the holy see

andersxman

Senior Member
Denmark/danish
"the holy see" means the government of the roman catholic church, as far as I've understood. But looking up the word "see" in the dictionary doesn't make it clear to me why "see" is used. What is "see" when it's a noun as in this case?

Thank you.
 
  • jdenson

    Senior Member
    USA / English
    andersxman said:
    "the holy see" means the government of the roman catholic church, as far as I've understood. But looking up the word "see" in the dictionary doesn't make it clear to me why "see" is used. What is "see" when it's a noun as in this case?

    Thank you.
    Hi Andersxman,
    The noun "see" comes from the Latin "sedes", meaning "seat". Even in modern English seat is used to mean center or headquarters. In the United States, the "seat" of government is Washington, D.C. Hence the Holy See (capitals, please) is the headquarters, or center, of the Roman Catholic Church.
    JD
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Is see still in general use to mean the position of bishop or archbishop, or the territory over which he holds ecclesiastical jurisdiction? It used to be, for example the see of York or the see of Canterbury, but I see suggestions that it may be obsolete.
     
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