John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

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Words of the day

I just finished Making Saints, a book by Kenneth L. Woodward about how the Roman Catholic church determines who should be canonized and why. It's a very interesting book, but as is often the case with books about Catholicism, it throws about some terms that are unfamiliar to me, because they're rarely used outside the Roman Catholic church. But that's OK, because I like to learn new words, even if they're words I'm unlikely to ever use.


An organized society or fellowship; specifically: a devotional or charitable association of Roman Catholic laity.

"These were the later days of Pius X's furious efforts to uproot Modernists in the church and the era of the Sodalitium Pianum (Sodality of Pius, named in memory of Pope Pius IX), a network of spies run out of the Vatican whose members reported on suspected Modernists."

I just want to say here that the idea of spies running around the headquarters of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is completely ridiculous, but that it seems perfectly natural to me that it happened (and perhaps still happens) at the Vatican.


Expressing or of the nature of necessary truth or absolute certainty.

"Indeed, a sampling of his 999 apodictic sayings reveal a remarkable narrowness of mind..."


One who favors greater or absolute supremacy of papal over national or diocesan authority in the Roman Catholic Church.

"On the other hand, Ultramontanist Catholics cheered the pope's [Pius IX] aggressive rejection of the modern world and demanded more of the same."

Of these words, this one will be the hardest to work into everyday conversation. Though I may be able to slip it into one of the reports I write about Presbytery meetings.


One who relies on faith rather than reason in pursuit of religious truth.

"People said he was a skeptic, a fideist, a liberal -- there were so many slanders against [John Cardinal] Newman in his day..."

Being charged with fideism was quite a bad thing among English Catholics, apparently. If only the same was true among American Christians. The strident anti-intellectualism that is present in many evangelical Christians in the United States is very distressing.

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