Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.
The influence of a cause in the production or modification of a being. An efficient cause exercises efficacy on the effect produced; the final cause gives purpose or attraction; an exemplary cause gives guidance; and both material and formal causes communicate their being to the effect, the material supplying that from which a thing is produced and the formal giving it the specific nature it acquired.