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Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

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IMMATERIAL

Not having matter or the properties of matter. Negatively it is the noncorporeal; positively the spiritual. What is immaterial has no extension in space, no size, shape, parts, or quantity, no mass or weight. It is nonmeasurable reality. Three kinds of immateriality are known to Christian thought: Some beings are partially without matter but essentially dependent on matter for their existence and operation, e.g., the power of sensation. Others are essentially spiritual and independent of matter for their existence but in this life depend on matter for their operation, e.g., the human soul in its activity of knowing and loving. Still others are totally immaterial because they are independent of matter for their existence and activity. Thus the angels, who are pure spirits, whose immateriality is a created gift, and God, who is immaterial by his essence.

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

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