Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $36,774 to go. Please donate!
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

GOLDEN MEAN

The virtue of choosing the midpoint between excess and defect in action. This midpoint is determined by reason guided by the intellectual virtue of prudence. Based on Aristotle, the golden mean assumes that too much or too little of anything, whether food, sleep, or exercise, hurts the body and the right balance promotes bodily health, so excess or defect in the habits of the soul harms the moral health of the soul because "virtue stands in the middle." Thus courage is a mean between cowardice and rashness, and generosity between stinginess and prodigality.

To be noted, however, is that the golden mean refers to the virtue objectively, as midway between opposite extremes. Subjectively a person should practice a given virtue not moderately but fully. A judge must go all out for justice, though justice itself is a mean between lenience and severity; the witness must be exactly truthful, but truthfulness itself is a mean between exaggeration and understatement.

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 Church Moves On, Slowly 15 hours ago
Is Cardinal Kasper losing his grip? 19 hours ago
The Pope is not the problem October 23
Do not confuse sacramental discipline and Catholic doctrine. October 23
Ignatius Press into the Breach: Trumping the Kasper Proposal October 22

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6