Style Guide

About This Style Guide

This stylebook is written for journalists working at Mount Angel Seminary in St. Benedict, Oregon.  It is not a dictionary or an encyclopedia of religion.  Many religious terms and expectations are not included.  The guide addresses the most common style-related concerns at MAS.  Some terms, though important theologically, are described in more or less detail than others based on what is commonly known, understood, or misunderstood.

MAS Journalism uses the Associated Press Style in most instances, so whatever is not included in this Style Guide can likely be found in The Associated Press Stylebook.  There are slight differences from AP Style according to institutional standards, culture, and expectations at MAS.  Most of the general guidelines and common terms are borrowed from The Associated Press Style Book and Reporting on Religion 2: A Stylebook on Journalism's Best Beat.  Just as the AP Stylebook is in constant review, so too will this style guide endure revisions.

To suggest an entry for addition, email Sr. Hilda Kleiman at

General Guidelines

Ampersand (&): The ampersand should not be used in place of "and" unless it is part of a company or organizations formal name: House & Garden, Proctor & Gamble.

Bylines: Each story should include a byline, such as "By John Smith."

Captions: Photos should have captions that describe the actions, persons, or subjects in complete sentences.  The first sentence should describe what the photo shows, in the present tense, and state where and when the photo was made (e.g. Friday, Jan. 29, 2003).  The second sentence of the caption gives background on the news event or describes why the photo is significant.  Whenever possible, try to keep captions to no more than two concise sentences, while including the relevant information.  Photo credit should be identified in the caption.

Cities and states: Cites should be fully spelled unless an abbreviation is common (as in St. Benedict or St. Louis).  States should be fully spelled out when they appear alone and abbreviated when next to a city according to the guidelines below.  Unless a city is a major city (such as New York, Boston, or Los Angeles), it should always be listed with the state abbreviation.

Eight states are not abbreviated: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas, Utah. (Memory device: the two non-continental states and any states that are five letters or less)

Abbreviations: Use whenever listing a city and state with a comma between the two and a comma always immediately following the state.  He was traveling from Nashville, Tenn., to Austin, Texas, en route to his home in Albuquerque, N.M.  She said Cook County, Ill, was Mayor Daley's stronghold.

Ala. (AL)        Ariz. (AZ)           Ark. (AR)          Calif. (CA)
Colo. (CO)     Conn. (CT)         Del. (DE)          Fla. (FL)
Ga. (GA)        Ill. (IL)                Ind. (IN)            Kansas (KS)
Ky. (KY)        La. (LA)              Md. (MD)          Mass. (MA)
Mich. (MI)     Minn. (MN)         Miss. (MS)         Mo. (MO)
Mont. (MT)    Neb. (NE)          Nev. (NV)          N.H. (NH)
N.J. (NJ)        N.M. (NM)         N.C. (NC)          N.D. (ND)
N.Y. (NY)      Okla. (OK)         Ore. (OR)           Pa. (PA)
R.I. (RI)         S.C. (SC)           S.D. (SD)          Tenn. (TN)
Vt. (VT)         Va. (VA)            Wash. (WA)       W. Va. (WV)
Wis. (WI)       Wyo. (WY)

Dates: If using the month, date, and year, the format is: Jan. 24, 2014 (month should be abbreviated).  If the month and year: January 2014 (no abbreviation for month).  If day and month: Jan. 24 (month should be abbreviated).  Abbreviations for months: Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.

Foreign Words: Some foreign words and abbreviations have been universally accepted into the English language: bon voyage, versus (vs.), et cetera (etc.)  They may be used without explanation if they are clear in the context.  Many foreign words and their abbreviations are not understood universally, although they may be used in special applications such as medical, religious, or legal terminology.  If such a word or phrase is needed in a story, place it in quotation marks and provide an explanation: "ad astra per aspera," a Latin phrase meaning "to the stars through difficulty."

Headlines should generally include a subject, verb, and object.  Key words should be capitalized.

Names: The following abbreviations are appropriate to use on first reference as titles before names:
Father - Fr.                 Sister - Sr.                Brother - Br.
Monsignor - Msgr.      Reverend - Rev.       Deacon - Dc.*
For a man - Mr.          For a woman - Ms.    Doctor - Dr.
*Deacons may also be identified as Rev. Mr.

There are not approved abbreviations for Abbot, Archbishop, Bishop, Cardinal, Mother, Mother Superior, Provincial Superior, Prioress, or other titles.

On first reference, individuals associated with a religious order should have the initials of the order follow their name.  The initials should be preceded by a comma and have periods between the letters or abbreviations.  For example:
Br. Matthew Smith, O.S.B.
Fr. Javier Gonzalez, M.Sp.S.
Sr. Jane Smith, O.C.D.

Seminarians should be identified by first full and last name and (arch)diocese on first reference.  For example:
John Smith of the Diocese of Sacramento
Frank Miller, seminarian for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles

On second reference, individuals should be identified by last name only.  See Religious titles.

Numbers: Zero to nine, write the numbers using letters.  10 and above, use Arabic numerals.  Try to avoid beginning sentences with numbers.  Some punctuation and usage examples:
John Smith #34 drives to the basket against Multnomah University
Jimmy Carter defeated Gerald Ford 40,827,292 to 39,146,157
No. 3 choice, but Public School 3
0.6 percent, 1 percent, 6.5 percent
5 cents, $1.05, $650,000, $2.45 million
a pay increase of 12 percent to 15 percent
Act 1, Scene 2
a 5-year-old girl
DC-10 but 747B
a 5-4 court decision
the 1980s, the '80s
the House voted 230-205
a 4-3 score
from $12 million to $14 million
(350) 262-4600
a ratio of 2-to-1, a 2-1 ratio
minus 10, zero, 60 degrees

Past tense: Unless in rare cases, stories should be in the past tense.  Verbs should be in the past tense: said, did, was.

