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Naturism

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Naturism is the term proposed by Réville to designate the worship of nature. It differs from Naturalism, which is not a religion, but a system of atheistic philosophy, and from natural religion, which sets forth those truths about God and man attainable by the native power of human reason and forming the prolegomena to Revelation, e.g., the existence of God , the spiritual and immortal nature of the human soul, the moral order. As a theory of religion Naturism exhibits three phases: I. Ethnographic Naturism. II. Philosophic Naturism. III. Science-Naturism.

I. ETHNOGRAPHIC NATURISM

According to Réville, Naturism is the primitive form of religion, the basis and source of all existing forms. This is the thesis of comparative mythology, which is said to reveal a primitive nature worship. Its foundation is a twofold assumption:

  • (1) the philosophic assumption of evolution, which maintains that man is a development by slow and successive stages from the animal; hence the corollary advanced by Spencer and Thorn as as the first principle in the evolutionary history of religion, viz., that primitive man was a creature of emotion, not of intelligence which is the product of more advanced culture;
  • (2) the ethnographic assumption that primitive man existed in the savage state, a condition and mode of life akin to that prevailing among the non-civilized races of today, e.g., Tylor, Lubbock, Tiele, Réville, and Spencer.

The core and essence of nature-worship is that nature is animated throughout. In the conception of animated nature, Réville is in touch with de Brosses and Comte, who claim that Fetishism is the primitive religion and by Fetishism understand the primitive tendency to conceive external objects as animated by a life analogous to that of man. He differs from Tylor, who specifies the cause of the animation, e.g., spirits or souls, and from Comte in holding that the primitive animation in its initial Stage is not Fetishism, but becomes so when in process of development the spirit or soul is distinguished from the object. Thus with Réville, the Animism of Tylor and Spencer is the intermediate link between Naturism and Fetishism. Tylor, however, considers nature-worship as the connecting bond between Fetishism and Polytheism, yet admits that the stages of this process defy any more accurate definition. Giddings follows Tylor in holding that religious ideas are of two groups: animistic interpretation of the finite, and animistic interpretation of the infinite ("Induct. Sociol", New York, 1901). In like manner Blackmar teaches that nature-worship was nothing more than spirit-worship localized in the various objects of nature (Elem. of Sociology, New York, 1905). On the other hand Guyan calls Naturism, Physiolatry, of which zoolatry, i.e., worship of animals, is a department (The Non-Religion of the Future, New York, 1907). Hadden holds that primitive folk do not draw a sharp distinction between things animate and inaminate (The Study of Man, New York, 1898). Jastrow says that the savage and primitive man does not differentiate between such an object of nature as the sun and its personification as a being possessing life in some form, and teaches that it is an axiom of primitive man's science to ascribe life to all things (The Study of Religion, London, 1902). Schrader says the common basis of the ancient Indo-European religion was a worship of nature, and appeals to linguistics which shows that the ancient Aryans designated objects perceived as doing something, e.g., the rain rains, the fire burns ("Prehistoric Antiquities of the Aryan Peoples", tr. by Jevons, London, 1890). Hence the discovery of the soul or spirit as distinct from the object is the origin of Animism. This theory is sometimes called personification of natural forces, but only in the sense that nature is conceived as living, as vital with creative and preservative powers. Personification, in the strict sense of investing material things with the attributes of a person is far above the power of early man and appears only in later forms of developed belief. Hence, according to Réville, there is first the naive cult of natural objects as possessing life and in some way supposed to influence man ; this is followed by Animism and Fetishism ; and finally a third stage known as the natural mythologies founded on the dramatization of nature, e.g., the historic polytheisms of China, Egypt, Babylonia, of the Teutonic, Greek, Latin, and Vedic races.

Primitive man faces the world about him in childlike wonder. The succession of the seasons, of night and day, of storm and cloud, the growth of living things, exhibit nature in constant and varied changes. He views natural phenomena as the effects of causes beyond his comprehension and control. Conscious of his own agency, though unable yet to distinguish soul from the parts of the body, he attributes agency like his own to the objects which surround him. Awe and delight possess him. Having no idea at all of God, writes Keary, he makes the things themselves gods by worshipping them ("Early Relig. Develop." in Nineteenth Cent., Aug., 1878). Hence Brinton writes that nature is known to man only as a force which manifests itself in change (The Religious Sentiment, New York, 1876). Ratzel explains this craving for causality in an animistic sense as tending to vivify all the higher phenomena of nature by attributing to them a soul, and applies the word Polytheism to all religions of the lower grades ("Hist. of Mankind ", tr. Butler, London, 1896). With Crawley the phenomena of change exhibits a vital principle analogous to man's own and this principle of life vaguely conceived by primitive man but strongly felt is the origin of religion; in a later stage of development Vitalism passes into Animism (The Tree of Life, London, 1905). Shaw says the difference between Naturism and Spiritism is largely a difference of emphasis, because neither can be excluded from the interpretation of a primitive which as yet has made no sharp separation between subject and object. Hence the worshipper of nature seems to ally himself with external objects which, as he surveys them anthropopatically, serve as a support and mirror of his own fleeting fancies. These natural objects are further conceived by primitive man as either friendly or inimical to him. In the particular view of Fetishism the physical and psychical further appears. Thus Shaw in the primitive Naturism resulting from the contact of man with the phenomena of the external world, attempts to reconcile the psychological theories of fear as set forth by Hume, Clodd, Tiele, Deinker, and of desire either natural with Brinton or morbid by Feuerbach.

