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

DEMOCRACY

As defined in Catholic social philosophy, that form of civil government which is not only for the people and of the people but also by the people. Every political society, by the natural law, should be for the people, since its purpose is the common good. It should also be of the people, since it arises from their consent and with their authorization. but it need not be, unless the citizens so desire, also by the people. In a democracy, the governing heads are elected with equal right by all the people, and there exists the widest individual liberty consistent with the common good. Democracy is either limited or unlimited depending on whether all the citizens or only a part of them have equal right to public offices. Democracy may also be direct or indirect. In a direct democracy the people as a whole possess full power and exercise directly all governing functions, which is possible only in a small social community. Indirect democracy, or representative government, is that in which the people are governed through the legitimate representatives whom they elected. (Etym. Greek d_mos, people + kratia, to rule: d_mokratia, popular government, rule by the people.)

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
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

Church Fathers: The Other Greek Apologists April 19
Mysteries, again and again! April 17
Tips for getting comfortable with evangelization April 17
The Shroud of Turin on Display (and an odd canonical case against it) April 16
The Vatican says the LCWR is acting Catholic. And that's news. April 16

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope challenges world leaders' silence on persecution of Christians CWN - April 6
Pope outlines plans for the extraordinary jubilee of mercy CWN - April 13
Vatican completes doctrinal assessment of Leadership Conference of Women Religious CWN - April 16