Religious references: Follow AP Style with some exceptions.

deities: Capitalize the proper names of deities from monotheistic religions: God, Allah, the Father, the Son, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit.  However, lowercase pronouns referring to the deities (such as he).

life of Christ: Capitalize the names of major events in Jesus Christ's life in which his name in not used, such as the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, the Nativity.  The same guidelines apply to Jesus' mother.

rites: Capitalize proper names for rites commemorating the Last Supper or that signify a belief in Christ's presence, such as the Lord's Supper, Holy Communion, Holy Eucharist.  The word communion alone is lowercase.  Uppercase names of the other sacraments whether named or just as a stand alone, such as Sacrament of Confirmation or just Confirmation. Capitalize Benediction when referring to the Catholic religious service with that name, but not when referring to other rites or acts of blessing.  Capitalize Mass, but lowercase preceding adjectives, such as funeral Mass.

holy days: Capitalize the names of holy days, such as Easter or the Annunciation.

other references: Lowercase heaven, hell, and devil. Capitalize Hades and Satan.  Exceptions to AP: Lowercase angel unless it precedes a name, such as the Angel Gabriel. Lowercase apostle unless it precedes the name of one of the original Twelve Apostles or Paul, or refers to those Apostles collectively.

Religious titles: A pope should be referred by full papal name on first reference, as in Pope Benedict XVI.  On subsequent references, use the pope, the pontiff, or just his papal name (without Roman numerals), as in Benedict.  Catholics also refer to the pope as the Holy Father, a term that should be used only in quotes.

For cardinals, archbishops, bishops, and deacons, capitalize the title when used with a name on first reference, as in Cardinal Bernard Law, but lowercase otherwise.  On second reference, use just the person's last name.

For priests, use the Rev. or Fr. before the name on the first reference; on subsequent references use just the last name. Monsignor should be substituted if a priest has that title.

For nuns, sisters, and brothers, capitalize sister, mother, or brother before the name on first reference.  In subsequent references, use just the last name for those who keep surnames; otherwise, continue to use the full name, as in Mother Teresa.

Scores: Mount Angel's score should appear first with the opposing team score second separated by a hyphen, such as 97-86, 17-25, 2-3, or 13-15.

Sports teams for MAS may be identified using the following terms: basketball team, volleyball team, soccer team, Guardians, Mount Angel Guardians, Mount Angel Seminary, MAS, or MAS Guardians.

Time: The numeral should be used followed by a.m. or p.m.  It is acceptable to use a single numeral for a time on the hour (such as 4 p.m.)  For other times, the hour and minutes should be separated by a colon as usual (4:15 p.m., 8:29 a.m.)  For a designated time period, the word "to" should appear between beginning and ending time (11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)  Avoid such phrasing as "9 in the morning," "noon," "midnight," or other descriptions of time.

Common Terms

Abbey, The: The building on the east side of the hilltop that houses the Benedictine monks.  Should be capitalized.

Abbey Church: The building on the east side of the hilltop. Should be capitalized and include "Church" each time it is named.

altar: A raised structure, typically a table, used to perform religious rituals.  Notice: not the verb alter.

Annunciation: The building on the south side of the hilltop with offices and classrooms.  Should be capitalized and should not include "Hall" or any other term to label it.

Anselm Hall: The building on the north side of the hilltop with offices, classrooms, and residences for undergraduates and pre-theologians.  Should be capitalized and include "Hall" at least on first reference.

Anselm Chapel: Should be capitalized.

Aquinas Chapel: Should be capitalized.

Aquinas Hall: The building on the north side of the hilltop with the refectory/dining room and residences for theologians. Should be capitalized and include "Hall" at least on first reference.  Includes Aquinas Dining Hall.

Apostles, apostles: Uppercase when referring individually or collectively to Jesus' Twelve Apostles, as in, "Peter was known as Simon before he became an Apostle."

Apostles' Creed: A profession of Christian faith that is accepted in the Roman Catholic Church as an official creed and has similar standing in many Protestant churches.

apostolic: Generally refers back to Jesus' Twelve Apostles, or the time when they lived, their beliefs or their successors, the bishops.  In Catholicism, the term usually refers to acts carried out by the pope as the successor of the Apostle Peter.  Most New Testament scholars consider Paul an Apostle, although he was not one of the original 12.

archbishop: Capitalize only when used as a formal title before a name, such as Archbishop Alexander Sample.

archdiocese: Lowercase except when attached to a formal name, such as the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon.

baptism: Lowercase except when used as a formal sacramental term, as in the Sacrament of Baptism.

Benediction: Blessing.  Capitalize when referring to a Catholic religious service with prayers, hymns and the adoration of the displayed Eucharist.  Lowercase when referring to other rites or acts of blessing.

Bible: Capitalize when referring to the Scriptures in the Old Testament or the New Testament.  Use lowercase biblical in all uses and bible as a nonreligious term.

bishop: Capitalize when used as a formal title before a name. On second reference, use only the cleric's last name, as in Bishop Smith.  Lowercase bishop in other uses.

Blessed Virgin: See Virgin Mary, the.

brother: A man who has taken vows in a Christian religious order but is not ordained.  Capitalize before a name but not otherwise.  On first reference, generally identify the religious community by initials following the name or otherwise, as in Carmelite Brother John Smith or Brother John Smith, OCD. On second reference, use the first name and abbreviated title if the person is known that way, such as Br. John.  Should not be used for a specific person without their name, as in brother instead of Br. John.

cardinal: Capitalize when used as a formal title before a name, as in Cardinal Avery Dulles.  On second reference, use only the cardinal's last name, as in Cardinal Dulles.

cathedral: Capitalize when used as a formal title before or after a name, as in St. John's Cathedral.  Otherwise use lowercase.

