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

ANIMISM

A form of religious belief and practice that attributes the human qualities of mind, will, and emotions to material objects or to nonhuman living creatures. These objects, considered as animated and endowed with a mana, can in certain circumstances enter into direct relation with human beings in their personal and social activities. Since the power attributed to the objects is extraordinary and even superhuman, they are invoked to obtain favors and are propitiated to prevent evils. Ritual ceremonies, appeasing or placating these hidden forces, are an essential part of animism. (Etym. Latin anima, soul, principle of life, life.)

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

Another side of Francis: US-Cuba role shows Pope's diplomatic muscle 8 hours ago
Silly season: a Christmas approaches, a scholar questions whether Jesus ever existed 8 hours ago
The intrinsic immorality of torture: still not convinced? 13 hours ago
The Complexity of Reforming Religious Communities December 17
Speaking Softly to Women Religious December 16

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 - December 17