Pfleidner holds that nature is animated throughout, that this view was just as natural for the childlike fancy of the primitive man as it is still today for children and poets. According to him this animation of nature is not to be explained by saying that the primitive man only compared natural phenomena with living beings or even that he thought of them as a domicile or operation of spirits of human origin. Such a view would suppose a definite distinguishing of the sense element and of the supersensible element; but this distinction only appeared later, whereas, for the original mythological notion, the sense element and the subject that was active in it was still conceived as one. He says the real sources of religion are external nature and the soul of man ; for the prehistoric belief in spirits, out of which developed the belief in God, cannot yet be properly called religion; it only contained the germs of religion. Tylor teaches animation of nature, but, as with him the soul or spirit animates material objects, nature-worship is ranged under the concept of Fetishism. De la Saussaye objects to this view on the ground that nature-worship bears the strongest impress of originality, and therefore is not a phase of Fetishism, which is not original. Darwin seems to combine the ascription of life to natural objects, dreams, and fears (Descent of Man, I, p. 65). Thomas says that, while theoretically separable, magic religion, belief in ghosts and in nature-worship practically run into one another and become inseparably mingled; therefore it is idle to attempt to establish a priority in favour of any one of them (Social Origins, Chicago, 1909).

De la Saussaye confesses that it is equally difficult to determine the limits of nature-worship in the opposite direction. The classification of religions shows how wide an area it covers. Thus Tiele divides the religions of the world into nature-religions and ethical religions, and holds that the latter developed from the former. Caird keeps the same division, but uses the terms "objective" and "subjective", and says they unite in Christianity. Jastrow objects to the classification of Tiele, that the higher nature-religions contain ethical elements. Hegel holds the primitive religion was an immediate nature-religion, which betrays its features in various primitive peoples and in a more advanced form in Chinese, Pali, and Sanscrit cults. The transition from the lowest stage to the next higher, according to him, is effected by means of the Persian dualism, the Phœnician religion of pain, and the Egyptian religion of mystery. De la Grassière (Des religions comparées, Paris, 1899) says Naturism is at the origin of religions. He distinguishes a lesser Naturism and a greater Naturism. The lesser Naturism passes into Animism, which in turn develops into Fetishism, Idolatry, and Anthropomorphism. With its earlier forms the object is adored in its concrete reality; at a later period, the soul or spirit is separated from the object and becomes the real object of worship. Lesser Naturism embraces the primitive gods, e.g., those which personify the woods, mountains, and rivers. It has many forms, e.g., worship of animals as in Greek and Egyptian mythology, worship of trees, e.g., laurels of Apollo, myrtle of Venus, worship of groves as with Druids, worship of stones, water, springs, lakes, mountains, the elements. Hence it embraces the mythologic naiads, fauns, dryads, fairies, and sirens.

Greater Naturism refers to vast gatherings of objects and especially heavenly bodies, e.g., sun, moon, stars. This he says is the basis of the Vedic religion, e.g., Varuna, i.e., heaven at night, Mitri, i.e., heaven at day, Indra, i.e., rain, Agni, i.e., fire, and survives in Sabæism. This Naturism is at the origin of Greek and Latin mythology, e.g., Zeus, i.e., the Heaven, Aurora, i.e., the dawn, Apollo, i.e., light, Hephæstos, i.e., fire, and the worship of mother earth. Tiele holds that the religions of the Redskins and negroes are just as much nature religions as the Babylonian, the Vedic, and Greek, though he admits a great difference exists between the former and the latter. Von Hartmann designates the lowest stage of religion as "naturalistic henotheism". Jastrow holds that man's consciousness of his own weakness in the contemplation of the overwhelming strength of nature furnishes the motive for seeking support from certain powers of nature and to accomplish this he must make them favourably disposed to him. He says this theory can be variously put, hence can furnish a starting point for pessimistic views, e.g., Von Hartmann, and of optimistic views of man's position in the universe, and it appeals to minds in sympathy with religion as to those, e.g., Feuerbach, who regard religion as an illusion.

Thus Naturism teaches that man originally was destitute of religion, and that ignorant awe in face of natural forces was the cause of his earliest faith. But this theory cannot be accepted.

  • (1) Its basis, viz., that man has evolved from an animal state, is false. "We know now", writes Max Müller "that savage and primitive are very far indeed from meaning the same thing" (Anthrop. Relig., 150). Talcott Williams shows the necessity of revising and limiting the confidence with which the modern savage has been used to explain a nobler past (Smithsonian Report of 1896). Müller and Kuhn refute Mannhardt and Meyer by showing that popular beliefs of modern folk-lore are fragments of a higher mythology.
  • (2) It does not explain how man gained the predicate God , which is the real problem of religion. Jastrow says mere personification of nature lacks a certain spiritual element which appears to be essential to the rise of a genuine religious feeling in man. Hence, he adds, Müller postulated "the perception of the Infinite " (Hibbert Lectures, 1878), and Tiele appeals to "man's original unconscious innate sense of infinity " (Elem. of the Scien. of Rel., II, 233). Thus Fairbairn says, "the constitutive element is what mind brings to nature, not what nature brings to mind " (Studies in the Philos. of History and Religion, New York, 1876).
  • (3) The theory is defective, for it does not explain all the facts of early religious consciousness. If nature were the only source of religion, man would express his ideas of God in terms drawn from nature alone. Now the science of language shows that primitive man expresses his idea of God :
    • (a) In terms drawn from physical nature, e.g., Dyans Pitar of the Indo-Europeans; Zeus pater of the Greeks; Jupiter of the Latins; Tieu, i.e., heaven, of the Chinese; the Persian Dæva; the Celtic Dia from the Sanscrit root Div., i.e., to shine.
    • (b) By moral and metaphysical concepts: thus, e.g., Jahweh, i.e., the one who is; Ahura, i.e., the living one; El, i.e., the powerful shown in Elohim, Allah, Babylonia ; Shaddai, i.e., the mighty; Bel, i.e., the lord; Molech, i.e., king; Adonai, i.e., lord. Such concepts are found with barbarous peoples, e.g., Unkululu of the Zulus, i.e., father; Papang of the Australian, i.e., father; the Mongolian Teng-ri and Hunnish Tang-li, i.e., lord of the sky. Furthermore the earliest Indo-European conception of God is Dyaus Pitar, i.e., the heaven-father.

    Hence the idea of paternity is characteristic of their primitive consciousness. Such a concept is too sublime and elevated to be explained on the principles of Naturism; which is utterly unable to account for the second class of terms.

