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

ABSTRACTION

A mental act by which the mind attends to one aspect of a thing without attending to other aspects naturally present in the same object. On the first level of abstraction, the mind disregards individual material things and concentrates on some universal material nature such as water or color. On the second level, the mind concentrates on abstract quantity, such as circle, plane, or square. On the third level, proper to metaphysics, the mind disregards all matter and grasps its object without any necessary relation to matter, arriving at the knowledge of being, existence, substance, unity, and the like. It is by means of abstraction that human reason, apart from revelation, can arrive at the knowledge of God's existence, and his attributes of infinite wisdom, goodness, and power. Abstraction is, therefore, the underlying principle of natural theology.

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 Complexity of Reforming Religious Communities 18 hours ago
Speaking Softly to Women Religious December 16
In showdown with American sisters, the Vatican blinked December 16
Policing, torture, reasons of State, and our Christian mistake December 16
Can torture ever be justified? Round II. December 15

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25
Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch sign joint declaration, lament persecution of Christians CWN - December 1
Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February CWN - December 11
Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16
Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - 17 hours ago