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

PONTIFF

High priest, and therefore any bishop, as successor of the Apostles. Now reserved as the title of the Pope. In pre-Christian times, the pontifices were the chief priests of Rome and were given this name either because they were "bridge builders" (pontem facere), between the gods and men, or because they offered sacrifice (puntis). (Etym. Latin pontifex, high priest; literally, bridgemaker; popular original meaning: waymaker, pathfinder.)

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

Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Another Month Closer to God July 31
Links to the past July 30
Fetal tissues and vaccinations; are you part of the problem? July 30
The mystery of conversion, always deeply rooted in Divine mercy July 30
Vatican delegations ought to avoid the rhetoric of the world. July 30

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days