  • (4) The main support for the theory of Naturism is the Vedic religion. It is true that traces of nature-religion are found in the Vedas. But to say that the Vedic gods are nothing more than nature personified or that nature-worship is the primitive type of Indian religion is to betray the superficial observer. The moral and spiritual conceptions are older than the physical faith. That the ancient Aryans viewed nature as active is not ground to hold that for this reason they worshiped nature. We express ourselves after this fashion in ordinary conversation. The great truth shown by the Vedas is the fact of degeneracy.

II. PHILOSOPHIC NATURISM

This phase is based on the philosophic unity of animated nature. The ancient cosmogonies represent the efforts of the human mind to attain a unity amid the multiplicity of external things. In the Stoic conception of God as the soul of the world is set forth a Naturism which satisfies the intellectual craving for unity and gives scope to the exercise of the religious emotions. Hence it was that these philosophers could look with indulgent tolerance upon the religious practices of the common people. The basic principle with both was the same; e.g., the worship of animated nature. To the cultured Roman this principle was conceived as a philosophic unity; to the ordinary mind it was viewed in manifold forms and activities which were the source and explanation of their countless nature-deities. Pantheism in its various forms exhibits the same thought. This is especially true of modern Pantheistic theories. The substance of Spinoza, the synthesis of Fichte, the identity of Schelling, the absolute idea of Hegel is at basis the same conception. Its religious significance is twofold:

  • (a) the more spiritual and metaphysical form appears in Neo-Hegelianism which teaches the unity of human and Divine consciousness. This reflects the nature-philosophy of Hegel which exhibits the idea, i.e., God in its finitude.
  • (b) The idealistic Naturism is shown in the writings of the Romantic school, e.g., Goethe, Shelley, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and attains its full expression in Transcendentalism.

To Emerson as to Goethe, God was the soul of the world. Emerson seems to consider religion as the delight which springs from a harmony of man and nature. Emerson taught that the universe is composed of nature and the soul, and by nature means all the not me , i.e., physical nature ; art, other man, and his own body. Hence in germ the worship of humanity is contained in Emerson's teaching, just as it is latent in Neo-Hegelianism, and appears in the Hegelian evolution of the idea, i.e., the Absolute or God, when viewed from its human side, i.e., as a human process.

III. SCIENCE-NATURISM

This is the religion of the science-philosophy and appears under two forms:

  • (a) The religion of humanity was first presented in systematic form by Comte, and contains the principles of the humanitarian theories so prevalent a generation ago. God does not exist or at least cannot be known, therefore mankind calls forth the sole and supreme expression of our veneration and service.
  • (b) Cosmic religion, a title invented by Fiske, and designated the homage of reason to forces of nature or the awe of phenomena which suggest mysterious and destructive power.

Spencer speaks of the emotion resulting from the contemplation of the unknowable into which as into a mystery all cosmical questions resolve. Fiske develops this thought and makes the essence of religions emotion very largely consist in the sense of mystery. To Fiske the unknowable manifests itself in a world of law and is yet conceived to be in itself something beyond these manifestations. Hence worship is ever the dark side of the shield of which knowledge is the bright side. Thus Matthew Arnold's definition of religion as morality touched by emotion becomes with Tyndall poetry and emotion in face of matter instinct with mind. Cosmism, according to Fiske, is, however, more than a mere sentiment. He says the fundamental principle of religion is obedience to the entire requirements of nature. This is righteousness, just as sin is a wilful violation of nature's laws. Science-Naturism finds its most complete delineation in Seeley's "Natural Religion". He uses the term "Natural Religion" in contrast with the supernatural. In rejecting supernaturalism and submitting to science is presented a theology to which, he says, all men do actually agree, viz., nature in God and God a mere synonym for nature. Hence there is no power beyond or superior to nature nor anything like a cause of nature. Whether we say God or prefer to say nature, the important thing is that our minds are filled with the sense of a power, to all appearance infinite and eternal, a power to which our own being is inseparably connected, in the knowledge of whose ways alone is safety and well-being, in the contemplation of which we find a beatific vision. Religion begins with nature-worship which in its essence is admiration of natural objects and forces. But natural mythology has given place to science, which sees mechanism where will, purpose, and love had been suspected before and drops the name of God, to take up instead the less awful name of Nature. Nature is a name comprehending all the uniform laws of the universe as known in our experience. It is the residuum that is left after the elimination of everything supernatural, and comprehends man with all his thoughts and aspirations not less than the forms of the material world.

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Here, according to Seeley, we have the kernel of Christianity and the purified worship of natural forms, i.e., the higher paganism. He holds that this is not Pantheism, for not the individual forms of nature are the objects of worship, but nature considered as a unity. Art and science as well as morality, form the substance of religion, hence culture is the essence of religion and its fruit is the higher life. Thus religion, in his view in the individual is identified with culture, in its public aspect is identified with civilization. For Seeley the Church is the atmosphere of thought, feeling, and belief that surrounds the State; it is in fact its civilization made more or less tangible and visible. His universal Church is universal civilization. And as culture is a threefold devotion to beauty, goodness, and truth, so the term civilization expresses the same threefold religion, shown on a larger scale in the characters, institutions, and customs of nations. (Cf. ANIMISM ; DEITY; FETISHISM; TOTEMISM ; TRANSCENDENTALISM.)

