Glossary – D


David was the second king in Israel. He was of the tribe of Judah and the city of Bethlehem. The story of his anointing by Samuel can be read in 1 Samuel 16:1-13. David came to prominence when Saul was king, and became king around 1000 BC. He made Jerusalem his religious and political capital until his death around 962 BC. David was known as a poet and musician and is credited with a song of lament in 2 Samuel 1, as well as with many psalms. The prophet Nathan declared that God would maintain David’s line. This promise later grounded messianic hopes which in the New Testament Jesus is seen as fulfilling.


One of the three forms (along with those of priest and bishop) of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. During the second and third centuries the deaconate flourished. The function of deacons varied in different places but included ministries of charity and liturgy, especially the Ministry of the Word. In some areas the deacons were the most important administrative agents of the bishops. Justin Martyr’s description of the Eucharist gives deacons the role of distributing Holy Communion to those Christians who were unable to be present. In the third and fourth centuries the role of deacon began to decline in the West as the role of priests (presbyters) became more dominant.


The human act of undoing God’s work of creation through the misuse of the free will that God gave us. The physical destruction of God’s creation is one aspect of de-creation, the spiritual destruction of God’s creation is another. Catholic tradition calls both aspects of de-creation sin.

Demons and Devils

The idea of spirits of evil has been widespread in the history of humanity. In biblical history it became more prominent in the years before Christ, and this is reflected in the references to them in the Gospels. Modern opinion holds that many of those described in the Gospels as being possessed of a demon or evil spirit were in fact suffering from epilepsy or some form of mental illness.

Diocese (N.833)

A diocese is a Catholic community, usually with clear territorial boundaries, established by Church authority and entrusted to the pastoral care of a Bishop. Each diocese is more than an administrative sub-division of the universal church. It is a ‘Particular Church’ possessing all the necessary features or marks of the Catholic Church when it is in communion with other Particular Churches, and especially with the Particular Church of Rome, whose Bishop is the Pope. A diocese is usually subdivided into parishes.


From the Latin meaning pupil or follower. In the ancient world a common way for people to learn something was to attach themselves to a master, to follow him around, to listen to his teaching and to imitate his way of life. Many Rabbis (teachers) in Israel had disciples. In the New Testament the term disciple is applied both to the wider circle of Jesus’ followers and to the inner circle including ‘the Twelve’ who are also called apostles. The disciples were ordinary people with ordinary jobs just like us.


Relating to or characterising God. So Divine Worship means worship of God.


The authority given by God to humankind to be responsible for the rest of creation. It’s origins are found in God’s command that humankind exercise dominion over every living thing (Genesis 1:28) and in the directive that the first man name all the animals (Genesis 2:19). Dominion is not the same as domination; it does not legitimise human exploitation of the earth for human ends. Humans must always be mindful that they are acting on God’s behalf and in the interests of the whole of creation.