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.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Challenging Times? 1 hours ago
Reality 101: The fat between our ears 2 hours ago
Liberal visions of Catholicism: Kickstarter and the world's largest NGO September 1
The Blessed Book of Beasts August 30
Weekend reading August 29

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
‘A real via crucis’: Pope Francis, patriarch plead on behalf of Iraq’s Christians CWN - August 8
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians in flight as Islamic State advances CWN - August 8