Bringing you the "Good News" of Jesus Christ and His Church While PROMOTING CATHOLIC Apologetic Support groups loyal to the Holy Father and Church's magisterium
Home About
AskACatholic.com
What's New? Resources The Church Family Life Mass and
Adoration
Ask A Catholic
Knowledge base
AskACatholic Disclaimer
Search the
AskACatholic Database
Donate and
Support our work
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
New Questions
Cool Catholic Videos
About Saints
Disciplines & Practices for distinct Church seasons
Purgatory and Indulgences
About the Holy Mass
About Mary
back
Searching and Confused
Contemplating becoming a Catholic or Coming home
Homosexual and Gender Issues
Life and Family
No Salvation Outside the Church
Sacred Scripture
non-Catholic Cults
Justification and Salvation
The Pope and Papacy
The Sacraments
Relationships and Marriage situations
Specific people, organizations and events
Doctrine and Teachings
Specific Practices
Church Internals
Church History

Kenny Merriken wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Are venerate, worship, and deify synonyms according to the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus?

Merriam-Webster Thesaurus entry for venerate

Kenny Merriken, age 69.

  { Are 'venerate', 'worship', and 'deify' synonyms according to the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus? }

Bob replied:

Kenny,

Not necessarily, context is everything.

Venerate and worship can mean to hold in high regard, respect, and be afforded to a dignitary, king or someone worthy of praise and honor. Catholics venerate saints and give special veneration to the Blessed Virgin Mary because of her special role as mother of our Lord.

The worship given to God is unique because all goodness emanates from Him; ultimately all veneration and worship point to the source of the goodness lauded: God. To acknowledge goodness in all that God created, is a blessing to God like telling a parent you are so inspired by the beauty of their children. He does not find veneration of saints to detract from his singular place, but it expands it in some sense.

To deify, is generally a bit different.

In a Catholic context, deification is becoming like God. Peter said in his first epistle that we are partakers of the divine nature (cf. 2 Peter 1:4). We believe that what God is by nature, we become by grace. In other words, since God adopted us into His Family, He has made us more like Him through the Spirit. The things God does we will also be able to do. There is a mystery here that no one can fully explain, but we take it on faith because that is what Christ taught and what we have received. If God is our Father, we are truly His children, and will live eternally with Him.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

Eric replied:

Hi, Kenny —

Not all sources agree. Google, for example, says:

ven·er·ate
verb
  1. regard with great respect; revere.
    "Mother Teresa is venerated as a saint."
    synonyms: revere, regard highly, reverence, worship, hallow, hold sacred, exalt, vaunt, adore, honor, respect, esteem

No one would claim that respect is equivalent to worship even though they are listed as synonyms. You have to understand that the connotations of synonyms vary; they aren't interchangeable words.

The Oxford English Dictionary, the highest authority, has this to say: 

  1.  translated: to regard with feelings of respect and reverence; to look upon as something exalted, hallowed, or sacred; to reverence or revere.  
  2. To pay honour to (something) by a distinct act of reverence.

I think that Merriam-Webster is off in adding the divine power component.

Eric

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
© 2012 Panoramic Sites
The Early Church Fathers Church Fathers on the Primacy of Peter. The Early Church Fathers on the Catholic Church and the term Catholic. The Early Church Fathers on the importance of the Roman Catholic Church centered in Rome.