An authority is one who holds a position of superiority to others with respect to some field or realm. This authority may be one of competence or expertise, or one of power and right. Thus a specialist in some field of knowledge is acknowledged to possess an authority with respect to this field. A person with the right and power of governance in a realm (e.g., the family, the State, the Church, an institution) is said to possess executive authority.
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Our Sunday Visitor's Catholic Dictionary. Copyright © 2004,
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