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Liturgical washing with water. In the Latin Rite baptism is generally conferred by ablution, i.e., the pouring of water over the person's head. Also the ritual washing of the thumbs and index fingers of the celebrant at Mass; the cleansing of the chalice used during Mass; and the washing of feet in the Holy Thursday ceremony. In the Greek Church ablution refers to the public washing of newly baptized persons. (Etym. Latin ablutio, a washing away or cleansing; a spiritual cleaning.)
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.