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Paenitemini is a 1966 apostolic constitution by Pope Paul VI. In Paenitemini Paul changed the strictly regulated Catholic fasting requirements. He recommended that fasting be appropriate to the local economic situation, and that all Catholics voluntarily fast and abstain. He further recommended that fasting and abstinence be replaced with prayer and works of charity "in countries where the standard of living is lower".
Pope Paul noted the Church's mission of showing man the right way to use earthly goods and to collaborate in the "consecration of the world." All members of the Church are called upon to participate in the work of Christ and therefore to participate also in His expiation. While he emphasized the great importance of penance as "a religious, personal act which has as its aim love and surrender to God", he observed that the Church, attentive to the signs of the times is prompted to seek, beyond fast and abstinence, new expressions more suitable for the realization of the precise goal of penitence.
"[T]he necessity of an asceticism which chastises the body and brings it into subjection is affirmed with special insistence by the example of Christ Himself. ...The intimate relationship which exists in penitence between the external act, inner conversion, prayer and works of charity is affirmed and widely developed in the liturgical texts and authors of every era.
The purpose of the new canonical laws was not to weaken the practice of penance but to make it more effective. Paul stated that while preserving the custom (observed for many centuries with canonical norms) of practicing penitence also through abstinence from meat and fasting, the Church intends to ratify other forms of penitence as well, and left it to the episcopal conferences to replace the observance of fast and abstinence with exercises of prayer and works of charity where appropriate.
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Perfectæ caritatis, subtitled as the Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life, is the document issued by the Second Vatican Council which deals specifically with institutes of consecrated life in the Roman Catholic Church. One of the shorter documents of the council, the decree was approved by a vote of 2,321 to 4 of the assembled bishops, and promulgated by Pope Paul VI on 28 October 1965. As is customary for Roman Catholic ecclesiastical documents, the title is taken from the first words (incipit) of the decree: "of Perfect Charity" in Latin.
The Mass of Paul VI or, as it is more commonly called, the post-Vatican II Mass is the most widely used form of the Mass in use today within the Catholic Church. It was first promulgated, after the Second Vatican Council (1962–65), by Pope Paul VI in 1969 and published in the 1970 edition of the Roman Missal, and was revised by Pope John Paul II in 2000. As thus revised, it "is and continues to be the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria" of the Roman Rite Mass, as intended for use in most contexts.
Penance is repentance of sins as well as an alternate name for the Catholic, Lutheran, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession. It also plays a part in confession among Anglicans and Methodists, in which it is a rite, as well as among other Protestants. The word penance derives from Old French and Latin paenitentia, both of which derive from the same root meaning repentance, the desire to be forgiven. Penance and repentance, similar in their derivation and original sense, have come to symbolize conflicting views of the essence of repentance, arising from the controversy as to the respective merits of "faith" and "good works". Word derivations occur in many languages.
Traditionalist Catholicism is a set of religious beliefs and practices comprising customs, traditions, liturgical forms, public and private, individual and collective devotions, and presentations of Catholic Church teachings that were in vogue in the decades that immediately preceded the Second Vatican Council (1962–65). It is associated in particular with attachment to the 1570–1970 form of the Roman Rite Mass, which traditionalist Catholics call the Traditional Latin Mass or TLM or the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.
In the teaching of the Catholic Church, an indulgence is "a way to reduce the amount of punishment one has to undergo for sins". The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes an indulgence as "a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and all of the saints".
In the liturgical calendar of the Western Christian churches, ember days are four separate sets of three days within the same week—specifically, the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday—roughly equidistant in the circuit of the year, that are set aside for fasting and prayer. These days set apart for special prayer and fasting were considered especially suitable for the ordination of clergy. The Ember Days are known in Latin as the quatuor anni tempora, or formerly as the jejunia quatuor temporum.
An apostolic constitution is the most solemn form of legislation issued by the Pope. The use of the term constitution comes from Latin constitutio, which referred to any important law issued by the Roman emperor, and is retained in church documents because of the inheritance that the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church received from Roman law.
The Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office or Work of God or canonical hours, often referred to as the Breviary, is the official set of prayers "marking the hours of each day and sanctifying the day with prayer". It consists primarily of psalms supplemented by hymns, readings and other prayers and antiphons. Together with the Mass, it constitutes the official public prayer life of the Church. The Liturgy of the Hours also forms the basis of prayer within Christian monasticism.
