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Glossary

ABBOT: The head of a monastic community.

ABSTINENCE: A law of the Church forbidding meat or its extracts to be eaten on specified days. Before 1968 Fridays were days of abstinence. Suspended 1939-1949.

ANGLICAN ORDERS: Offices derived from the Edwardine Ordinal of 15' condemned as null and void by Leo XIII in 1896 following investigation instigated by the second Viscount Halifax.

APOSTOLIC DELEGATE: Papal representative to countries which do not receive a Nuncio. Has no actual diplomatic status.

ASPERGES: Chant before High Mass on Sunday while priest processed sprinkling congregation with holy water. Permitted in parish churches only and replaced by the Vidi acquam from Easter to Trinity Sunday.

ASSUMPTION: The belief that the Blessed Virgin Mary was taken, body and soul, to heaven. Celebrated annually on 15 August. Proclaimed an Article of Faith by Pius XII in 1950.

AUXILIARY BISHOP: One who assists a diocesan bishop but has no automatic right of succession.

BENEDICTINE: A monk vowed to the Rule of St. Benedict. Maybe purely monastic or engaged in teaching or parochial work. Benedictine nuns are all enclosed within their convents.

BENEDICTION: Service in which the Sacred Host is placed in monstrance for public adoration and where prescribed hymns are sung and prayers recited.

BROTHERS: Male members of religious orders who are not priests.

BYZANTINE REVIVAL: Style of architecture influenced by early East Christian design. Westminster Cathedral, built 1895-1903, is its best known example.

CATHOLIC DIRECTORY: Official yearbook for England and Wales annually
since 1837. Existed as the Laity's Directory from 1794 to 1836.

CATHOLIC EVIDENCE GUILD: Founded to teach the Faith through outdoor and indoor lectures. Its pitches at Hyde Park Comer, Birmingham Bull Ring, Liverpool Pier Head etc. were renowned.

CATHOLIC MOTHERS, Union of: To support women in bringing up their children as practising Catholics, to assist in family difficulties and to preserve faith and morals in the home.

CATHOLIC TRUTH SOCIETY: Founded in 1884 by James Britten to teach the Faith by the written word. It aimed to help Catholics towards a deeper knowledge of their religion and to clarify misunderstandings and correct false accusations among others. Its rack of cheap, colourful pamphlets was to be seen at every church door.

CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY: Attempt by Cardinal Manning to open a college in Kensington affiliated to the University of London. It never had more than 45 students, was always financially distressed, and ceased after a few years.

CELEBRET: A document issued to a priest affirming his status.

CHILDREN OF MARY: A confraternity of unmarried women who met weekly under spiritual direction and were devoted to good works and the preservation of Christian virtue.

CHAPTER: A body of Canons whose task is to help a bishop administer his diocese.

CHURCHING OF WOMEN: A ceremony of thanksgiving for a safe delivery performed at the altar rails after the baptism of a child. Was grossly associated with superstition and believed (erroneously) to be a rite of purification. Unmarried mothers were not permitted to be Churched.

CISALPINISM: The idea that Catholicism could exist without the dominance of the Pope, although it did not reject his primacy. It was treated harshly by Bishop Milner (early 19th century), emasculated by Cardinal Wiseman and exterminated by Cardinal Manning.

CLASSICAL REVIVAL: Architecture in the Greek and Roman styles, favoured from early eighteenth to mid nineteenth centuries and occasionally (e.g. Brompton Oratory) later still.

CLERICAL DRESS: Outdoor dress was decreed by several diocesan synods, even to specifying the length of the coat. Black was compulsory. Indoor (or choir) dress was authorised by Pius IX in 1850, the black cassock with shoulder cape being a replica of his own white one.

COADJUTOR BISHOP: One who assists a diocesan bishop and has right of succession.

CONFRATERNITIES: Pious associations for men, women, boys or girls. Rigorously subjected to Canon Law on account of the privileges enjoyed and indulgences granted.

CONSUMPTION: Obsolete word for tuberculosis, often given as cause of death of priests, religious or laity in Victorian times.

CONVENT: House occupied by nuns but sometimes in older documents applied to one occupied by men, especially Franciscans.

DIOCESE: An area defined by Papal regulation and under the jurisdiction of a bishop. A group of them forms a Province under a Metropolitan Archbishop.

DISPENSATION: An exemption permitted to a fixed rule, e.g. from the law of fasting or to marry without publication of Banns.