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Neo-Pythagorean Philosophy

The ethico-religious society founded by Pythagoras, which flourished especially in Magna ...
Neo-Scholasticism

Neo-Scholasticism

Neo-Scholasticism is the development of the Scholasticism of the Middle Ages during the latter ...
Neocæsarea

Neocaesarea (Hierapolis)

A titular see, suffragan of Hierapolis in the Patriarchate of Antioch sometimes called ...
Neocæsarea

Neocaesarea

A titular see of Pontus Polemoniacus, at first called Cabira, one of the favourite residences ...
Neophyte

Neophyte

Neophyte ( neophytoi , the newly planted, i.e. incorporated with the mystic Body of Christ), a ...
Nephtali

Nephtali

(A.V., N APHTALI ) Sixth son of Jacob and Bala ( Genesis 30:8 ). The name is explained ...
Nepi and Sutri

Nepi and Sutri

Nepi and Sutri (Nepsin et Sutrin), united sees of the province of Rome, central Italy, in the ...
Nepveu, Francis

Francis Nepveu

Writer on ascetical subjects, b. at St. Malo, 29 April, 1639; entered the novitiate of the ...
Nereus and Achilleus, Domitilla and Pancratius, Saints

Sts. Nereus and Achilleus, Domitilla and Pancratius

The commemoration of these four Roman saints is made by the Church on 12 May, in common, and ...
Neri, Antonio

Antonio Neri

Florentine chemist, born in Florence ln the sixteenth century; died 1614, place unknown. We have ...
Neri, Saint Philip Romolo

St. Philip Romolo Neri

THE APOSTLE OF ROME. Born at Florence, Italy, 22 July, 1515; died 27 May, 1595. Philip's ...
Nerinckx, Charles

Charles Nerinckx

Missionary priest in Kentucky, founder of the Sisters of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross, born ...
Nero

Nero

Nero, the last Roman emperor (reigned 54-68) of the Julian-Claudian line, was the son of Domitius ...
Nerses I-IV

Nerses I-IV

Armenian patriarchs. Nerses I Surnamed "the Great". Died 373. Born of the royal stock, he ...
Nerses of Lambron

Nerses of Lambron

Born 1153 at Lambron, Cilicia; died 1198; son of Oschin II, prince of Lambron and nephew of the ...
Nestorius and Nestorianism

Nestorius and Nestorianism

I. THE HERESIARCH Nestorius, who gave his name to the Nestorian heresy, was born at Germanicia, ...
Netherlands, The

The Netherlands

( German Niederlande ; French Pays Bas ). The Netherlands, or Low Countries, as organized by ...
Netter, Thomas

Thomas Netter

Theologian and controversialist, b. at Saffron Waldon, Essex, England, about 1375; d. at Rouen, ...
Neugart, Trudpert

Trudpert Neugart

Benedictine historian, born at Villingen, Baden, 23 February, 1742; died at St Paul's ...
Neum

Neum

(Latin, neuma, pneuma, or neupma, from Greek pneûma, a nod). A term in medieval ...
Neumann, Johann Balthasar

Johann Balthasar Neumann

Born 1687 at Eger; died 1753 at Würzburg, master of the rococo style and one of the ...
Neumayr, Franz

Franz Neumayr

Preacher, writer on theological, controversial and ascetical subjects, and author of many ...
Neusohl

Neusohl

Diocese of Neusohl (Hung. Beszterczebànya; Lat. Neosoliensis), founded in 1776 by Maria ...
Neutra

Neutra

(Nitria; Nyitha) -- Diocese of Neutra (Nitriensis). Diocese in Western Hungary, a suffragan of ...
Nevada

Nevada

A Western state of the United States , bounded on the North by Oregon and Idaho, on the East ...
Neve

Neve

Titular see of Arabia, suffragan of Bostra. Two of its bishops are known: Petronius, who ...
Nevers

Nevers

(Nivernum) Diocese ; includes the Department of Nièvre, in France. Suppressed by the ...
Neville

Neville

(1) Edmund Neville ( alias Sales), a Jesuit, born at Hopcut, Lancashire, 1605; died in ...
New Abbey

New Abbey

The Abbey of Sweetheart, named New Abbey Pow, or New Abbey, in order to distinguish it, from ...
New Caledonia

New Caledonia

VICARIATE APOSTOLIC New Caledonia, one of the largest islands of Oceania, lies about 900 miles ...
New Guinea

New Guinea

The second largest island and one of the least known countries of the world, lies immediately ...
New Hampshire

New Hampshire

The most northerly of the thirteen original states of the United States, lying between 70°37' ...
New Jersey

New Jersey

One of the original thirteen states of the American Union. It ratified the Federal Constitution ...
New Mexico

New Mexico

A territory of the United States now (Jan., 1911) awaiting only the completion of its ...
New Norcia

New Norcia

A Benedictine abbey in Western Australia, founded on 1 March, 1846, by a Spanish Benedictine, ...
New Orleans

New Orleans

ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW ORLEANS (NOVÆ AURELIÆ). Erected 25 April, 1793, as the Diocese of ...
New Pomerania

New Pomerania

New Pomerania, the largest island of the Bismarck Archipelago, is separated from New Guinea by ...
New Testament

New Testament

I. Name ; II. Description ; III. Origin ; IV. Transmission of the Text ; V. Contents, History, ...
New Testament, Canon of the

Canon of the New Testament

The Catholic New Testament, as defined by the Council of Trent, does not differ, as regards the ...
New Year's Day

New Year's Day

The word year is etymologically the same as hour (Skeat), and signifies a going, movement ...
New York (Archdiocese)

New York

ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW YORK (NEO-EBORACENSIS). See erected 8 April, 1808; made archiepiscopal 19 ...
New York (State)

State of New York

One of the thirteen colonies of Great Britain, which on 4 July, 1776, adopted the Declaration of ...
New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand—formerly described as a colony—has, since September, 1907, by royal ...
Newark

Newark

(NOVARCENSIS) Diocese created in 1853, suffragan of New York and comprising Hudson, Passaic, ...
Newbattle

Newbattle

( Neubotle , i.e. new dwelling). Newbattle, in the ancient Diocese of St. Andrews, about ...
Newdigate, Blessed Sebastian

Blessed Sebastian Newdigate

Executed at Tyburn, 19 June, 1535. A younger son of John Newdigate of Harefield Place, Middlesex, ...
Newfoundland

Newfoundland

A British colony of North America (area 42,734 square miles), bounded on the north by the Strait ...
Newhouse, Abbey of

Abbey of Newhouse

The Abbey of Newhouse, near Brockelsby, Lincoln, the first Premonstratensian abbey in England, ...
Newman, John Henry

