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IMPERIUM

The act of command. More properly, the right of an authority in any society to make laws binding in conscience on the members of that society. It begins as an act of reason in a ruler who seeks the common good, then decides on what means are necessary to attain it, and finally orders that these means be carried into effect. (Etym. Latin imperium, chief, imperial power; empire, kingdom; command.)

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

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