Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $36,934 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

ANOINTING

Literally the pouring of oil on someone or some thing in a religious ceremony. Its biblical purpose was to make sacred the object anointed. Thus kings were anointed (I Samuel 10:1), priests (Exodus 28:41), and prophets (I Kings 19:16). The reference to anointing in the New Testament as a sacred rite pertains to the sacrament of anointing the sick, but the verb here used (James 5:14), aleipho, is unique. It therefore has a different meaning from "to make sacred," as elsewhere in the Bible. In the Catholic Church, holy oils are used in the administration of the three sacraments, which impart a permanent character (baptism, confirmation, and holy orders) and with a different purpose, in the anointing of the sick. Oil is used in the blessing of altars, bells, and sacred vessels. There are also a number of blessed oils, e.g., in honor of St. Serapion (fourth century), that are used as sacramentals. (Etym. Latin inunguere; in-, upon + unguere, to smear, anoint.)

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 Church Moves On, Slowly 3 hours ago
Is Cardinal Kasper losing his grip? 7 hours ago
The Pope is not the problem October 23
Do not confuse sacramental discipline and Catholic doctrine. October 23
Ignatius Press into the Breach: Trumping the Kasper Proposal October 22

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