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infidel

in·fi·del / ˈinfədl; -ˌdel/ • n. chiefly archaic a person who does not believe in religion or who adheres to a religion other than one's own: [as pl. n.] (the infidel) they wanted to secure the Holy Places from the infidel. • adj. adhering to a religion other than one's own: the infidel foe. ORIGIN: late 15th cent.: from French infidèle or Latin infidelis, from in- ‘not’ + fidelis ‘faithful’ (from fides ‘faith,’ related to fidere ‘to trust’). The word originally denoted a person of a religion other than one's own, specifically a Muslim (to a Christian), a Christian (to a Muslim), or a Gentile (to a Jew).

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infidel

infidel a person who does not believe in religion or who adheres to a religion other than one's own. The word originally denoted a person of a religion other than one's own, specifically a Muslim (to a Christian), a Christian (to a Muslim), or a Gentile (to a Jew).

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infidel

infidel non-Christian XV; professed unbeliever XVI. — F. infidèle or L. infidēlis unfaithful, (eccl.) unbelieving, f. IN-2 + fidēlis faithful, f. fidēs FAITH.
So infidelity XVI.

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infidel

infidelAdele, Aix-la-Chapelle, aquarelle, artel, au naturel, bagatelle, béchamel, befell, bell, belle, boatel, Brunel, Cadell, carousel, cartel, cell, Chanel, chanterelle, clientele, Clonmel, compel, Cornell, crime passionnel, dell, demoiselle, dispel, dwell, el, ell, Estelle, excel, expel, farewell, fell, Fidel, fontanelle, foretell, Gabrielle, gazelle, gel, Giselle, hell, hotel, impel, knell, lapel, mademoiselle, maître d'hôtel, Manuel, marcel, matériel, mesdemoiselles, Michel, Michelle, Miguel, misspell, morel, moschatel, Moselle, motel, muscatel, nacelle, Nell, Nobel, Noel, organelle, outsell, Parnell, pell-mell, personnel, propel, quell, quenelle, rappel, Raquel, Ravel, rebel, repel, Rochelle, Sahel, sardelle, sell, shell, show-and-tell, smell, Snell, spell, spinel, swell, tell, undersell, vielle, villanelle, well, yell •Buñuel • Pachelbel • handbell •barbell • harebell • decibel • doorbell •cowbell • bluebell • Annabel •mirabelle • Christabel • Jezebel •Isabel, Isobel •nutshell • infidel • asphodel •zinfandel • Grenfell • Hillel • parallel •Cozumel • caramel • Fresnel •pimpernel • pipistrelle • Tricel •filoselle

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Infidel

INFIDEL

In the strict sense, not including apostates from the faith and those who have lost the faith either through formal heresy or in any other way, one who does not have true faith in the Christian revelation; this may be either through his own fault, because he formally refused to accept the faith when offered, or without any fault of his own, merely because he never sufficiently heard of the gospel. In the first case he is called a positive infidel, who gravely sinned when refusing the faith. In the second, he is called a negative infidel, who never rejected the faith but happens not to have the faith because he was never given the opportunity to accept it. It may also be that one who knew about the faith and came to doubt about his own religious conviction neglected further inquiry and through guilty neglect failed to come to the faith: such a one is at times called a privative infidel. In all three cases there is question of unbaptized persons.

It may happen, however, that negative infidels come to have, not without the help of grace, implicit faith in (Christian) revelation. Such will be the case of an unbaptized person who, following his conscience in all that he knows to be the will of God in his regard, comes to have the implicit desire of Baptism (baptism of desire). For one to have the implicit desire of Baptism and through it to live a life of grace, an act of charity, or love of God above all things, is necessary, and this is not possible without (supernatural) faith in God. Such a person, baptized in desire, is no longer an infidel in the eyes of God while continuing to be so reckoned in the eyes of men. Another example of negative infidel in appearance only is that of an unbaptized person who, when offered the interior grace of faith, assents and believes in God but does not follow His will in all things, e.g., does not give up an immoral way of life. Such a half-hearted response to the grace of faith is insufficient for him to have the (implicit) desire of Baptism and receive the life of grace; but according to some theological opinion it may be sufficient for him to be given the habit of faith. Such a negative infidel would be an unbaptized but believing sinner.

Negative infidels who have a "natural belief" in God and were never given the grace of faith or never heard of the gospel may, theoretically speaking, be living a naturally good life or, more likely, a life of alternating sin and repentance. But contemporary theological understanding of God's universal salvific will holds that sooner or later, if not permanently, they are offered the grace of faith and are faced with the alternative of saying yes or no to God and Christ. If they say yes, they are no longer infidels except in appearance; if they say no, they become positive infidels, or sinners.

The case of atheists who reject all belief in God is different from that of infidels; they not only are without divine faith, but also without natural belief in God.

See Also: faithful.

Bibliography: s. harent, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 190350; Tables générales 1951) 7.2:17261930. n. krautwig, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d new ed. Freiburg 195765) 4:930931. h. bacht, ibid. 949951. s. pinckaers, Catholicisme 5:158788.

[p. de letter]

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