Catholic, catholic: When capitalized, the word refers specifically to that branch of Christianity headed by the pope, the Roman Catholic Church.  In lowercase, the word is a synonym for universal or worldwide, as in the catholic church.

celebrant: One who conducts a religious rite, especially a Christian priest.

church: Has multiple meanings.  It can mean a building, a gathering of people, a civilly incorporated body, the sum total of all Christians on the planet, or an idea in the mind of God. When reading formal documents of the Catholic Church, it is especially important to figure out which of these definitions is operative.  Capitalize as part of the formal name of a building or as part of the institution of the Roman Catholic Church or Catholic Church.  Lowercase in phrases where the church is used in an institutional sense, as in separation of church and state.

clergy, cleric: Priests, ministers, rabbis, and others who are ordained by specific religious bodies to perform official duties. Most denominations have specific requirements for education, training, and the selection process.  The singular form is cleric.

coach: Lowercase as a job description, not a formal title. Capitalize only when substituted for a name as a term of address.

communion: Most frequently refers to the commemoration of the meal that, according to the New Testament, was instituted by Jesus on the night before his crucifixion.  Other terms include Holy Communion, the Lord's Supper, and Eucharist, the Greek word for "thanksgiving."  Communion can also refer to a grouping of churches that share the same beliefs and practices, as in the Anglican Communion.

conclave: In the Roman Catholic Church, when members of the College of Cardinals gather to elect a new pope.

confess, confessed, confession: An integral part of historic Christian practice.  Confession can mean either to admit one's sins or to profess the Christian faith.  In the Roman Catholic Church, individual confession is part of the sacrament of penance and reconciliation, in which a baptized person admits his or her sins to the priest, who can then absolve the person in the name of Christ through the power conferred through ordination.  Absolution is granted if a penitent displayed genuine remorse and a commitment not to repeat the sin.

confirmation: A reaffirming of faith in Christ.  It is a sacrament in the Roman Catholic Church, typically conferred in the early teens, although it may be received as young as the age of seven.  Eastern Catholics confer it with infant baptism.  Other churches, particularly those that practice infant baptism, consider it a formal rite of passage that includes education in the faith.

consubstantiation: The doctrine that Jesus becomes spiritually present in the bread and wine when it is blessed by an ordained minister during communion.  It is followed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the United Methodist Church, and other denominations.

Consubstantiation contrasts with transubstantiation, practiced by the Roman Catholic Church, which teaches that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ during the Eucharist.  Other churches believe the bread and wine are symbols of Christ's body and blood.  See communion, transubstantiation.

creationism: In the United States, creationism usually refers to the belief that the Bible's account of creation is literally true and accurate.  That generally means Genesis 1-2:4a, where God creates the Earth and all its life forms in six consecutive 24-hour days less than 10,000 years ago.  (Genesis also tells a second creation story, in 2:4b-24, in which man is created before the Earth's vegetation, and specific days are not described.)

creed: A statement of religious belief or faith that encapsulates official teaching.  Most have developed over time amid religious and political debates.  The word creed is based on the Latin word credo, which means I believe.  The most common creeds in Christianity are the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed.

cross: A universal sign of Christianity associated with Jesus Christ's crucifixion by the Romans.  A cross is different from a crucifix, which has an image of the crucified Jesus.

Curia: Shortened and acceptable form for the Roman Curia, the Roman Catholic Church's central administrative offices.  Also used for diocesan administrative offices.  Lowercase in other uses.

Daily Office: Set times of daily Christian prayer dating to ancient days.  Various forms of the Daily Office are observed widely in the liturgical traditions, especially Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Anglicanism.

Damian Center: The building on the west side of the hilltop with the gym, offices, classrooms, weight room, and athletic facilities.  Should be capitalized and should use "Center" every time it is named.  Often misspelled as Damien Center.

deacon: In liturgical churches, such as the Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican, a deacon is ordained and operates as a subordinate and assistant to priests and ministers.  Uppercase before a name.  The Catholic Church reconstituted its diaconate as a permanent order at the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.  The office had a significant role in the early church but gradually fell out of use in Western Christianity.  Permanent deacons, as they are known, are not lay people.  They can celebrate the so-called "life-cycle" sacraments, such as baptism, marriage, and funerals.  They cannot celebrate the Eucharist, as a priest can, or hear confessions.  In contrast to permanent deacons, transitional deacons are in the process of becoming a priest.

decade: In Catholicism, the beads of a rosary are separated into five groups of 10, called decades.  Each decade represents a mystery or event in the life of Jesus Christ. There are four sets of mysteries for a total of 20.  See rosary.

denomination: A word that can be applied to any Christian body, though some traditions object strongly to its use.  For example, the Catholic and Orthodox churches object to its underlying philosophical assumption that they are just various brand names for a single Christian tradition.  Baptists (especially independent Baptists), the Churches of Christ and some strongly congregational groups strenuously object to the notion that they are in any way an organized bureaucracy. They like to think of themselves as "fellowships."  Christian bodies can be substituted to avoid any potential controversy.

devil: The word is lowercase, but capitalize Satan.

diocese, dioceses, diocesan: Capitalize diocese when part of a proper name.  See archdiocese.

disciple: A follower.  In religious terms it is a person who has committed his or her life to belief in a faith.  In Christianity, Jesus has 12 original disciples, also known as Apostles.