John Henry Newman

(1801-1890) Cardinal-Deacon of St. George in Velabro, divine, philosopher, man of letters, ...
Newport (England)

Newport (England)

(NEOPORTENSIS) This diocese takes its name from Newport, a town of about 70,000 inhabitants, ...
Newton, John

John Newton

A soldier and engineer, born at Norfolk, Virginia, 24 August, 1823; died in New York City, 1 May, ...
Niagara University

Niagara University

Niagara University, situated near Niagara Falls, New York, is conducted by the Vincentians. It ...
Nicéron, Jean-Pierre

Jean-Pierre Niceron

A French lexicographer, born in Paris, 11 March, 1685, died there, 8 July, 1738. After his ...
Nicaea

Nicaea

Titular see of Bithynia Secunda, situated on Lake Ascanius, in a fertile plain, but very ...
Nicaea, First Council of

First Council of Nicaea

First Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church, held in 325 on the occasion of the heresy of ...
Nicaea, Second Council of

Second Council of Nicaea

Seventh Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church, held in 787. (For an account of the ...
Nicaragua

Nicaragua

(REPUBLIC AND DIOCESE OF NICARAGUA; DE NICARAGUA) The diocese, suffragan of Guatemala, is ...
Nicastro

Nicastro

(NEOCASTRENSIS). A city of the Province of Catanzaro, in Calabria, southern Italy, situated ...
Niccola Pisano

Niccola Pisano

Architect and sculptor, b. at Pisa about 1205-07; d. there, 1278. He was the father of modern ...
Nice

Nice

(NICIENSIS) Nice comprises the Department of Alpes-Maritimes. It was re-established by the ...
Nicene Creed

Nicene Creed

As approved in amplified form at the Council of Constantinople (381), it is the profession of the ...
Nicephorus, Saint

St. Nicephorus

Patriarch of Constantinople, 806-815, b. about 758; d. 2 June, 829. This champion of the orthodox ...
Nicetas

Nicetas

(NICETA) A Bishop of Remesiana (Romatiana) in what is now Servia, born about 335; died ...
Nicetius, Saint

St. Nicetius

A Bishop of Trier, born in the latter part of the fifth century, exact date unknown; died in ...
Niche

Niche

A recess for the reception of a statue, so designed as to give it emphasis, frame it effectively, ...
Nicholas Garlick, Venerable

Ven. Nicholas Garlick

Priest and martyr, born at Dinting, Derbyshire, c. 1555; died at Derby, 24 July, 1588. He ...
Nicholas I, Saint, Pope

Pope Saint Nicholas I

Born at Rome, date unknown; died 13 November, 867. One of the great popes of the Middle ...
Nicholas II, Pope

Pope Nicholas II

(GERHARD OF BURGUNDY) Nicholas was born at Chevron, in what is now Savoy ; elected at Siena, ...
Nicholas III, Pope

Pope Nicholas III

(GIOVANNI GAETANI ORSINI) Born at Rome, c. 1216; elected at Viterbo, 25 November, 1277; died ...
Nicholas IV, Pope

Pope Nicholas IV

(GIROLAMO MASCI) Born at Ascoli in the Rome, 4 April, 1292. He was of humble extraction, ...
Nicholas Justiniani

Nicholas Justiniani

Date of birth unknown, became monk in the Benedictine monastery of San Niccoló del Lido ...
Nicholas of Cusa

Nicholas of Cusa

German cardinal, philosopher, and administrator, b. at Cues on the Moselle, in the Archdiocese ...
Nicholas of Flüe, Blessed

Blessed Nicholas of Flue

(D E R UPE ). Born 21 March, 1417, on the Flüeli, a fertile plateau near Sachseln, ...
Nicholas of Gorran

Nicholas of Gorran

(Or GORRAIN) Medieval preacher, and scriptural commentator; b. in 1232 at Gorron, France ; ...
Nicholas of Lyra

Nicholas of Lyra

( Doctor planus et utilis ) Exegete, b. at Lyra in Normandy, 1270; d. at Paris, 1340. The ...
Nicholas of Myra, Saint

St. Nicholas of Myra

( Also called NICHOLAS OF BARI). Bishop of Myra in Lycia; died 6 December, 345 or 352. ...
Nicholas of Osimo

Nicholas of Osimo

(AUXIMANUS). A celebrated preacher and author, b. at Osimo, Italy, in the second half of the ...
Nicholas of Strasburg

Nicholas of Strasburg

Mystic ; flourished early in the fourteenth century. Educated at Paris, he was later on lector ...
Nicholas of Tolentino, Saint

St. Nicholas of Tolentino

Born at Sant' Angelo, near Fermo, in the Hermits of St. Augustine -- a star above him or on his ...
Nicholas Owen, Saint

St. Nicholas Owen

A Jesuit lay-brother, martyred in 1606. There is no record of his parentage, birthplace, date ...
Nicholas Pieck, Saint

St. Nicholas Pieck

(Also spelled PICK). Friar Minor and martyr, b. at Gorkum, Holland, 29 August, 1534; d. at ...
Nicholas V, Pope

Pope Nicholas V

(TOMMASO PARENTUCELLI) A name never to be mentioned without reverence by every lover of ...
Nichols, Venerable George

Ven. George Nichols

(Or NICOLLS). English martyr, born at Oxford about 1550; executed at Oxford, 19 October, ...
Nicholson, Francis

Francis Nicholson

A controversial writer; b. at Manchester, 1650 ( baptized 27 Oct.); d. at Lisbon, 13 Aug., 1731. ...
Nicodemus

Nicodemus

A prominent Jew of the time of Christ, mentioned only in the Fourth Gospel . The name is of ...
Nicodemus, Gospel of

Acta Pilati

(Or the Gospel of Nicodemus.) This work does not assume to have written by Pilate, but to have ...
Nicolò de' Tudeschi

Nicolo De' Tudeschi

("abbas modernus" or "recentior", "abbas Panormitanus" or "Siculus") A Benedictine canonist, ...
Nicolaï, Jean

