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Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources

Catholic Dictionary

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.

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CHRIST'S HEADSHIP

Christ as the invisible head of the Mystical Body, which is the Catholic Church. As taught by St. Paul, "He [Christ] is the head of the body, the Church" (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 5:23). Accordingly, Christ's position in relation to the faithful is similar to the position of the head to the other members of the body.

As the head occupies the supreme position in the body, so Christ as God-man has a unique pre-eminence within the Church and, in fact, within humanity. As the head guides other members of the body, so Christ guides, controls, and governs the whole Church, immediately in each one's mind and heart and mediately through the hierarchy. As the head is the seat of all the senses, so Christ (as man), by reason of the hypostatic union, possesses the fullness of supernatural gifts, which he then passes on to the faithful.