Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/882

This page needs to be proofread.




may, however, take part in the examination of the accused or of w-itnesses. Owing to their non-judicial character, laymen may be employed as Assessors in spiritual and ecclesiastical matters, though by the canons of the Church they would be incompetent as judges, even if a cleric were joined with them in a judicial capacity. As an Assessor is commonly looked upon as restraining in some manner the dig- nity, if not the jurisdiction, of the judge, the Sacred Congregations have declared that a cathedral chajj- ter cannot impose an assessor on the Vicar-Capitular sede vacanle.

Wernz, Jua Deer., II (Rome, 1899); De Angelis, Prcel. Jut. Can., torn. ult. (Paris, 1884); Reiffenstxjel, Jus Can., II, VI (Paris, 1865).

William H. W. Fanning.

Assicus, Saint, Bishop and Patron of Elphin, in Ireland, one of St. Patrick's converts, and his worker in iron. In the "Tripartite Life of St. Patrick" (ed. Whitley Stokes) we read: "Bishop St. Assic was Patrick's coppersmith, and made altars and square bookcases. Besides, he made our saint's patens in honour of Bishop Patrick, and of them I have seen three square patens, that is, a paten in the Church of Patrick in Armagh, and another in the Church of Elphin, and a third in the great-church of Donough- patrick (at Carns near Tulsk)." St. Assicus was a most expert metal worker, and was also reno^vned as a beU-founder. Of his last days the foUomng graphic description is given by Archbishop Healy: "Assicus himself in shame because of a lie told either by him, or, as others say, of him, fled into Donegal, and for seven years abode in the island of Rathlin O'Birne. Then his monks sought him out, and after much labour found him in the mountain glens, and tried to bring him home to his own monastery at Elphin. But he fell sick by the way, and died with them in the wilderness. So they buried the venerable old man in the churchyard of Rath Cunga, now Racoon, in the Barony of Tirhugh, County Donegal. The old churchyard is there still, though now dis- used, on the summit of a round hillock close to the left of the road from Ballyshannon to Donegal, about a mile to the south of the village of Ballintra. We sought in vain for any trace of an inscribed stone in the old churchyard. He fled from men during hfe, and, like Moses, his grave is hidden from them in death." His feast is celebrated 27 April, as is recorded in the " Martyrologj' of Tallaght" under that date. W. H. Flood.

Assldeans (Hebr., D'TDn, chasidim, saints; Gr., 'AiriSorot), men endowed with grace (Ps., xxxix, 5; cxlviii, 14). They were the maintainers of the Mosaic Law against the invasion of Greek customs. When the Machabees struggled against Antiochus IV (Epiphanes), the Assideans naturally joined their cause (I Mach., ii, 42, 43). However, not all the adherents of the Machabees were Assideans; accord- ing to I Mach., vii, 13, the Scribes and the Assideans sought to make peace with the Syrians, while the other followers of the Machabees suspected deceit. Tiiat this suspicion was well founded may be inferred from the fact that Alciinus, who had been made High Priest by Demetrius I (I Mach., vii, 9), slew sixtv .\ssideans in one day (I Mach., vii, 16). Ac- cording to II Mach., xiv, 3, the .same Alcimus "wil- fully defiled him.self ", and later on he testified before Demetrius: "They among the .lews tiiat are called Assideans, of whom Judas Machabeus is captain, nourish wars, and raise .seditions, and will not suffer the realm to bo in peace" (11 Mach., xiv, 6). There is an opinion which maintains that the Assideans were identical with the later Piiarisees.

Haoen, Uiicim BMicum (Paris, 1905); Lk.sbtre in Vio., Diet, de la Bible (Pant., 1895); ScililiER, Oeschichle del juditchcn Volket (3d eU., Leipzig, 1898), II, 404.

A. J. Maas.

Assimilation, Physiological. — In this sense the woril may be defined as that vital function by which an organism changes nutrient material into living protoplasm. Most modern scientists admit that the notion of assimilation is not e.xliausted by the eventual chemical changes that may take place. Tlieir definition of assimilation, moreover, is most frequently the true expression of the reality. To give but one instance, the physiologist Rosenthal defines assimilation as the " peculiar property com- mon to all cells of bringing forth from different materials substances specifically similar to those wliicli pre-exist in tho,se cells". But, in further explaining the concept of assimilation, they fre- quently mistake its true nature and deny again what they conceded l)efore. In other words, they often refuse to acknowledge that food, in being changed into living substance, participates in properties which in themselves are of a nature totally different from the forces of inorganic matter. Our reason for dis- appro\nng this view rests on the fact that, while the action of inorganic matter is essentially of a transient nature, and passes from subject to subject, the same inanimate matter acquires by the process of assimilation the faculty "of acting on itself, of developing and perfecting itself by its own motion, or of acting immanently ". That is, the action proceeds from an internal principle and "does not pass into a foreign subject, but perfects the agent." The acti\-ities implied in the nutrition of an animal really proceed from it. It spontaneously moves about and selects among a thousand solid particles a definite kind and quantity of food in strict propor- tion to its own needs, and appropriates it in a suitable manner. Then, in anticipation of a definite end to be realized, it elaborates from the food the chemical constituents to be used for the renewal and increase of its protoplasm, rejecting the rest in a suitable manner. Thus the entire action proceeds from the animal and finally serves, or tentls to serve, no other purpose than to maintain the integrity of its proto- plasm and to give it the total perfection of the species. On the other hand, it is evident that such immanent actions belong to a sphere totally different from the transient actions of which alone inorganic matter is capable. If inorganic matter is to act, it must be acted upon, and the reaction is mathematically equal to the action. It is, therefore, merely passive. But organisms act, even if no action is exerted upon them from without; and if an action results from stimulation, the reaction is not equal to the action, nor is, in fact, the stimulation the adequate cause of the action. In this acti\-ity, however, we need not assume a production and accumulation of new mate- rial energy. The activity of the \ital princijjle in the processes of assimilation simply consists in (.lirecting the constant transformation of existing material energy towards definite ends and according to a definite plan of organization. In other words, the algebraic sum of all the energy in the universe is not altered by the living principle. Nor are the elements changed in their nature and mutual action. They require the faculty of an immanent action merely inasmuch as they are and remain parts of li\nng cells. Thus, through assimilation tliey be- come subject to a liiglier principle which in constant agreement witli their own physical and chemical laws directs tliem towards the uniform perfection of the entire organism.

KosENTHAL, Allgemeine Phyiiolofrie (1901), 392; Pesch, Institttlionea jnychologica:. Pars I, lib. I, 144; Maher, P»y- ckologu (1895), 510.


Assimilation, Psychological. — As applied to a mental process, assimilation derives all its force and meaning from the analogy which many educa- tionists have found to exist between the way in which