Jean Nicolai

Celebrated Dominican theologian and controversialist, b. in 1594 at Mouzay in the Diocese of ...
Nicolaites

Nicolaites Or Nicolaitans

(Also called Nicolaitans), a sect mentioned in the Apocalypse (ii,6,15) as existing in ...
Nicolas, Armella

Armella Nicolas

Popularly known as "La bonne Armelle", a saintly French serving-maid held in high veneration among ...
Nicolas, Auguste

Auguste Nicolas

French apologist, b. at Bordeaux, 6 Jan., 1807; d. at Versailles 18 Jan., 1888. He first studied ...
Nicolaus Germanus

Nicolaus Germanus

(Often called "Donis" from a misapprehension of the title "Donnus" or "Donus" an abbreviated form ...
Nicole, Pierre

Pierre Nicole

Theologian and controversialist, b. 19 October, 1625, at Chartres, d. 16 November, 1695, at ...
Nicolet

Nicolet

(NICOLETANA) Diocese in the Province of Quebec, Canada, suffragan of Quebec. It comprises the ...
Nicomedes, Saint

Saint Nicomedes

Martyr of unknown era, whose feast is observed 15 September. The Roman Martyrologium and the ...
Nicomedia

Nicomedia

Titular see of Bithynia Prima, founded by King Zipoetes. About 264 B.C. his son Nicodemes I ...
Nicopolis

Nicopolis (Armenia Prima)

A titular see, suffragan of Sebasteia, in Armenia Prima. Founded by Pompey after his decisive ...
Nicopolis

Nicopolis

(NICOPOLITANA) Diocese in Bulgaria. The city of Nicopolis (Thrace or Moesia), situated at the ...
Nicopolis

Nicopolis

A titular see and metropolis in ancient Epirus. Augustus founded the city (B.C. 31) on a ...
Nicosia

Nicosia (Sicily)

A city of the Province of Catania, in Sicily situated at a height of about 2800 feet above the ...
Nicosia

Nicosia (Cyprus)

Titular archdiocese in the Province of Cyprus. It is now agreed (Oberhummer' "Aus Cypern" in ...
Nicotera and Tropea

Nicotera and Tropea

(NICOTERENSIS ET TROPEIENSIS) Suffragan diocese of Reggio di Calabria. Nicotera, the ancient ...
Nider, John

John Nider

Theologian, b. 1380 in Swabia; d. 13 August, 1438, at Colmar. He entered the Order of Preachers ...
Nieremberg y Otin, Juan Eusebio

Juan Eusebio Nieremberg y Otin

Noted theologian and polygraphist, b. of German parents at Madrid, 1595; d. there, 1658. ...
Niessenberger, Hans

Hans Niessenberger

An architect of the latter part of the Middle Ages, whose name is mentioned with comparative ...
Niger, Peter George

Peter George Niger

(NIGRI, German SCHWARTZ) Dominican theologian, preacher and controversialist, b. 1434 at ...
Nigeria

Upper and Lower Nigeria

A colony of British East Africa extending from the Gulf of Guinea to Lake Chad (from 4° 30' ...
Nihilism

Nihilism

The term was first used by Turgeniev in his novel, "Fathers and Sons" (in "Russkij Vestnik", Feb., ...
Nihus, Barthold

Barthold Nihus

Convert and controversialist, b. at Holtorf in Hanover, 7 February, 1590 (according to other ...
Nikolaus von Dinkelsbühl

Nikolaus von Dinkelsbuhl

Theologian, b. c. 1360, at Dinkelsbühl; d. 17 March, 1433, at Mariazell in Styria. He ...
Nikon

Nikon

Patriarch of Moscow (1652-1658; d. 1681). He was of peasant origin, born in the district of ...
Nilles, Nikolaus

Nikolaus Nilles

Born 21 June, 1828, of a wealthy peasant family of Rippweiler, Luxemburg ; died 31 January, ...
Nilopolis

Nilopolis

A titular see and a suffragan of Oxyrynchos, in Egypt. According to Ptolemy (IV, v, 26) the ...
Nilus the Younger

Nilus the Younger

Of Rossano, in Calabria; born in 910, died 27 December, 1005. For a time he was married (or ...
Nilus, Saint

St. Nilus

( Neilos ) Nilus the elder, of Sinai (died c. 430), was one of the many disciples and ...
Nimbus

Nimbus

(Latin, related to Nebula, nephele , properly vapour, cloud), in art and archaeology signifies ...
Nimrod

Nemrod

Also N IMROD ( nmrd of uncertain signification, Septuagint Nebród ). The name of ...
Ninian, Saint

Saint Ninian

(NINIAS, NINUS, DINAN, RINGAN, RINGEN) Bishop and confessor ; date of birth unknown; died ...
Nirschl, Joseph

Joseph Nirschl

Theologian and writer, b. at Durchfurth, Lower Bavaria, 24 February, 1823; d. at ...
Nisibis

Nisibis

A titular Archdiocese of Mesopotamia, situated on the Mygdonius at the foot of Mt. Masius. It is ...
Nithard

Nithard

Frankish historian, son of Angilbert and Bertha, daughter of Charlemagne ; died about 843 or ...
Noah

Noah

[Hebrew Nôah , "rest"; Greek Noah ; Latin Noah ]. The ninth patriarch of the ...
Noah's Ark

Noah's Ark

The Hebrew name to designate Noah's Ark, the one which occurs again in the history of Moses' ...
Noailles, Louis-Antoine de

Louis-Antoine de Noailles

Cardinal and bishop, b. at the Château of Teyssiére in Auvergne, France, 27 May, ...
Nobili, Robert de'

Robert De' Nobili

Born at Montepulciano, Tuscany, September, 1577; died at Mylapore, India, in 1656. He entered the ...
Noble, Daniel

Daniel Noble

Physician, b. 14 Jan., 1810; d. at Manchester, 12 Jan, 1885. He was the son of Mary Dewhurst and ...
Nocera