DOMINICAN: A friar of the Order of Preachers (Blackfriars), founded by St. Dominic.

DOUAI ABBEY: Benedictine monastery near Reading. Successor of that seized by French Association Laws of 1903, itself the successor of St. Edmund's, Paris, the only English community to return to France post 1815.

DOUAI BIBLE: To be exact the Rheims-Douai translation of the Holy Scriptures of 1582. The 1951 Preface to the King James version of 1611 contains a reference to its usefulness. Was superseded circa 1943 by a new translation by Ronald A. Knox.

DOUAI, English College at: Seminary for secular clergy from Elizabethan times, seized by revolutionaries in 1793. Its last student died in 1864. St. Cuthbert's, Ushaw and St. Edmund's, Ware are its direct descendants.

DUAL SYSTEM IN EDUCATION: Having schools maintained, by local authorities and religious bodies. In early twentieth century Liberal policy referred to Catholic schools as unnecessary schools thereby causing great resentment.

ECCLESIASTICAL TITLES ACT: Law of 1851 forbidding any but clergy of the Church of England to use territorial titles in the British Isles. Repealed 1871.

EMANCIPATION: Act of 13 April 1829 removing most civil disabilities from Catholics. It brought about the political downfall of the Duke of Wellington because he had promised he would never permit it to happen.

ENCYCLICAL: A letter from the Pope expressing his considered opinion on a specified subject.

EPISCOPI VAGANTES: Bishops possessing valid but irregular orders usually obtained from continental "Old Catholic" sources. Arnold Harris Mathew (1852-1919), who had embraced most religions at least once and Catholicism twice, is the best known. Consecrated at Utrecht in 1908 he ordained and consecrated in England almost indiscriminately.

ERRINGTON CASE: Dispute between Cardinal Wiseman and his coadjutor, George Errington, circa 1860. Resolved by Pope depriving the latter of office.

EXCARDINATION: Permitting a priest to transfer his allegiance from one diocese to another.

EXCOMMUNICATION: The most serious penalty used against an erring individual. It placed him beyond the union of all the faithful (the Church) and, in effect, beyond salvation if he died unrepentant.

FASTING: A law permitting only one full meal on a specified day. Before 1939 all the weekdays of Lent were fasting days and Wednesdays and Fridays of Lent were days of fasting and abstinence, as also was Christmas Eve.

FEAST: Solemn commemoration of a saint or event. The terms Double of the First Class or Double of the Second Class, still to be seen in old missals refer to which gives way to what should they fall on the same day as well as being directions to priests reading the Office, for example if SS. Peter and Paul should fall on a Sunday or should Christ the King (then on last Sunday in October) coincide with SS. Simon and Jude (28 October).

FENIANS: Name given to Irish Republican Brotherhood who in the cause of repeal of the Union between England and Ireland embarked upon a series of atrocities in the 1860s. Strongly condemned by Cardinal Manning as a secret society, one of them, Michael Barrett, was the last man to be hanged in public (Newgate 1868).

FRANCISCAN: A follower of St. Francis of Assisi. There are three groups
(Greyfriars): (1) Conventuals, (2) Friars Minor, (3) Capuchins. The Poor Clares is an ancient order for women. Several more recently formed communities follow similar patterns of penance and mortification and a Third Order exists for the laity.

GORHAM JUDGEMENT: Parliamentary ruling in 1851 restraining disciplinary action against an Anglican cleric who denied the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration, that is he said there is no difference between a baptized soul and an unbaptized one. Numerous people, notably Manning, left the Church of England as a consequence.

GOTHIC REVIVAL: Architectural phase spearheaded by Augustus Welby Pugin (1812-1852). Gothic revivalists built in Early English, Decorated, Perpendicular and sometimes a combination of all three.

GUARDIAN: Title of superior of a house of Franciscans.

HIERARCHY: Collective body of Archbishops and Bishops. That of England and Wales was restored by Pius IX in 1850. That of Scotland by Leo XIII in 1878. The ancient Irish Hierarchy was never extinguished.

HOLY HOUR: Popular evening service where the Blessed Sacrament was exposed, and appropriate prayers, hymns and discourse delivered.

HOLY OILS: Used for anointing the sick and in baptism. Consecrated by the bishop on Maundy Thursday, every respect must be shown to their storage and transportation.

