degradation

(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

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