Nocera

DIOCESE OF NOCERA (NUCERINENSIS) Diocese in Perugia, Umbria, Italy, near the sources of the ...
Nocera dei Pagani

Nocera Dei Pagani

(NUCERIN PAGANORUM; dei Pagani ="of the Pagans") Diocese in Salermo, Italy, at the foot of ...
Nocturns

Nocturns

( Nocturni or Nocturna ). A very old term applied to night Offices. Tertullian speaks of ...
Nogaret, Guillaume de

Guillaume de Nogaret

Born about the middle of the thirteenth century at St. Felix-en-Lauragais; died 1314; he was one ...
Nola

Nola

(NOLANA) Diocese ; suffragan of Naples. The city of Nola in the Italian Province of Caserta, ...
Nola, Giovanni Marliano da

Giovanni Marliano da Nola

Sculptor and architect, b., it is said, of a leather merchant named Giuseppe, at Nola, near ...
Nolasco, Saint Peter

St. Peter Nolasco

Born at Mas-des-Saintes-Puelles, near Castelnaudary, France, in 1189 (or 1182); died at ...
Nollet, Jean-Antoine

Jean-Antoine Nollet

Physicist, b. at Pimpré, Oise, France, 19 November, 1700; d. at Paris, 25 April, 1770. His ...
Nominalism, Realism, Conceptualism

Nominalism, Realism, Conceptualism

These terms are used to designate the theories that have been proposed as solutions of one of the ...
Nomination

Nomination

The various methods of designating persons for ecclesiastical benefices or offices have been ...
Nomocanon

Nomocanon

(From the Greek nomos , law, and kanon , a rule) A collection of ecclesiastical law, the ...
Non Expedit

Non Expedit

("It is not expedient"). Words with which the Holy See enjoined upon Italian Catholics the ...
Non-Jurors

Non-Jurors

The name given to the Anglican Churchmen who in 1689 refused to take the oath of allegiance to ...
Nonantola

Nonantola

A former Benedictine monastery and prelature nullius , six miles north-east of Modena ...
Nonconformists

Nonconformists

A name which, in its most general acceptation, denotes those refusing to conform with the ...
None

None

This subject will be treated under the following heads: I. Origin of None; II. None from the ...
Nonnotte, Claude-Adrien

Claude-Adrien Nonnotte

Controversialist; b. in Besançon, 29 July, 1711; d. there, 3 September, 1793. At nineteen ...
Nonnus

Nonnus

Nonnus, of Panopolis in Upper Egypt (c. 400), the reputed author of two poems in hexameters; ...
Norbert, Saint

St. Norbert

Born at Kanten on the left bank of the Rhine, near Wesel, c. 1080; died at Magdeburg, 6 June, ...
Norbertines

Premonstratensian Canons

(C ANONICI R EGULARES P RÆMONSTRATENSES ). Founded in 1120 by St. Norbert at ...
Norcia

Norcia

(NORSIN). A diocese and city in Perugia, Italy, often mentioned in Roman history. In the ...
Norfolk, Catholic Dukes of

Post-Reformation Catholic Dukes of Norfolk

(Since the Reformation) Under this title are accounts only of the prominent Catholic Dukes of ...
Noris, Henry

Henry Noris

Cardinal, b. at Verona, 29 August, 1631, of English ancestry; d. at Rome, 23 Feb., 1704. He ...
Normandy

Normandy

An ancient French province, from which five "departments" were formed in 1790: ...
Norris, Sylvester

Sylvester Norris

( Alias SMITH, NEWTON). Controversial writer and English missionary priest ; b. 1570 or ...
Norsemen

Northmen (Vikings)

The Scandinavians who, in the ninth and tenth centuries, first ravaged the coasts of Western ...
North Carolina

North Carolina

One of the original thirteen States of the United States, is situated between 33° 53' and ...
North Dakota

North Dakota

One of the United States of America , originally included in the Louisiana Purchase. Little was ...
Northampton

Northampton

(NORTANTONIENSIS) Diocese in England, comprises the Counties of Northampton, Bedford, ...
Northcote, James Spencer

James Spencer Northcote

Born at Feniton Court, Devonshire, 26 May, 1821; d. at Stoke-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, 3 March, ...
Northern Territory

Northern Territory

(Prefecture Apostolic) The Northern Territory, formerly Alexander Land, is that part of ...
Northmen

Northmen (Vikings)

The Scandinavians who, in the ninth and tenth centuries, first ravaged the coasts of Western ...
Norton, Christopher

Christopher Norton

Martyr ; executed at Tyburn, 27 May, 1570. His father was Richard Norton of Norton Conyers, ...
Norway

Norway

Norway, comprising the smaller division of the Scandinavian peninsula, is bounded on the east by ...
Norwich, Ancient Diocese of

Ancient Diocese of Norwich

(NORDOVICUM; NORVICUM). Though this see took its present name only in the eleventh century, ...
Notaries

Notaries

( Latin notarius ). Persons appointed by competent authority to draw up official or authentic ...
Notburga

Jean-Baptiste Nothomb

Jean-Baptiste Belgian statesman, b. 3 July, 1805, at Messancy, Luxemburg ; d. at Berlin, 16 ...
Notburga, Saint

St. Notburga

Patroness of servants and peasants, b. c. 1265 at Rattenberg on the Inn; d. c. 16 September, 1313. ...
Nothomb, Jean-Baptiste

Jean-Baptiste Nothomb

Jean-Baptiste Belgian statesman, b. 3 July, 1805, at Messancy, Luxemburg ; d. at Berlin, 16 ...
Notitia Dignitatum

Notitia Dignitatum

(Register of Offices). The official handbook of the civil and military officials in the later ...
Notitia Provinciarum et Civitatum Africae

Notitia Provinciarum Et Civitatum Africae

(List of the Provinces and Cities of Africa). A list of the bishops and their sees in the ...
Notitiae Episcopatuum

Notitiae Episcopatuum

The name given to official documents that furnish for Eastern countries the list and hierarchical ...
Notker

