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 essence of a being, answering to the question of what it is, as distinct from the fact that it is. It is equivalent to the Latin res, which is the single most frequently used term in Catholic theology and in the documents of the Church. Its most common English derivatives are real, really, and reality, all referring to the objective order, e.g., in such contexts as the Real Presence or that Christ really rose from the dead.