition made to God for some desired
good, or in thanksgiving for a good received, or in intercession for others
before God. Through prayer the Christian experiences a communion with God
through Christ in the Church (2559-2565).
PRECEPTS OF THE CHURCH: Positive laws
(sometimes called commandments) made by Church authorities to guarantee for the
faithful the indispensable minimum in prayer and moral effort, for the sake of
their growth in love of God and neighbor (2041).
PRESBYTER: An "elder" or priest, a member
of the order of priesthood; the presbyterate is one of the three degrees of the
Sacrament of Holy Orders (1536, 1554). Presbyters or priests are co-workers with
their bishops and form a unique sacerdotal college or "presbyterium" dedicated
to assist their bishops in priestly service to the People of God (1567). Through
the ministry of priests, the unique sacrifice of Christ on the cross is made
present in the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Church (1554, 1562). See
PRESENTATION: The presentation and
dedication of Jesus to God by Mary and Joseph in the Temple (Lk
2:22-39), in accord with Mosaic Law concerning the first-born. At the
Presentation, Simeon and Anna sum up the expectation of Israel for the
long-awaited Messiah, the light of the nations and the glory of Israel, but also
as a sign of contradiction (529). The presentation of the gifts,
especially of bread and wine, is a preparatory rite for the liturgy of the
Eucharist at Mass (1346).
PRESUMPTION: An act or attitude opposed to
the theological virtue of hope. Presumption can take the form of trust in self
without recognizing that salvation comes from God, or of an over-confidence in
divine mercy (2092).
PRIDE: One of the seven capital sins.
Pride is undue self-esteem or self-love, which seeks attention and honor and
sets oneself in competition with God (1866).
PRIESTHOOD: (1) Of the faithful:
The priestly people of God. Christ has made of his Church a "kingdom of
priests," and gives the faithful a share in his priesthood through the
Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation (784, 1119, 1546). (2) Ministerial:
The ministerial priesthood received in the Sacrament of Holy Orders differs in
essence from this common priesthood of all the faithful. It has as its purpose
to serve the priesthood of all the faithful by building up and guiding the
Church in the name of Christ, who is Head of the Body (1547). See
Priesthood of Christ; Presbyter.
PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST: The unique high
priest, according to the order of Melchizedek. Christ fulfilled everything that
the priesthood of the Old Covenant prefigured. (cf. Heb 5:10, 6:20). He
offered himself once and for all (Heb 10:14), in a perfect sacrifice
upon the cross. His priesthood is made present in a special way in the Church
through the ministerial priesthood, conferred through the Sacrament of Holy
Orders (1539, 1544, 1547, 1554).
PRIMACY: See Pope.
PRIVATE REVELATIONS: Revelations made in
the course of history which do not add to or form part of the deposit of faith,
but rather may help people live out their faith more fully (67). Some of these
private revelations have been recognized by the authority of the Church, which
cannot accept so-called "revelations of faith" that claim to surpass or correct
the Revelation of Christ confided to his Church.
PROFESSION OF FAITH: The synthesis (creed,
"symbol of faith") of the faith which summarizes the faith professed by
Christians (187). See Creed.
PROPHET: One sent by God to form the
people of the Old Covenant in the hope of salvation. The prophets are often
authors of books of the Old Testament (702). The prophetic books constitute a
major section of the Old Testament of the Bible (64, 120, 522, 2581). John the
Baptist concludes the work of the prophets of the Old Covenant (721).
PROTESTANT: A person who believes in
Christ and has been baptized, but who does not profess the Catholic faith in its
entirety, but rather is a member of a Protestant church or ecclesial community
whose roots are in the Reformation, begun in the sixteenth century (cf. 838).
PROTO-EVANGELIUM: The proto- or "first"
Gospel: the passage in Genesis (3:15) that first mysteriously announces the
promise of the Messiah and Redeemer (410).
PROVIDENCE: The dispositions by which God
guides his creation toward its perfection yet to be attained; the protection and
governance of God over all creation (302).
PRUDENCE: The virtue which disposes a
person to discern the good and choose the correct means to accomplish it. One of
the cardinal moral virtues that dispose the Christian to live according to the
law of Christ, prudence provides the proximate guidance for the judgment of
PSALM: A prayer in the Book of Psalms of
the Old Testament, assembled over several centuries; a collection of prayers in
the form of hymns or poetry. The psalms have been used since Jesus' time as the
public prayer of the Church (2585).
PSALTER: The book of psalms arranged for
liturgical use (2587).
PUNISHMENT, ETERNAL: The penalty for
unrepented mortal sin, separating the sinner from communion with God for all
eternity; the condemnation of the unrepentant sinner to hell (1035).
PUNISHMENT, TEMPORAL: Purification of the
unhealthy attachment to creatures, which is a consequence of sin that perdures
even after death. We must be purified either during our earthly life through
prayer and a conversion which comes from fervent charity, or after death in
PURGATORY: A state of final purification
after death and before entrance into heaven for those who died in God's
friendship, but were only imperfectly purified; a final cleansing of human
imperfection before one is able to enter the joy of heaven (1031; cf. 1472).
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