HOLY WEEK: That from Palm Sunday to midday on Holy Saturday.

HUMANI GENERIS: Encyclical of Pius XII in 1951 curbing some of the scriptural and theological trends which he considered to be excessive.

HYMN BOOKS: Various ones existed, e.g. Crown of Jesus (Derby 1860), Parochial Hymn Book (Lancaster 1893), Catholic Hymns (London 1897), Westminster Hymnal (London 1911) and New Westminster Hymnal (London 1940).

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION: The belief that the Blessed Virgin Mary was, through the merits of her Divine Son, preserved from what the rest of us must be redeemed from - sin - from the instant of her own conception. Defined as an Article of Faith by Pius IX in 1854.

INCARDINATION: Admitting a priest to a particular diocese.

INDULGENCE: A remission of punishment due to sin after sacramental absolution. An indulgence of a specified number of days did not mean that number of days less in purgatory, but that it was the equivalent of that number of days of physical penance on earth.

INFALLIBILITY: Definition by Vatican I in 1870 that the guard against error traditionally acknowledged in the Body of the Church was also vested in its Head - the Pope - when pronouncing on Faith and Morals.

INTERDICT: A disciplinary sanction imposed on a church or parish. Under an interdict no Mass or sacrament is permitted and no candidate for Holy Orders accepted. The Lancashire parish of Lee House, near Longridge, was interdicted from 1844 to 1859.

INTERNATIONAL MODERN: Functional architectural style, usually with a central altar and employing such modern materials as steel, concrete and sheet glass. Adopted about the time of Vatican II, examples include St. Mary's, Leyland, and Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

IRISH NATIONALIST: One who worked to sever the union between England and Ireland by political means. Although Irish Nationalist Members of Parliament were very numerous, it was frequently emphasised that Nationalism and Catholicism were by no means one and the same thing.

ITALIAN DEVOTIONS: Name given to practices such as placing candies before statues and making the Stations of the Cross and novenas (nine day prayer). Encouraged by newly arrived religious orders and convert clergy much under the influence of Rome. Considered novel in 1850, had become the norm by 1900.

JESUIT: Member of the Society of Jesus founded by St. Ignatius Loyola. The Jesuits played as important a part in the Catholic revival in England as they had done in the Counter Reformation. There are no female Jesuits.

LATERAN TREATY: Made between Pius XI and the Italian Government in 1929, by which many things disagreeable to the Papacy since the loss of the Temporal Power in 1870 were regularised. The creation of the Vatican State with the Pope as sovereign came as a consequence.

LEAGUE OF THE CROSS: Pledged to total abstinence from all intoxicating drink, founded by Cardinal Manning. The League's tea parties, social evenings, outings and brass bands were a feature of all big towns up to about 1930.

LEGION OF MARY: Founded by Frank Duff to assist its members in doctrine, spirituality and apostleship and thereby to be of service to the Church locally and beyond.

LEONINE PRAYERS: Ordered by Leo XIII in 1886 to be recited after every Mass "for the liberty and exaltation of our holy mother the Church" and abolished by the second Vatican Council.

LIBERALISM: Denial of all things supernatural, rejecting any restriction of human thought or behaviour and of all absolute values. Not to be confused with the political party personified by Gladstone.

LIBERAL CATHOLIC CHURCH: Name adopted in 1918 by a group in London who had previously called themselves the Liberal Christian Church and before that the Ancient Catholic Church. Could be traced back to those European "Old Catholics" who left the Roman Church following the first Vatican Council.

LIBERAL CATHOLICISM: An attempt to bridge the divisions between the
Church and contemporary society and to resist clerical domination.

LITANY: Form of repetitive prayer e.g. to the Holy Name of Jesus, the Sacred Heart, Our Lady, St. Joseph, The Saints, or for a happy death. The litanies were richly indulgenced and frequently used.

MANUAL OF PRAYERS: Official prayer book approved by the Hierarchy in 1886 and last published in 1953.

MARTYRS OF CHARITY: Priests who died from infections caught whilst administering the sacraments to the sick, or those killed on war service or in air raids.

MASS: Central act of Catholic worship. Until 1953 could not be celebrated later than midday and the celebrant had to be fasting from midnight. In order to receive holy communion the laity also had to be fasting from midnight.

MILL HILL MISSIONARIES: Founded by Cardinal Vaughan to evangelise the remote parts of the (then) British Empire.

