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.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Sons of Dominic Prepare for Family Synod 15 hours ago
Dominican theologians assess proposals for divorced and remarried 16 hours ago
The ‘Pope Francis effect’—changing the way the world sees the papacy 17 hours ago
Renewal with God Behind Us: Man Determines All July 28
Introducing the Church Fathers July 27

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
New management, new changes coming for reformed Vatican bank CWN - July 8
Sweeping reforms to Vatican's media, financial operations CWN - July 9
‘Even Genghis Khan didn’t do this’: Mosul emptied of Christians CWN - July 21