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A radical

reorientation of the whole life

away from sin and evil, and

toward God. This change of

heart or conversion is a central

element of Christ’s preaching,

of the Church’s ministry of

evangelization, and of the

Sacrament of Penance and

Reconciliation (1427, 1431, 1423;

cf. 821).


A gathering of all the bishops

of the world, in the exercise of

their collegial authority over the

universal Church. An ecumenical

council is usually called by the

successor of St. Peter, the Pope, or

at least confirmed or accepted by

him (884).




Counsels; Gifts of the Holy Spirit.


A solemn

agreement between human

beings or between God and a

human being involving mutual

commitments or guarantees. The

Bible refers to God’s covenants

with Noah, Abraham, and Moses

as leader of the chosen people,

Israel. In the Old Testament or

Covenant, God revealed his law

through Moses and prepared his

people for salvation through the

prophets. In the New Testament

or Covenant, Christ established

a new and eternal covenant

through his own sacrificial death

and Resurrection. The Christian

economy is the new and definitive

Covenant which will never

pass away, and no new public

revelation is to be expected before

the glorious manifestation of our

Lord Jesus Christ (56, 62, 66).


Old Testament; New Testament.


A disordered

inclination or desire for pleasure

or possessions. One of the capital

sins, it is proscribed by the ninth

and tenth commandments (2514,



The act by which the

eternal God gave a beginning to

all that exists outside of himself.

Creation also refers to the created

universe or totality of what exists,

as often expressed by the formula

“the heavens and the earth” (290).


A brief, normative

summary statement or profession

of Christian faith, e.g., the

Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene

Creed. The word “Creed” comes

from the Latin


meaning “I

believe,” with which the Creed

begins. Creeds are also called

Symbols of Faith (187).


The instrument of

execution on which Christ died; a

symbol of the unique sacrifice of

Christ as sole mediator between

God and man. Jesus invited

his disciples to take up their

cross and follow him, in order

to associate with his redeeming

sacrifice those who were to be

its first beneficiaries. Catholics

begin their prayers and actions

with the

Sign of the Cross

“in the

name of the Father, and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” A

devotional cross with the figure of

Jesus suspended on it is called a

“crucifix” (616, 618, 2166).



A third

degree of the hierarchy of the

Sacrament of Holy Orders, after

bishop and priest. The deacon is

ordained not to priesthood but

for ministry and service. Deacons

are ordained to assist the bishop

and priests in the celebration

of the divine mysteries,