Divine Liturgy: The Eucharistic service in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Orthodox Churches. It consists of three parts: the Prayers of Preparation, the Liturgy for the Catechumens, or those preparing for baptism; and the Liturgy of the Faithful.

doctrine: The systematized principles of belief of a religious faith.

dogma: In religions such as Christianity and Islam, dogmas are considered core principles that must be adhered to by followers.  In Roman Catholicism it is a truth proclaimed by the church as being divinely revealed.  Dogma must be based in Scripture or tradition; to deny it is heresy.

Dominican: A Roman Catholic order of priests founded by St. Dominic of Spain in the early thirteenth century.  They focus on preaching and teaching and take vows of poverty.  There is also an order of Dominican nuns.

ecumenism: A modern theological and social term referring to the effort to promote understanding and cooperation among diverse Christian groups.  The adjective, ecumenical, refers to interaction between Christians of different traditions.  It is also linked to a twentieth century religious movement to bring a variety of denominations under a single Christian umbrella, such as the World Council of Churches.

encyclical: Literally a "circular letter," an encyclical is generally addressed to the whole church by the pope on matters of moral, doctrinal, or disciplinary concern.  There are several other types of papal documents of lesser authority, such as an apostolic exhortation or a motu proprio, which is Latin for "on his own (the pope's) initiative."

episcopal, episcopacy: A form of church government in which bishops have some kind of authority over clergy and/or congregations.  Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican/Episcopal, Methodist, and some Lutheran churches are all episcopal in this sense.

eschatology: The theological study of end times, when the fate of individual souls and all of creation will be decided.  It is often associated with doomsday predictions, but Christian eschatology also focuses on eternity, paradise, resurrection, and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  The Book of Revelation and the prophecy of Daniel are considered eschatological or apocalyptic.

Eucharist: Always capitalize.

evangelical: By definition, all Christians are evangelicals.  The word evangelical is derived from the Greek evangelion, which means "good news" or "gospel."  But the term evangelical has generally come to mean Protestants who emphasize personal conversion; evangelism; the authority, primacy - and usually - inerrancy of the Bible; and the belief that Jesus' death reconciled God and humans.

evangelism: The act of conveying the gospel of Jesus Christ.

evangelist: A Christian whose particular mission it is to bring people to faith in Jesus Christ through preaching and teaching.

ex cathedra: Latin for "from the chair," in reference to the chair or throne of a bishop that sits near the altar of his principal church (known as a cathedral).  It is from this chair that bishops in the early church would issue solemn teachings or decisions.  In modern times the phrase is generally confined to papal announcements of the highest authority.  Thus the term ex cathedra is in practice used in the same context as papal infallibility and faces the same high threshold of application.  Used by itself, the noun cathedra can refer to the bishop's throne in any cathedral.  See papal infallibility.

Father: A term indicating spiritual fatherhood among Episcopal, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic priests.  On second reference use Fr. and the cleric's last name, as in Fr. Smith.

Fathers of the Church: Important teachers and theologians from the first few centuries of Christianity whose writings came too late to be included in the canon of the New Testament.

gentile: In Judaism, anyone who is not a Jew.  It is usually a reference to Christians.  Some Mormons use the term to describe non-Mormons.

God: Capitalize in reference to all monotheistic religions.  Also capitalize such references as God the Father, Holy Ghost, and Holy Spirit.  However, lowercase pronouns that refer to God such as him and he.  Many Christians consider God to be beyond gender, so be sensitive to the context of the story and avoid gender-defining pronouns when appropriate.  Orthodox Jews write G-d to avert the sin of erasing or defacing God's name.  Journalists should respect these Jews' practice by using G-d in quotes of written material, but otherwise should refer to God.

Good Friday: In Christianity, the day on which Jesus Christ was traditionally believed to have been crucified.

Gospel(s), gospel: Means "good news."  Capitalize when referring to each or all of the first four books of the New Testament.  Lowercase in all other references.

grace: Generically it means "free gift."  In Christianity, grace is the unmerited love and favor of God toward mankind, but different traditions sometimes use the word differently, which can lead to confusion.  Evangelicals tend to equate grace with salvation.  Catholics often use the plural, graces, to refer to any gift that they believe God has endowed the Church with - including saints, bishops, the pope and the sacrament of penance.  Thus, when Catholics say that other Christian traditions are lacking in grace, they do not mean that they are outside salvation.  Grace also refers to a prayer of thanks before a meal.

heaven: Lowercase in all references.

Hebrew: The language in which the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament, was first written.

hell: Lowercase in all references.

hermeneutics: The theory and principles of interpretation often associated with scriptural texts.

Holocaust: Always capitalize when referring to the murder of six million Jews and others during World War II.  Lowercase in other uses.

Holy Bible: See Bible.

Holy Communion: See Eucharist and sacrament.

Holy Father: Refers to the pope.  However, the preferred form is the pope or the pontiff, or to give the individual's name.  Use Holy Father only as part of a quotation.

holy orders: See sacrament.

Holy See: A term of reverence for the Diocese of Rome, it is used to refer to the pope and his Curia, the Roman Catholic Church's administrative offices, when official church actions are taken.  The Holy See refers to an entity that is distinct from the city-state of the Vatican, although the two terms are often used interchangeably.

Holy Spirit: The third entity of the Christian Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Christians believe the Holy Spirit leads people to belief in Jesus and dwells in each Christian.  The Holy Spirit is depicted in Christian art as an ascending dove bathed in light or as a flame.  Once called the Holy Ghost, in the late 19th and earlier 20th centuries the term Holy Spirit came into use.  It is now the preferred term.

