One who erects or maintains a benefice; if a church is necessary for a benefice, one who gives the land, builds the church and provides for its maintenance; or, one who does any of these three things.
The right of patronage is the sum of rights and obligations of a person, the patron, in connection with the assignment or administration of a benefice.
As this right is of a spiritual order, it is subject to ecclesiastical jurisdiction, though the property involved is a matter for the civil law and court.
Patronage may be acquired by inheritance, presentation by the patron to another, by exchange, purchase, or prescrlption.
The rights of patronage are:
- of presentation, in case of vacancy of a benefice, of one suitable to receive it
- of honor, precedence in processions, a sitting in the church, burial with special distinction
- allowance of support from the revenues over and above the needs of the church, if the patron be in need through no fault of his own
- the right and duty of keeping in good order what constitutes the benefice
New Catholic Dictionary