Notker

Among the various monks of St. Gall who bore this name, the following are the most important: ...
Noto

Noto

(NETEN). Noto, the ancient Netum and after the Saracen conquest the capital of one of the ...
Notoriety, Notorious

Notoriety

( Latin Notorietas, notorium , from notus , known). Notoriety is the quality or the ...
Notre Dame de Montreal, Congregation of

Congregation of Notre Dame de Montreal

Marguerite Bourgeoys, the foundress, was born at Troyes, France, 17 April, 1620. She was the ...
Notre Dame, School Sisters of

School Sisters of Notre Dame

A religious community devoted to education. In the United Sates they have conducted parish ...
Notre Dame, Sisters of (of Cleveland, Ohio)

Sisters of Notre Dame (Cleveland, Ohio)

A branch of the congregation founded by Blessed Julie Billiart. In 1850, Father Elting of ...
Notre Dame, University of

University of Notre Dame

(Full name is the University of Notre Dame du Lac ). Notre Dame is located in Northern ...
Notre-Dame de Namur, Institute of

Institute of Notre-Dame de Namur

Founded in 1803 at Amiens, France, by Bl. Julie Billiart (b. 1751 d. 1816) and ...
Notre-Dame de Sion, Congregation of

Congregation of Notre-Dame de Sion

Religious institute of women, founded at Paris in May 1843, by Marie-Théodore and ...
Nottingham

Nottingham

(NOTTINGHAMIEN) One of the original twelve English dioceses created at the time of the ...
Nourrisson, Jean-Felix

Jean-Felix Nourrisson

Philosopher, b. at Thiers, Department of Puy-de-Dôme, 18 July, 1825; d. at Paris, 13 June, ...
Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia

I. GEOGRAPHY Nova Scotia is one of the maritime provinces of Canada. It forms part of what was ...
Novara

Novara

(NOVARIENSIS). A diocese and the capital of the province of Novara, Piedmont, Italy, noted ...
Novatianism

Novatian and Novatianism

Novatian was a schismatic of the third century, and founder of the sect of the Novatians; he ...
Novatus, Saint

St. Novatus

St. Novatus, who is mentioned on 20 June with his brother, the martyr Timotheus, was the son of ...
Novello, Blessed Agostino

Bl. Agostino Novello

(Matteo Di Termini), born in the first half of the thirteenth century, at Termini, a village of ...
Novena

Novena

(From novem , nine.) A nine days' private or public devotion in the Catholic Church to ...
Novice

Novice

I. DEFINITION AND REQUIREMENTS The word novice , which among the Romans meant a newly acquired ...
Nubia

Nubia

Located in North-eastern Africa, extending from Sennar south to beyond Khartoum and including the ...
Nueva Cáceres

Nueva Caceres

(NOVA CACERES) Diocese created in 1595 by Clement VIII ; it is one of the four suffragan ...
Nueva Pamplona

Nueva Pamplona

(NEO-PAMPILONENSIS). Diocese in Colombia, South America, founded in 1549 and a see erected by ...
Nueva Segovia

Nueva Segovia

(NOVAE SEGOBIAE) Diocese in the Philippines, so called from Segovia, a town in Spain. The town ...
Nugent, Francis

Francis Nugent

Priest of the Franciscan Capuchin Order, founder of the Irish and the Rhenish Provinces of said ...
Nugent, James

James Nugent

Philanthropist, temperance advocate and social reformer b. 3 March, 1822 at Liverpool ; d. 27 ...
Numbers, Use of, in the Church

Use of Numbers in the Church

No attentive reader of the Old Testament can fail to notice that a certain sacredness seems to ...
Numismatics

Numismatics

(From the Greek nomisma , "legal currency") Numismatics is the science of coins and of ...
Nun of Kent

Elizabeth Barton

Born probably in 1506; executed at Tyburn, 20 April, 1534; called the "Nun of Kent." The career of ...
Nunc Dimittis

Nunc Dimittis

(The Canticle of Simeon). Found in St. Luke's Gospel (2:29-32) , is the last in historical ...
Nuncio

Nuncio

An ordinary and permanent representative of the pope, vested with both political and ...
Nunez, Pedro

Pedro Nunez (Nonius)

(Pedro Nonius). Mathematician and astronomer, b. at Alcacer-do-Sol, 1492; d. at Coimbra, ...
Nuns

Nuns

I. ORIGIN AND HISTORY The institution of nuns and sisters, who devote themselves in various ...
Nuptial Mass

Nuptial Mass

"Missa pro sponso et sponsa", the last among the votive Masses in the Missal. It is composed of ...
Nuremberg

Nuremberg

(NÜRNBERG) The second largest city in Bavaria, situated in a plain on both sides of the ...
Nusco

Nusco

(N USCANA ) Diocese in the province of Avellino, Italy, suffragan of Salerno ; dates from ...
Nussbaum, Johannn Nepomuk von

Johann Nepomuk von Nussbaum

German surgeon, b. at Munich 2 Sept., 1829; d. there 31 Oct., 1890. He made his studies in the ...
Nutter, Robert, Ven.

Ven. Robert Nutter

English martyr ; b. at Burnley, Lancashire, c. 1550; executed at Lancaster, 26 July, 1600. He ...
Nuyens, Wilhelmus

Wilhelmus Nuyens

Historian, b. 18 August, 1823, at Avenhorn in Holland ; d. 10 December, 1894, at Westwoud near ...
Nyassa

Nyassa

Vicariate Apostolic in Central Africa, bounded north by the Anglo-German frontier, east by Lake ...
Nympha, Tryphon, and Respicius

Tryphon, Respicius, and Nympha

Martyrs whose feast is observed in the Latin Church on 10 November. Tryphon is said to have ...
Nyssa

Nyassa

Vicariate Apostolic in Central Africa, bounded north by the Anglo-German frontier, east by Lake ...
Nyssa

Nyssa (Cappadocia Prima)

A titular see in Cappadocia Prima, suffragan of Caesarea. It is mentioned by Ptolemy (V, vii, ...

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