Holy Thursday: The day before Good Friday, when Jesus had his Last Supper with his disciples, washed their feet, and instituted the Eucharist.  In the Catholic Church, Lent ends and the Triduum begins whenever the Holy Thursday service begins in any given parish.  Also called Maundy Thursday.

Holy Week: In Christianity, the week that begins with Palm Sunday and concludes with Easter Sunday.  Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and Easter commemorates his rising from the dead.  Also includes Holy Thursday, which commemorates the Last Supper (Jesus' final meal with his disciples), and Good Friday, the day of Christ's crucifixion.  The Roman Catholic Church has designated the period as Passion Week, but Holy Week is still the generally used and preferred term.

homiletics: The art or study of delivering sermons or homilies.

Immaculate Conception: The Roman Catholic dogmas that Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, was born without original sin.  Do not confuse it with the virgin birth of Christ.

inerrancy: A term applied to an interpretation of the Bible that holds that every word is accurate and error-free.

interdenominational: A congregation or organization that is formally approved or under the jurisdiction of more than one denomination.  It is not a synonym for nondenominational.

interfaith: This refers to activities or events that draw people from entirely different religious traditions, such as Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and Muslims.  It is not a synonym for ecumenical, which refers to a multiplicity of Christian traditions, or interdenominational.

Islam: Religion founded in seventh-century Mecca by the Prophet Muhammad, who said Allah (God), through the Angel Gabriel, revealed the Quran to him between 610-632, the year of his death.  Followers of Islam are called Muslims.

Jesuits: Formally known as the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits were founded in 1540 by St. Ignatius Loyola, a Basque nobleman and soldier.

Jesus Christ: Always capitalize.  Personal pronouns referring to Jesus (him, he), are lowercase.

Judaism: The religion of the Jewish people.

just war: A doctrine with roots in Christianity, that posits that governments sometimes - but not always - have a morally justified reason for using mass political violence.

Koran: Quran is the preferred spelling and is capitalized in all references.  The spelling Koran should only be used if it is in a specific title or name.

laicization: A formal proceeding at the Vatican in which a priest is "returned to the lay state."  This means he is free to marry and is no longer required - or permitted - to say Mass, although in an emergency he can give final sacraments to a dying person.  Technically, he remains a priest, but only in the eyes of God, because the Catholic Church believes that ordination leaves an indelible mark on the soul.  Most laicizations are done at the request of the priest, though some are carried out involuntarily as punishment for serious offenses.  Even voluntarily laicized priests are restricted from certain activities open to other lay Catholics, such as serving as an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist, also known as a lay Eucharistic minister.  The pope must approve all requests for laicization.  Although this is colloquially known as "defrocking," the Catholic Church does not use that word, and it fails to distinguish between laicization and a variety of lesser measures in which a priest can be forbidden to wear clerical garb.

Las Posadas: A traditional Mexican festival in which Joseph and Mary's search for an inn is re-enacted on the evenings from Dec. 16 to 24.  It generally moves from home to home in neighborhoods, but as the Hispanic population in the U.S. grows, it is increasingly staged as a community celebration that is both social and religious.

Last Supper: In Christianity, the Last Supper was the final meal Jesus shared with his disciples before his death.  The meal is discussed in all four Gospels of the New Testament.  Christians believe it took place on a Thursday night, Holy Thursday, before Jesus was crucified on Friday, observed as Good Friday.  See communion.

Lent: The period of fasting and penance preceding Easter.

liturgical vestments: Special garments that a priest, minister, deacon, or other clergy wears in worship.  Liturgical vestments are especially characteristic of the liturgical churches.  In some traditions, the colors of vestments change with the seasons of the church year.

liturgy: Has two sets of meanings, one for Western Christians and the other for Eastern Christians.  Among Roman Catholics and Protestants, lowercase liturgy means a set of standard prayers and practices for public worship.  It can also be a synonym for the service of worship in churches that use such forms - most commonly Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran.  With reference to Orthodox Christians and Eastern Catholics, uppercase Liturgy; avoid lowercase use of the word in their churches.

Lord: Always capitalize when referring to God in a monotheistic faith, as in Lord Jesus.

Lord's Prayer: The New Testament describes Jesus teaching his followers this prayer, the most commonly recited in Christianity.  It is found in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4.

Lord's Supper: See communion.

Lucifer: In Christianity, the proper name St. Jerome gave to Satan.  Lowercase devil but uppercase Lucifer.

mantra: A syllable, word or phrase with spiritual power, it is chanted or held in the mind in connection with meditation and ritual.

Mariology: An area of Christian theology dealing with the life and veneration of the Virgin Mary.

Mary, Mother of Jesus: Veneration is the term that characterizes Catholic devotion to Mary and other saints; only God is worshiped.

Mass: Always capitalize.  Lowercase any preceding adjectives, such as funeral Mass.  Orthodox Christians call their Eucharistic service the Divine Liturgy.  A Mass is celebrated or said.

megachurches: Generally defined as a Christian church that has a weekly sustained attendance of 2,000 or more.  Although megachurches exist in some form in the United States throughout the 20th century, in recent decades they have flourished.  Megachurches are often Protestant, evangelical, Catholic or Pentecostal, and many are theologically conservative.  Many are non-denominational or Southern Baptist.

messiah, Messiah: A Hebrew term meaning "the anointed one."  For Christians, the one and only Messiah is Jesus Christ.  Jews await the coming of the Messiah.  Capitalize in religious uses and lowercase in secular cases.

minister: Most Protestant denominations use the term minister to describe their clergy, but it is not a formal title and should not be capitalized.  It is also used in Catholicism, with a strong distinction drawn between ordained ministers - priests and deacons - and lay ministers such as youth ministers and Eucharistic ministers who take communion to the sick.  The Nation of Islam also uses the term, and in that case it is a title and should be capitalized before a person's name.

