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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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TEMPORAL

Anything that lasts only for a time, whose existence or activity will cease. In this sense, temporal is the opposite of eternal, which lasts forever. Also applied to what is of this world, or secular, as opposed to the heavenly. Or again it may refer to the material, in contrast with the spiritual. Or finally, the temporal is commonly applied to the lay or civil, as temporal power or authority; and then the opposite is ecclesiastical. In general, the temporal is everything belonging to the limited by, or characterized by time and change. (Etym. Latin tempus, time.)

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

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