Catholic Dictionary




"An individual substance of a rational nature" (Boethius). Therefore every individual intellectual substance which is complete in itself, uncommunicated and existing for itself, is a person. Essential to person in theological terms are intelligence and substantiality, wholeness in oneself and especially individuality. From individuality flow such features of personhood as distinctiveness, incommunicability, and uniqueness. Among human persons there are also the elements of responsibility and possession of distinctive rights. (Etym. Latin persona, actor's mask; character; supposition of a rational nature.)