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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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ESSENCE

What a thing is. The internal principle whereby a thing is what it is and not something else. Sometimes essence is said to be the same thing as being, but being merely, affirming that a thing is, without specifying its perfections. Essence is not quite the same as nature, which adds to essence the notion of activity, i.e., nature is the essence in action. Or again essence is substance, but not all essences are substantial because accidents also have an essence. (Etym. Latin essentia, essence, being.)

See Also: QUIDDITY

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

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