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Catholic Dictionary




The existence proper to a whole and uncommunicated substance or reality. Subsistence is that perfection whereby a nature is completed and becomes uncommunicated, that is, whereby it becomes itself and distince from all other beings. Something, therefore, subsists when it has being and operation through itself, not through union with another. Applied to God as the being who exists essentially or by identity within his essence; the being who is completely self-sufficient for existence and activity. Also applied by the Second Vatican Council to the Roman Catholic Church, in which, it is said, subsists the fullness of the Church founded by Christ. (Etym. Latin subsistentia, self-contained existence; subsistere, to stay, abide; to stand under.)