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

HYLOMORPHISM

The theory that all physical beings are composed of two principles of being: the prime matter, which is an undefined primitive, and a substantial form, which is a definite mode of existence. The two principles are related to each other as potency and act. This theory, which St. Thomas adopted from Aristotle, is based on two features that characterize all material things: the changeableness and the different individuals of a species. Both features can be explained only on the supposition that material things in their deepest nature are composed of two ultimate elements: prime matter, which remains constant in any change and gives individuality to each being; and substantial form, which accounts for the actual existence of different things, their distinctive properties, and the profound alteration that takes place when one substance changes into another. (Etym. Greek hyl_, matter + morphe, contour, form.)

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

Recent Catholic Commentary

Government Crackdowns on God and Nature 3 hours ago
A legislative mockery: Massachusetts lawmakers rush to replace unconstitutional 'buffer zone' bill 4 hours ago
Gay and Transgendered: What Comes Next? 5 hours ago
Obama's executive order and the danger of reliance on federal contracts 5 hours ago
May God Bless our Readers! July 18

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Vatican issues working document for Synod of Bishops on the family CWN - June 26
New management, new changes coming for reformed Vatican bank CWN - July 8
Sweeping reforms to Vatican's media, financial operations CWN - July 9
‘Even Genghis Khan didn’t do this’: Mosul emptied of Christians CWN - July 21