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arcanum

arcanum a great secret or mystery; one of the supposed great secrets of nature which alchemists tried to discover. Recorded from the late 16th century, the word represents the use as a noun of the neuter of the Latin adjective arcanus ‘mysterious, secret’, from arcere ‘to shut up’, from arca ‘chest’.

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arcanum

arcanum •minimum • maximum • optimum •chrysanthemum, helianthemum •cardamom • Pergamum • sesamum •per annum • magnum • damnum •Arnhem, Barnum •envenom, venom •interregnum • Cheltenham • arcanum •duodenum, plenum •platinum • antirrhinum • Bonham •summum bonum • Puttnam •ladanum • molybdenum • laudanum •origanum, polygonum •organum • tympanum •laburnum, sternum •gingham • Gillingham • Birmingham •Cunningham • Walsingham •Nottingham • wampum • carom •Abram • panjandrum • tantrum •angstrom • alarum • candelabrum •plectrum, spectrum •arum, harem, harum-scarum, Sarum •sacrum, simulacrum •maelstrom • cerebrum • pyrethrum •Ingram •sistrum, Tristram •Hiram •grogram, pogrom •nostrum, rostrum •cockalorum, decorum, forum, jorum, Karakoram, Karakorum, Mizoram, pons asinorum, quorum •wolfram • fulcrum • Durham •conundrum • buckram • lustrum •serum, theorem •labarum • marjoram • pittosporum •Rotherham • Bertram

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Arcanum

ARCANUM

An encyclical letter of leo xiii (Feb. 10, 1880) occasioned by the increasingly vehement demands that civil legislation be enacted even in Christian countries to loosen the bond of marriage. This pope restated the Church's position that by divine law marriage is one and indissoluble, as manifested by the design of the Creator in uniting the first man and woman "in one flesh" (Gn 2.24). These necessary properties of the marriage bond were reaffirmed by Christ in all their pristine vigor. Men had always recognized the sacred and religious character of matrimony by reason of its divine institution. Christ not only deepened this conviction by blessing this union, but elevated it to the supernatural order by making of it a Sacrament of the New Covenant. Since it is the very contract between man and woman that constitutes the Sacrament, only the religious authority established by Christ to continue His mission, the Church, has a right to enact laws regulating marriage. Civil authority may issue only such decrees as affect the civil order without prejudice to the nuptial bond, and even in these limited areas the State must bow to the prior rights of the Church in the event of conflict. While their marital status grants the partners many privileges, it imposes corresponding dutiesto each other and to the fruit of their union. Relations between husband and wife must ever be founded upon true conjugal love that will never deprive their children of the love and care that is their right. Children will in turn be moved to render their duties of filial respect and obedience gladly. The Church's marriage laws have ever been intended to be and have in fact been a boon to both the individual and to society. She has always safeguarded the sanctity of marriage despite all opposition. It is clear that all bishops must instruct the faithful committed to their care, concerning the sacredness of the marriage bond. Moreover the faithful must be warned of the dangers inherent in mixed marriages. Lastly, no pastor of souls may abandon those involved in illicit unions but should encourage them to obtain the graces of the Sacrament.

Bibliography: leo xiii, "Arcanum" (Encyclical, Feb. 10, 1880) Acta Sanctae Sedis 12 (1879) 385402, Eng. The Church Speaks to the Modern World, ed. h. gilson (Garden City, NY 1954) 86113. j. husslein, comp., Social Wellsprings, 2 v. (Milwaukee 194042) 1:2446.

[s. kardos]

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