Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $37,946 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

ABDICATION

The act of resigning or giving up a legitimately held ecclesiastical office, dignity, or benefice. In principle every ecclesiastical office or rank may be resigned by the one who holds it. To be valid, however, the abdication must be totally voluntary and free from simony. Papal abdication can be made into the hands of the College of Cardinals, since they have the right to elect a successor. Six popes actually abdicated: Marcellus, Liberius, Benedict IX, Gregory VI, St. Celestine V, and Gregory XII. Pope Pius VII signed a conditional abdication in 1804 before he set out for France to crown Napoleon. The condition was that he would automatically resign the papacy if he were made a prisoner in France.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The Pope is not the problem 1 hours ago
Do not confuse sacramental discipline and Catholic doctrine. 3 hours ago
Ignatius Press into the Breach: Trumping the Kasper Proposal October 22
Has the Vatican finally discovered how to avoid inaccurate English translations? October 22
The Synod: It's a Wrap! October 21

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6