The Friday Fast is a Christian practice of abstaining from animal meat on Fridays, or holding a fast on Fridays, that is found most frequently in the Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican and Methodist traditions. According to Pope Peter of Alexandria, the Friday fast is done in commemoration of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday. Abstinence is colloquially referred to as "fasting" although it does not necessarily involve a reduction in the quantity of food.
The Catholic Church historically observes the disciplines of fasting and abstinence at various times each year. For Catholics, fasting is the reduction of one's intake of food, while abstinence refers to refraining from meat. The Catholic Church teaches that all people are obliged by God to perform some penance for their sins, and that these acts of penance are both personal and corporeal. Bodily fasting is meaningless unless it is joined with a spiritual fast from sin. St. Basil gives the following exhortation regarding fasting:
The Sacrament of Penance is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, in which the faithful are absolved from sins committed after Baptism and they are reconciled with the Christian community. While in current practice reconciliation services may be used to bring out the communal nature of sacraments, mortal sins must be confessed and venial sins may be confessed for devotional reasons. According to the current doctrine and practice of the Church, only those ordained as priests may grant absolution.
The treasury of merit or treasury of the Church consists, according to Catholic belief, of the merits of Jesus Christ and his faithful, a treasury that because of the communion of saints benefits others too. According to the Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, this Catholic belief is a way of expressing the view that the good works done by Jesus and others can benefit other people, and "contemporary Roman Catholic theologians see it as a metaphor for ways in which the faith of Christ and the saints helps others".
Catholic theology is the understanding of Catholic doctrine or teachings, and results from the studies of theologians. It is based on canonical scripture, and sacred tradition, as interpreted authoritatively by the magisterium of the Catholic Church. This article serves as an introduction to various topics in Catholic theology, with links to where fuller coverage is found.
The Mariology of the popes is the theological study of the influence that the popes have had on the development, formulation and transformation of the Roman Catholic Church’s doctrines and devotions relating to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In the Catholic Church, the Precepts of the Church, sometimes called Commandments of the Church, are certain laws considered binding on the faithful. As usually understood, they are moral and ecclesiastical, broad in character and limited in number. In modern times there are five. These specifically Catholic commandments are additional to the Ten Commandments which are common to all the Abrahamic religions.
Mariological papal documents have been a major force that has shaped Roman Catholic Mariology over the centuries. Mariology is developed by theologians on the basis not only of Scripture and Tradition but also of the sensus fidei of the faithful as a whole, "from the bishops to the last of the faithful", and papal documents have recorded those developments, defining Marian dogmas, spreading doctrines and encouraging devotions within the Catholic Church.
The Roman Catholic Church has often held mortification of the flesh, as a worthy spiritual discipline. The practice is rooted in the Bible: in the asceticism of the Old and New Testament saints, and in its theology, such as the remark by Saint Paul, in his Epistle to the Romans, where he states: "If you live a life of nature, you are marked out for death; if you mortify the ways of nature through the power of the Spirit, you will have life.". It is intimately connected with Christ's complete sacrifice of himself on the Cross: "those who belong to Christ have crucified nature, with all its passions, all its impulses". Christ himself enjoined his disciples to mortify themselves when he said: "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me". According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "[t]he way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle. Spiritual progress entails the ascesis and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes: ‘He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows.’". The purpose of mortification is to train "the soul to virtuous and holy living". It achieves this through conforming one's passions to reason and faith. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, internal mortification, such as the struggle against pride and self-love, is essential, but external mortification, such as fasting can also be good if they conform with a spirit of internal mortification.
The 1983 Code of Canon Law, also called the Johanno-Pauline Code, is the "fundamental body of ecclesiastical laws for the Latin Church". It is the second and current comprehensive codification of canonical legislation for the Latin Church sui iuris of the Catholic Church. It was promulgated on 25 January 1983 by John Paul II and took legal effect on the First Sunday of Advent 1983. It replaced the 1917 Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Benedict XV on 27 May 1917.
Lent is a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later, before Easter Sunday. The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer for Easter through prayer, doing penance, mortifying the flesh, repentance of sins, almsgiving, and self-denial. This event is observed in the Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, Moravian, Presbyterian, Oriental Orthodox, Reformed, and Roman Catholic Churches. Some Anabaptist and evangelical churches also observe the Lenten season.
Indulgentarium Doctrina is an apostolic constitution about indulgences issued by Pope Paul VI on 1 January 1967. It responds to suggestions made at the Second Vatican Council, it substantially revised the practical application of the traditional doctrine relating to indulgences. The title is taken from the opening words of the original Latin text.