monk: A term often applied to any man in a religious order, it should be restricted to members of contemplative orders, such as Benedictines, Cistercians, and Carthusians.  Friar is the name given to members of the mendicant orders, such as the Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians, and Carmelites, who are pledged to live on free-will offerings.  Brother is a title given to laymen who take vows as members of religious communities.  Brothers and friars can be, but are often not, ordained priests.  Brothers remain in the lay state but as vowed members of the community.  All monks, friars, and brothers who are not ordained can be addressed as Brother John Doe.  On second reference, continue to use Brother and the first name if the person is known that way, such as Brother John.  If an individual is a brother and a deacon, refer to the individual as Br. John, not Dc. John, unless requested otherwise.  If the individual is a brother and a priest, refer to the individual as Fr. John, unless requested otherwise.

monotheism: A religion devoted to the worship of a single god.  Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are known as the world's three great monotheistic religions.

monsignor: An honorary title given to some diocesan priests by the pope.  Capitalize before the name on first reference.  For MAS Journalism, the abbreviation Msgr. is acceptable, but avoid abbreviating the titles for Very Rev. or Rt. Rev.

Moslem: An outdated term for Muslims.  It should not be used unless it is part of a proper name.

mosque: A building in which Muslims gather for prayer and worship.  The tower of a mosque, a minaret, is used to chant a call for prayer.

Mount Angel Abbey: The building housing the monks of Mount Angel.  Also refers to the community of monks that reside on the hilltop.  See Abbey, The.

Mount Angel Abbey Bookstore: Bookstore, gift store, and coffee shop located in the west end of the business building.  Should be capitalized.  Can also be called The Press or The Press Coffee Shop.

Mount Angel Seminary: Refers to the school of priestly formation and higher education.  Also refers to the students, faculty, staff, and community members involved with the educational aspects of Mount Angel Seminary.  Using the acronym MAS is acceptable on second reference and beyond.

Muslim: A follower of Muhammad and the tenets and practices of Islam.

mysticism: Meditation, prayer, or theology focused on some form of direct experience or union with the divine.  Examples of mysticism and mystics can be found in a variety of religions including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, as well as neo-paganism.

neo-Pentecostal, charismatic: These terms apply to a movement that developed in the 1960s and 1970s within mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic churches.  It is characterized by emotional expressiveness in worship, speaking or praying in tongues, and healing.  Unlike the Pentecostal movement of the early part of the 20th century, the new movement did not result in the creation of new denominations.  Instead, its adherents operate within their original denominations.

New Age movement: A spiritual movement that developed in Western society in the late 1960s.  Adherents link elements of religion with psychology and parapsychology.  It remains a loose network of spiritual seekers, teachers, and healers, and other participants.  Followers construct their own spiritual journeys, which are heavily influenced by the mystical elements of many organized religions, as well as native practices such as shamanism and neo-paganism.

New Testament: Always capitalize.

Nicene Creed: The profession of the Christian faith shared by the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Catholic Churches, and most Protestant churches.

nondenominational: Used among North American Protestants to describe Christian churches, activities, or organizations that are not sponsored by a specific denomination.  Some non-Christian groups, including some Jews, use the term as well.  It should not be used as a synonym for interfaith, interdenominational, or ecumenical.  Independent would be an acceptable substitute for nondenominational.

nun: A woman belonging to a religious order, typically Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox.  Nuns are also found in the Anglican/Episcopal, Lutheran, and Buddhist traditions.  In Catholicism, nuns are cloistered, meaning they live a life of secluded prayer, while sisters are more likely to be engaged in ministry outside the convent.  However, the terms have become interchangeable in everyday language.  Catholics commonly refer to nuns and brothers as "religious," as in women and men religious, but that term is often confusing to general readers.  Nuns and sisters are not ordained; they are lay people who take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience to the superior of their community.  The superiors of some orders are referred to as Mother.  Some nuns and sisters continue to use a surname, while others do not.  On first reference, follow the appropriate conventions, as in Sister Jane Doe or Mother Teresa.  On second reference, continue to use Sister or Mother and the first name if the person is known that way, such as Sr. Hilda.  See sister.

Old Testament: Always capitalize.

Opus Dei: A Roman Catholic organization founded in 1928 in Madrid by St. Josemaria Escriva de Baleaguer, who was proclaimed a saint in 2002, to help Catholic laypeople experience God in their daily work.  It is not a religious order, although it has priests as members; ninety-eight percent of its members are laypeople.

ordination: The process of authorizing a person to perform ministry in an official capacity for a specific religious organization, usually Christian or Jewish.  Many denominations require formal education and training, and many ordain deacons as well as clergy.  Lowercase ordained and ordination in all references.

orthodox, orthodoxy: A term to denote a clear doctrine that implies correct belief according to a particular religion or philosophy.  Lowercase except when referring to Judaism or the Eastern branches of Christianity or as part of a denominational name, such as the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Orthodox Church: Any of several Eastern Christian churches that are rooted in the Middle East or Eastern Europe but that do not give allegiance to the Roman Catholic pope.  The term Orthodox was adopted by the Eastern Church to signify its adherence to the original apostolic traditions, teachings, and style of worship.  The Orthodox Eucharistic service is called the Divine Liturgy, and worship is very sensual, involving incense, chants, and veneration of icons.  The Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches were united until 1054, when the Great Schism occurred, mainly as a result of disputes over papal authority.  The pope in Rome claimed supremacy over the four Eastern patriarchs, while the Eastern patriarchs claimed equality with the pope.  Although the split was officially made in 1054, divisions began more than two centuries earlier.  Today, the spiritual head of Orthodoxy is the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, who has no governing authority over the other patriarchs but is called "first among equals."

