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Glossary

867

The apostolic office is permanent

in the Church, in order to ensure

that the divine mission entrusted

to the Apostles by Jesus will

continue to the end of time. The

bishops receive their office as

successors of the Apostles through

the Sacrament of Holy Orders

(860).

See

Apostolic Succession.

APOSTLES’ CREED:

A statement

of Christian faith developed from

the baptismal creed or “symbol”

of the ancient Church of Rome,

the see of St. Peter, first of the

Apostles. The Apostles’ Creed

is considered to be a faithful

summary of the faith of the

Apostles (194).

APOSTOLATE:

The activity of

the Christian which fulfills the

apostolic nature of the whole

Church by working to extend the

reign of Christ to the entire world

(863).

APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION:

The

handing on of apostolic preaching

and authority from the Apostles

to their successors the bishops

through the laying on of hands, as

a permanent office in the Church

(77, 861).

APPARITION:

An appearance

to people on earth of a heavenly

being—Christ, Mary, an angel, or

a saint. The apparitions of Jesus

in his risen body to his disciples

occurred between Easter and his

Ascension into heaven (641, 659).

ASCENSION:

The entry of Jesus’

humanity into divine glory in

God’s heavenly domain, forty

days after his Resurrection (659,

665).

ASCESIS:

The practice of

penance, mortification, and self-

denial to promote greater self-

mastery and to foster the way of

perfection by embracing the way

of the cross (2015).

ASSUMPTION:

The dogma

which recognizes the Blessed

Virgin Mary’s singular

participation in her Son’s

Resurrection by which she was

taken up body and soul into

heavenly glory, when the course

of her earthly life was finished

(966).

ATHEISM:

The denial in theory

and/or practice that God exists.

Atheism is a sin against the virtue

of religion required by the first

commandment of the law (2124-

2125).

-B-

BAPTISM:

The first of the seven

sacraments, and the “door”

which gives access to the other

sacraments. Baptism is the first

and chief sacrament of forgiveness

of sins because it unites us with

Christ, who died for our sins and

rose for our justification. Baptism,

Confirmation, and Eucharist

constitute the “sacraments of

initiation” by which a believer

receives the remission of original

and personal sin, begins a new life

in Christ and the Holy Spirit, and

is incorporated into the Church,

the Body of Christ. The rite of

Baptism consists in immersing

the candidate in water, or

pouring water on the head, while

pronouncing the invocation of the

Most Holy Trinity: the Father, the

Son, and the Holy Spirit (977, 1213

ff.; 1275, 1278).

BEATIFIC VISION:

The

contemplation of God in heavenly

glory, a gift of God which is

a constitutive element of the

happiness (or beatitude) of heaven

(1028, 1720).