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A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

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BULL, PAPAL

The most solemn and weighty form of papal letter. The name is derived from the Latin bulla, the dislike leaden seal attached to such a document. It is used by the Pope in appointing a bishop. Formerly all papal letters of major importance, including canonization decrees, were called bulls, but the current Acta Apostolicae Sedis gives some of these papal letters various names.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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