MISSION: 1. The presence of the Church in a non-Catholic country, e.g. "the English Mission". 2. The local organisations of the English Church which were erected into parishes (q.v.) in 1918. 3. A visitation by an individual or group of preachers who rally the faithful, visit homes, seek out the lapsed and give amplification to the Church's message.

MISSIONARY APOSTOLIC: The correct term for a priest holding parochial authority in England from Penal times until 12 November 1918 when they became parish priests.

MISSIONARY COADJUTOR: An assistant (a curate) to a missionary apostolic.

MODERNISM: A school of thought condemned by Pius X in 1907 because it held (among many other things) that the human mind was incapable of holding perfect truth.

MONSIGNOR: An honorary title bestowed upon a priest making him a member of the Papal Household.

MOTU PROPRIO OF PIUS X: Decree in 1904 forbidding operatic and other over-elaborate music to be performed in church, encouraging the restoration of Plainsong and forbidding the use of any musical instrument other than the organ.

NUNS: Women vowed to a specific rule or embracing a certain lifestyle. Their different orders are very numerous.

OBLATE: Literally, one who gives all but usually denoting clerics e.g. the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Cardinal Manning also formed the Oblates of St. Charles, a community that existed until quite recently.

OLD CATHOLICS: Those (mostly continental) who left the Church after 1870 because they disagreed with the resolutions of the first Vatican Council. They looked for assistance (episcopal orders etc.) to the Jansenists in Holland who consecrated a bishop for them in 1873. As a group they quickly abandoned clerical celibacy, confession and fasting and became something of an irrelevance. There was also a breakaway group known, for a time, as the Old Roman Catholics.

ORATORY: A room in a house or institution set aside for the celebration of Mass. The Oratory means an establishment of clerics living the rule of St. Philip Neri (1515-1595) and making use of the fine arts and music in the embellishment of worship. Cardinal Newman and Fr. F. W. Faber are the best known English Oratorians.

OXFORD MOVEMENT: The revival of Catholic ceremonial, vesture and doctrine within the Church of England begun in Oxford in 1833.

PALLIUM: A circlet of white linen worn over the shoulders of archbishops in communion with the Holy See of Rome.

PARISH: A defined area having its own church and priest.

PASCENDI DOMINICI GREGIS: Encyclical of Pius X condemning Modernism (q.v.) in 1907.

PRAECLARA CHARISSIMI: Encyclical of Leo XIII on Anglican Orders (q.v.) in 1896.

PRAYER BOOKS: Many popular ones were available - Key of Heaven, Garden of the Soul, Treasury of the Sacred Heart, etc.

PASSIONISTS: Priests, brothers and nuns of the Congregation of the Passion founded by St. Paul of the Cross (1694-1775). They were introduced into England in 1840 by Fr. Dominic Barberi who received Newman into the Church in 1845.

PASTORAL LETTER: What every bishop must write to his priests and people every Advent and Lent. In 1940 the Archbishop of Liverpool's Advent Pastoral was translated into six languages, at Goverrunent expense, and used abroad to justify Britain's position in the war.

PENNY CATECHISM: A method of learning religious teaching by rote. Having its origins with Bishop Challoner in the 18th century and greatly influenced by the Council of Trent, its simple format of question and answer ranged from "Who made you?" to "The four last things are death, judgement, heaven and hell."

PLAINCHANT: Distinctive form of unison singing having its own unique notation. Gregory the Great (590-604) had some part in its codification but several schools in western Europe participated in its development.

POLYPHONY: The blending together of many voices in harmony. Vocal music performed in church ranged from Palestrina and Lassus via Mozart, Gounod and their imitators to works by composers of purely local reputation. (See Motu Proprio).

PROPAGANDA: The Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide (for the propagation of the Faith), composed of cardinals and officials, concerned with the missions in non-Catholic countries. The English Catholic Church remained under its control until 1908.

REDEMPTORIST: Member of religious order founded by St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787). Mostly employed giving missions and retreats but sometimes staffing parishes e.g. Bishop Eton, Liverpool or Clapham, South London.

REGISTERS: By Canon Law registers of baptisms and marriages must be kept. But access to these registers is a favour not a right. Some have been published by the Catholic Record Society, others are deposited in local record offices.

REGISTRATION ACT: Introduced by Sir Robert Peel in 1836 it permitted marriages in Catholic churches and Nonconformist chapels. Previously only those in the Church of England were considered as legal.

