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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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OPTIONAL CELIBACY

A policy advocated in some Catholic circles to change the centuries-old practice of obligatory celibacy for priests in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. Although it was strongly promoted before the Second Vatican Council, the Council reaffirmed the Church's tradition on mandatory celibacy, declaring that "the more that perfect continence is considered by many people to be impossible in the world today, so much the more humbly and perservingly in union with the church ought priests demand the grace of fidelity, which is never denied to those who ask" (Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests, II, 16).

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

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