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

DEATH

The cessation of the bodily functions of a human being through the departure of the soul. It is part of revelation that, in the present order of divine providence, death is a punishment for sin. According to the teaching of the Church, death is a consequence of Adam's sin, as declared by St. Paul: "Sin entered the world through one man, and through sin death" (Romans 5:12). In the case of those justified by grace, death loses in penal character and becomes a mere consequence of sin. All human beings, therefore, are subject to death, although in the case of Christ and his Mother, because of their freedom from sin, death was neither a punishment for sin nor a consequence of sin. Yet, as they were truly human, death was natural for them.

Death is also the end of human probation or testing of one's loyalty to God. It ends all possibility of merit or demerit.

Properly speaking, only the body dies when separated from its principle of life, which is the soul. However, the Bible speaks of a second death (Revelation 20:6), referring to the souls in hell, who are separated from their principle of supernatural life, which is God.

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 3 hours ago
Silly season: a Christmas approaches, a scholar questions whether Jesus ever existed 3 hours ago
The intrinsic immorality of torture: still not convinced? 8 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