Catholic Dictionary

Term

HOLINESS, ESSENTIAL

Definition

Also called substantial holiness, is the possession of sanctifying grace. It is present in a person from the moment of baptism and represents the person's likeness to God. As such it is independent of the person's moral conduct. It is intrinsic goodness of goodness of being and is the basic reason why the New Testament speaks of the faithful as "saints." They are holy insofar as they are pleasing to God.