Palm Sunday: The sixth Sunday of Lent and the beginning of Christian Holy Week before Easter.  Palm Sunday marks the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.  The day gets its name from the biblical reference to crowds throwing palm fronds before Jesus as he entered the city.  Also known as Passion Sunday, though Palm Sunday is the preferred term.

papal infallibility: The doctrine that the pope can make a pronouncement, under special circumstances, on a matter of faith that must be definitively accepted by all the faithful.  This is one of the most misunderstood concepts among Catholics and non-Catholics alike, and one whose exact meaning and exercise remain a matter of much debate within the church.  The Catholic faith teaches that only God is infallible, and that God ensures that the church - rather than its members or its leaders - will be free from error.  A pope is not personally infallible.  He is only able to make special declarations that are affirming a sacred truth that always existed.  Papal infallibility was first formally defined in 1870, and it has only been invoked once since then - in 1950, when Pope Pius XII declared as dogma that the Virgin Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven at the end of her life.  Pope Pius IX's affirmation, in 1854, of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception (that the Virgin Mary was conceived without sin) is the only other instance in modern history in which papal infallibility has been invoked.  Theologians continue to debate whether and what other teachings might be considered infallible.

papal nuncio: A Vatican diplomat with the rank of ambassador to a country that has official ties with the Vatican.  Papal nuncios normally have a crucial role in the selection of bishops for the country to which they are sent.  Lowercase the title but do not use as s formal title before a name.  Papal nuncios should be identified formally on first reference by their religious rank, usually archbishop.  On second reference use only the cleric's last name.

parish: Originally this referred to a geographic territory whose residents were all to go to the one church within that territory.  That is still essentially how it functions within Roman Catholicism.  Today, a growing minority of Catholics attend the parish of their choice, and there is no sanction involved.  In some heavily Catholic parts of the nation, particularly Louisiana and Philadelphia, counties or neighborhoods are still known as parishes.  Capitalize as part of the formal name, as in St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish.  Lowercase when standing alone.

parishioner: A member of a parish.  It should not be used for non-Christians or members of nonhierarchical Protestant denominations.

Pentateuch: The Greek term for the first five books in the Old Testament.  The Hebrew word for the same books is Torah.

Pentecost: A Christian feast held on the seventh Sunday after Easter that marks the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus Christ.

pope: Head of the Roman Catholic Church.  Capitalize only when used as a formal title before a name, as in Pope Francis.

praise and worship: A contemporary style of music and worship that is particularly popular among evangelical and non-denominational Christian churches.

Press, The: Bookstore, gift store, and coffee shop located in the west end of the business building.  Should be capitalized.  Can also be called the Mount Angel Abbey Bookstore on first reference and Bookstore on subsequent references.

priest: The term for ordained clergy of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Episcopal faith.  It is not a formal title and is not capitalized.  While every priest has pastoral duties toward the baptized, the term pastor refers to the priest (and in rare cases, lay men or women) charged by the bishop with overseeing a parish.

prophecy, prophesy: Prophecy is a prediction viewed as divine revelation; prophesy is a verb meaning to make such a prediction.

prophet: Someone who speaks divine revelation, or a message they received directly from God.  Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all have certain figures they formally recognize as prophets.

proselytize: The act of seeking converts to a faith.

Protestant, Protestantism: In the 16th century, church thinkers and leaders such as Martin Luther and John Calvin demanded changes in Roman Catholic doctrine and practice.  That led to the development of denominations made up of protesters or "protestants" who declared themselves independent of papal authority.  Many Protestants say the word means to "testify forth," as in to preach the word of God.  Protestant churches include Anglican, Baptist, Congregationalist, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Quaker churches.  The label Protestant is not applied to Christian Scientists, Jehovah's Witnesses, or Mormons.  It is also not used to describe a member of an Orthodox church.

Quran: The holy book of Islam, which Muslims believe is the direct word of God as dictated in Arabic to Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel during the month of Ramadan beginning in 610 to about 632.  The spelling Koran should be used only if it is in a specific title or name.

rabbi: Hebrew word for teacher and the title used by Jewish clergy.  On first reference, capitalize before a name.

Rapture: In Christian eschatology, a term used to describe the sudden transportation of true Christians into heaven before other events associated with the end of the world take place.

religion: A general term referring to religious practice.  It should not be used in regard to different traditions within the same faith.  For instance, Catholics and Baptists should not be referred to as belonging to different religions.  They belong to the Christian religion.  The same goes for Shiite and Sunni Muslims, Reform and Orthodox Jews.

religious habit: The traditional garment worn by members of religious orders, the habit is analogous to the cassock worn by diocesan clergy.  Each order has a distinctive style.  Franciscans, for example, wear a simple brown habit with a hood, along with sandals, similar to that worn by the order's founder, St. Francis.  The habit generally has its origins in contemporary dress of the period in which the order was founded.  The habits of many sisters and nuns resemble clothing worn by widows in ancient times, for example.  Wearing the habit used to be compulsory, but the regulations were relaxed after the Second Vatican Council, and many religious, men and women, wear regular street clothes.

religious orders: Religious orders are communities that live by a particular "rule" that guides their daily communal prayer and work lives.  Members profess vows, often of poverty, chastity, and obedience.  These rules are usually set forth by the founder of the order.  For example, the Benedictines live by the Rule of St. Benedict, composed by the sixth-century monk who is considered the founder of Western monasticism.

Retreat House: The building on the south side of the hilltop.  Should be capitalized.

