(Latin: de, from; gradus, rank: deprivation, abasement, reduction)
A vindictive canonical punishment by which a cleric is reduced to the lay state.
Up to the 12th century, degradation differed little from deposition.
The effects of degradation are: deposition;"privation of clerical dress; and reduction to the lay state.
It cannot deprive one of the character received in Holy Orders; nor does it dispense from clerical obligations, such as observance of celibacy and recitation of the Breviary.
Degradation is permanent, but may be remitted by a superior, after complete penance.
It can only be inflicted for crimes expressed in the law and on those, who already deposed and deprived of clerical dress, continue to give scandal for a year.
It is verbal, if inflicted by judicial sentence; real, if accompanied by formalities prescribed in the Roman Pontifical.
Lastly, degradation is always a penalty ferendæ sententiæ.
New Catholic Dictionary