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

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PRESCRIPTION

The obtaining of a title to something through lapse of time. One claimant has been in continued peaceful possession in good faith for a long period of time. Meanwhile the other claimant has not exercised his or her right or questioned the other's possession.

In natural law, mere lapse of time does not extinguish one's right, so that prescription is not a natural title. but there is a basis in natural law for the civil law to authorize prescription, as an exercise of eminent domain, i.e., superior dominion exerted by a sovereign state over all property within its boundaries.

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

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