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

VAIN OBSERVANCE

A form of superstition that tries to achieve a certain effect by the use of unsuitable means. Implicit in vain observance is the belief that there are hidden preternatural forces at work in the world which dispense with the need of using ordinary, natural, or supernatural means for obtaining a desired effect. Vain observance also implies the expectation of an infallible result whenever certain words are said or actions performed. There is only a shade of difference between vain observance and divination. In both cases reliance on the evil spirit in involved. But vain observance, unlike divination, is not concerned with obtaining knowledge of the future or of the occult. Its focus is on obtaining some external results, such as making a successful business deal or recovering one's health.

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