Reverend, the: An attributive form of address given to many but not all ordained Christian and Buddhist clergy.  See religious titles for guidance.

Roman Catholic Church: Should always be capitalized.  Catholic Church is acceptable but not preferred.

rosary: A form of repetitive prayer and meditation used by Roman Catholics and some other Christians.  The rosary is recited, prayed, or said, not read.  Always lowercase rosary.

Sabbath: The day of the week observed for rest and worship.  Most Christian traditions observe the Sabbath on Sunday.  Judaism and some Christian traditions such as Seventh-Day Adventists observe the Sabbath on Saturday.

sacrament: A Christian rite that confers grace and serves as a visible form of it.  The Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and certain Episcopal churches believe there are seven sacraments.  Most Protestant churches recognize only two sacraments: baptism and communion.  Lowercase sacrament, but capitalize when using the proper name for sacramental rites, such as the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Lord's Supper, and Holy Eucharist.  Lowercase when referring to a sacrament commonly, such as confession, matrimony, or holy orders.

saint: In Catholicism, a saint is anyone who is judged to have lived a holy life, to be in heaven, and to be a model Christian worthy of public veneration.  Canonization is a process in the Catholic Church by which a deceased person is officially recognized as having joined the "communion of saints" in heaven and therefore able to intercede with God in a special way for people on earth.  Capitalize and abbreviate as St. when referring to names of saints, cities, or other places.  See canonization.

Satan: In the Hebrew Bible, Satan is depicted as an angel used by God to test man.  In the New Testament, Satan is a fallen angel who is the ultimate evil and enemy of God and man.  In Islam, Satan was the head jinn or genie until he angered God by refusing to accept man's superiority.  Uppercase in all references, but always lower case devil.

savior: Always capitalize when referring to Jesus Christ.

scripture, scriptures: The sacred writings of a religious group.  Should not be capitalized unless part of a quotation when capitalization occurs.

Second Coming: Always capitalize when referring to the return of Jesus that is prophesied in the Bible.

Second Vatican Council: See Vatican II.

See: A bishop's official seat or center of authority.

seminarian: Should be lowercase unless part of a formal title, as in Seminarian of the Year.

sister: A member of a religious order of women.  Uppercase when used as a title before a name.  On second reference, continue to use Sister and the first name of the person if known that way, as in Sister Hilda or Sr. Hilda.  See nun.

skullcap: A small, close-fitting headpiece worn in some religious traditions, particularly by men.  Other names for it include yarmulke (worn by Jews), zucchetto (worn by Roman Catholic prelates) and kufi (worn by Muslims).

soccer field: Acceptable name for the field on the south end of the hilltop.  Should be lowercase unless in a proper name, as in Mount Angel Soccer Field or Steele Street Soccer Field.

spiritualism: The belief that the human personality survives death and can communicate with the living, usually through the use of a medium.  Sometimes called spiritism.

synod: A council, usually in a Christian church, convened to decide a doctrinal or administrative issue.  Uppercase in formal names.

Synoptic: A Greek word, meaning "to view together," used to refer to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, which tell many of the same stories of Jesus' life and can be compared side-by-side.

Taize: A Christian worship service known for silence, simple music, candle lighting, prayer, and meditation.  It is drawn from the practices of a monastic community founded in the Burgundy region of France during World War II.  Taize emphasizes Christian unity.  People from Roman Catholic, Protestant and other traditions from all over the world flock to Taize to take part in worship, service, and reflection.

Ten Commandments: The biblical edicts handed to Moses by God atop Mount Sinai.  Always capitalize.

theocracy: A government ruled by religious authority or people who believe they are carrying out divine directions.

Torah: The Jewish sacred writings found in the first five books of the Hebrew Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).

transubstantiation: The doctrine that the bread and wine are physically transformed into the body and blood of Christ when consecrated at the Eucharist.  The Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox churches believe in transubstantiation.  See consubstantiation.

Trinity: This key doctrine in Christianity that says God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit together make up one Godhead.  The exact nature and definition of the Trinity were central in the split between Western and Eastern churches.

Twelve Apostles: See Apostles.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: The official governing body of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States.  It is made up of bishops, archbishops, and cardinals.  The USCCB adopted this name in 2001.  USCCB is used on subsequent references.

Vatican, Vatican City: The pope and his administrative clergy live in this 108-acre city-state that is the temporal headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church.

Vatican II: The common name for the Second Vatican Council, a council of all the world's bishops opened by Pope Saint John XXIII in 1962 and closed under Pope Paul VI in 1965.  Vatican II ushered in major reforms in the Roman Catholic Church, such as changes in biblical studies, and encouraged bishops and clergy to deal with the challenges of the modern world.  It also recognized the importance of the laity in the church and signaled an openness to other Christians and non-Christians, including a reconsideration of the church's attitude toward Judaism.

Virgin Birth: The Christian belief that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin.  It should not be confused with the Immaculate Conception, which is a Catholic dogma that the Virgin Mary was conceived free from original sin.

Virgin Mary, The: See Mary, Mother of Jesus.

Worship: Worship is an act of offering devotion and praise to a deity or deities.  Many evangelical Protestants have a tendency to use it specifically in reference to music - especially contemporary praise music - sung in church.

Yahweh: An English translation of the four Hebrew letters usually translated as YHWH that form the name of God.  Jews do not attempt to pronounce this name, as they believe that would risk taking the name of God in vain.  Wherever it appears in Scripture, they say "the Lord" ("Adonai") instead, and a vowel marking beneath the four consonants renders the word unpronounceable in Hebrew.  Sixteenth century Protestants attempted to transliterate this word, resulting in "Jehovah."

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