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Ten Awesome and Terrifying Sounding Catholic Words That May Not Mean What You Think

Thursday, August 14, 2014 12:56 PM Comments (21)

The Catholic faith can be confusing. Hey, with two thousand years of vocabulary it's bound to get a little difficult, isn't it? So there are many words that sound kinda' awesome and terrifying that don't actually mean what you might think they mean. So here's a little primer:

Monstrance. It's sounds kinda' terrifying, right? It's the vessel used to hold the Eucharist.

Missal. It's not a weapon (Well, sometimes if a liturgist is involved). Unless it's in the hands of a two year old in the pew who's mad at her brother.

Primate - Referring to an archbishop as a primate sometimes isn't necessarily bad. It all depends on your tone, I guess.

The Abomination of Desolation -OK I'll admit it. This is my favorite one. It also is not the title of a SyFy movie although if it was I'd probably watch it. It is, according to Catholic Culture, "The omen of future calamity, predicted by the prophet Daniel and referred to by Christ (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15). Daniel seems to be foretelling the erection of a statue of Zeus in the Temple of Jerusalem by Antiochus Epiphanes (168 B.C.). Christ applied the prophecy to the siege of Jerusalem by the pagan enemies of Rome in A.D. 70. This was to be a sign for the Christians to flee Jerusalem."

Annihilationism - It's the sub-title of the next Expendables movie. No. It's the wrongheaded belief that posits that those who are not saved will simply cease to exist.

Apostolic Canons - They don't go boom and has nothing to do with annihilationism. At all. It's a set of eighty-five canons, forming a part of the Apostolic Constitutions and attributed to the Apostles. Which is awesome but...they don't go boom.

Apostolic Penitentiary - Hey, if our apostolic canons miss you, it's off to the apostolic penitentiary with you. It's actually a papal tribunal which grants absolution from censures and certain dispensations reserved to the Holy See.

A Posteriori - It has nothing to do with any Kardashian. It's a philosophical/theological term meaning from effect back to cause.

Sacramental Seal -It's not a highly trained soldier we send in to storm the beaches of enemy territory. We have nun-jas for that. It's actually the seal of confession.

Thurible -Come on. It sounds like an awesome weapon. But it's a metal censer which you can swing around which holds fire and smoke. OK. I've got to admit it still sounds like a weapon.

OK. Let's try to use them all wrong in the same paragraph. Ready? The Monstrance shrugged off the missals, even the ones that hit it in the A Posteriori. This Abomination of Desolation seemed intent on Annihilation until the roar of the Apostolic Canons along with the Sacramental Seal wildly swinging his mighty Thurible made it collapse like a dazed primate. They then carried it off to the Apostolic Penitentiary where it was seen no more.

Hmm. Not bad. Could make a great graphic novel.

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About Matthew Archbold

Matthew Archbold
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Matt Archbold graduated from Saint Joseph's University in 1995. He is a former journalist who left the newspaper business to raise his five children. He writes for the Creative Minority Report.