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

CIRCUMSCRIPTION

The manner in which a body is naturally present in space, being contained and measured by other material bodies. The term is especially used to distinguish the manner of Christ's presence in heaven, circumscriptively, and his manner of presence in the Eucharist, sacramentally. In heaven Christ's body occupies space and is bounded by whatever surrounding materials are present. But in the Eucharist the body of Christ is not bounded by any other material things. Yet it is present with all that makes it a real body, including the attribute of gravity.

Hence it may be said that Christ's body "lies on the altar" or "is touched" or "is raised aloft" or "carried in procession" or even that it is "broken" or "his blood is poured out." But these expressions apply to the accidents only insofar as they are perceptible signs of the reality, namely Christ himself, which they signify.

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

Denial of Service Attack: Success! 7 hours ago
Federal debt as a social-justice concern 9 hours ago
Another side of Francis: US-Cuba role shows Pope's diplomatic muscle December 18
Silly season: a Christmas approaches, a scholar questions whether Jesus ever existed December 18
The intrinsic immorality of torture: still not convinced? December 18

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