Down to the Wire: Just $6,062 left to match to win our Challenge Grant. Your gift will still be doubled!
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

SYMBOLISM

Investing outward things or actions with an inner meaning. Its effectiveness depends on the depth of personal commitment to the interior truth symbolized and the ability of a symbol to convey its inner meaning. Early Christian symbolism arose partially as a result of persection. It was necessary to veil beliefs under emblems and figures. Another contributing factor was the instinctive religious desire to envelop the personal and collective life of the people in expressions and reminders of their faith. In time, every detail of Church art and architecture, of the liturgy and private devotion, acquired definable religious meaning. Symbolism is the universal language of every living religion. It is especially rich in Catholic Christianity because of the Church's encouragement, but mainly because the mysteries of the faith are too profound ever to fully understand. Symbols enable the mind to dwell on these mysteries with prayerful reflection and ever greater comprehension.

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

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The gift of orthodoxy: A mercy and a challenge to mercy November 26
Getting Marriage Right November 25
O Earthly Lord, vouchsafe to us high speed Internet. November 25
No 'Francis effect' in Strasbourg November 25
What Pope Francis told European Parliament, and what Pope John Paul II said November 25

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25