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Prefatory note to the Glossary

Even before the promulgation of the

Catechism of the Catholic Church,


Glossary hadbeenproposed to provide assistance to thosewhowoulduse the



This Glossary has been prepared by Archbishop William J.

Levada, who served as a member of the Editorial Committee of the Special

Commission of theHoly See for the

Catechism of the Catholic Church.

It has been

reviewedby theNCCB

ad hoc

Committee toOversee theUse of theCatechism,

as well as by the chairman and staff of the NCCB Committee on Doctrine.

This Glossary has been composed with reference to the language of the


itself: the numbers in parentheses refer to the number(s) in the



where the term or concept is explained. The criterion for the selection of

words included in this Glossary is twofold: (1) unfamiliar or technical terms

are defined, in order to assist readers who are not acquainted with them

through formal religious or theological studies; and (2) multiple meanings or

uses of familiar terms are presented, thus alerting readers to the various uses

of the term in Church doctrine. Common words and most proper names are

not listed in this Glossary, nor are religious terms which are not directly or

indirectly present in the


It is important to remember that this Glossary, like the


’s Index-

es, is an additional instrument by which readers may find assistance in their

use of the


itself. While the Glossary is faithful to the language of the


it does not participate in the approval of the text of the


given in the Apostolic Constitution

Fidei depositum

of Pope John Paul II.




termination of pregnancy by

killing the unborn child. Such

direct abortion, willed either as an

end or a means, is gravely

contrary to the moral law. The

Church attaches the canonical

penalty of excommunication to

this crime against human life



The man of faith

and patriarch of Israel with whom

God made a covenant which

promised him land in which to

live and many descendants, a

great people for whom the Lord

would be their God. Through

Abraham God formed the people

to whom he would later give the

law by revelation to Moses. With

the advent of Christ, the people

of Israel would serve as the root

to which the Gentiles would be

grafted by their coming to believe

(59, 72, 145, 705, 762, 2570).


An essential

element of the Sacrament of

Penance in which the priest, by

the power entrusted to the Church

by Christ, pardons the sin(s) of the

penitent (1424, 1442, 1449, 1453,