Down to the Wire: Just $4,912 left to match to win our Challenge Grant. Your gift will still be doubled!
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.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The gift of orthodoxy: A mercy and a challenge to mercy November 26
Getting Marriage Right November 25
O Earthly Lord, vouchsafe to us high speed Internet. November 25
No 'Francis effect' in Strasbourg November 25
What Pope Francis told European Parliament, and what Pope John Paul II said November 25

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25