REGULAR(S): Clergy who belong to a religious order.

RENEWAL: Acknowledging the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the faithful, sanctifying and transforming into more perfect disciples.

RERUM NOVARUM: Encyclical of Leo XIII in 1890, recognising the dignity of manual labour and condemning exploitation of the poor.

RETREAT: A system of spiritual self-analysis under the direction of a priest or nun. Is sometimes mistook to mean a rest in a religious house.

ROMANESQUE REVIVAL: Style of architecture influenced by early Western Christian design. Popular in early twentieth century, e.g. Corpus Christi (1906), Miles Platting, Manchester.

ROSARY: (Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary) consists of one Our Father, ten Hail Marys and one Glory be, recited once , five, ten or fifteen times while various episodes in the chronicle of man's salvation are meditated upon. Developed in the 14th century by the Dominicans. Beads, some of them artistic and expensive are often used. Much favoured and recommended by many Popes.

SACRAMENT: The visible expression of a spiritual truth having its origin in scripture. There are seven: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance (now renamed Reconciliation), Extreme Unction (now the Sacrament of the Sick), Holy Orders and Matrimony. The term "last sacraments" for Extreme Unction was always strongly, but unsuccessfully, discouraged.

SECULAR: A priest who belongs to a diocese, not to a religious order. St. Thomas Becket (29 December) is Patron Saint of the English Secular clergy.

SEMINARY: A place where priests receive their formation.

SOCIETY OF ST. VINCENT DE PAUL: Organisation of laity founded in 1833 by Frederic Ozanam who do good, by stealth, among the poorer or less fortunate of people. Bishop McNulty of Nottingham used to say that had he ever been sent to found a new parish, the first thing he would have done would be to organise a branch of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

SYLLABUS OF ERRORS: A list promulgated by Pius IX in 1864 condemning what he saw as the evils of the time. His critics dismissed it as reactionary if not ludicrous. His adherents later claimed that its rejection led to two World Wars.

SYNOD: A general gathering of the clergy to discuss ecclesiastical matters and whose decrees are binding. It was at the Synod of Oscott in 1853 that Newman preached his famous sermon The Second Spring.

TABLET: Catholic journal founded by Frederic Lucas in 1840 and published every Saturday.

THOMISM: School of Theology originating from St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). It receded somewhat in the Counter Reformation but had a great revival from the time of Leo XIII.

TITULAR BISHOP, ABBOT or PRIOR: A title without a resident office, an honorary dignity.

TYPHOID: A water-borne disease common in the 19th century and sometimes confused with the deadly typhus.

TYPHUS: a very infectious disease causing rapid decrease in blood pressure and decomposition of the flesh. Many priests of the nineteenth century died from it, caught whilst attending the sick, especially the poor.

ULTRAMONTIANISM: The belief that the clergy should be subject to the Pope, the people to the clergy, and Society to the Church.

UNIVERSE: Catholic newspaper published every Friday since 1860.

VATICAN I: General Council of the Church, 1869-1870. Intended to explore many questions but chiefly remembered for the definition of the doctrine of Papal Infallibility.

VATICAN II: General Council of the Church, 1962-1965. Intended to explore questions Pastoral, Liturgical and Ecumenical, but developed a voracious appetite for changing everything.

VESTMENTS: Worn by bishops, priests and deacons during liturgical ceremonies. The five essential Mass vestments were the amice, alb, stole, maniple and chasuble. Colours varied with the occasion, black, green, purple, red or white. After Vatican II black vestments and the maniple were abandoned. Nowadays very few priests wear the amice. The cope was a cloaklike vestment worn during Benediction, or for the Asperges before Mass.

VICAR APOSTOLIC: A titular bishop who governs a district where no formal hierarchy exists.

VICAR CAPITULAR: A priest who governs a vacant diocese.

VICAR GENERAL: A senior priest who assists a bishop, mostly in matters disciplinary e.g. granting dispensations.

WHIT WALKS: Traditional demonstrations of faith originating in the early 19th century and held mostly in Lancashire manufacturing towns.

YOUNG CHRISTIAN WORKERS: Movement founded circa 1920 by Fr. (later Cardinal) Joseph Cardijn with the aim of rechristianising the working class. His method of "See, Judge, and Act" became a pattern for many other missionary endeavours. The Young Christian Students is a similar association for academics.

 

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