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The actual or equivalent destruction of some material object as an act of sacrifice. When the destruction is done actually, the object is radically changed, as when an animal is killed or wine is poured out. When the destruction is not done but is equivalent, it is called mystical or symbolic, as occurs in the sacrifice of the Mass, where the separate consecration of the bread and wine symbolizes the separation of Christ's body and blood on Calvary. Christ does not actually die in the Mass, but he manifests his willingness to die symbolically by the double consecration. (Etym. Latin immolatio, sacrifice.)
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.