Degradation
Degradation
A canonical penalty by which an ecclesiastic is entirely and perpetually deprived of all office, benefice, dignity, and power conferred on him by ordination; and by a special ceremony is reduced to the state of a layman, losing the privileges of the clerical state and being given over to the secular arm

Catholic Encyclopedia. . 2006.

Degradation
    Degradation
     Catholic_Encyclopedia Degradation
    (Lat. degradatio).
    A canonical penalty by which an ecclesiastic is entirely and perpetually deprived of all office, benefice, dignity, and power conferred on him by ordination; and by a special ceremony is reduced to the state of a layman, losing the privileges of the clerical state and being given over to the secular arm. Degradation, however, cannot deprive an ecclesiastic of the character conferred in ordination, nor does it dispense him from the law of celibacy and the recitation of the Breviary. Degradation is twofold: verbal, i.e. the mere sentence of degradation; and real or actual, i.e. the execution of that sentence. They are not two distinct penalties, but parts of the same canonical punishment. Degradation is a perpetual punishment, and the clergyman so punished has never any right to release from it. It differs from deposition in so far as it deprives, and always totally, of all power of orders and jurisdiction and also of the privileges of the ecclesiastical state, thus in all things subjecting the delinquent to civil authority. While a bishop, even before his consecration can inflict deposition or pronounce a sentence of verbal degradation and can reinstate those so punished, it is only a consecrated bishop who can inflict actual degradation, and only the Holy See which can reinstate ecclesiastics actually degraded.
    Solemn degradation owes its origin to the military practice of thus expelling soldiers from the army; the Church adopted this institution in order to remove grievously delinquent clerics from the ecclesiastical order. The first mention of clerical degradation is found in the eighty-third Novel of Justinian; subsequently it was adopted with its external solemnities by early medieval councils as a repressive measure against heretics. It did not originally differ from deposition, and degraded ecclesiastics were still privileged and remained exclusively subject to ecclesiastical jurisdiction. The laity, however, complained that churchmen, even when degraded, secured in this way impunity for their crimes. Hence, Innocent III (c. viii, Decrim. falsi, X, v, 20) made it a permanent rule that clerical offenders, after degradation, should be handed over to the secular power, to be punished according to the law of the land. Degradation cannot be inflicted except for crimes clearly designated in the law, or for any other enormous crime when deposition and excommunication have been applied in vain, and the culprit has proved incorrigible. According to the Council of Trent (Sess. XIII,c.iv, De ref.), a bishop, when inflicting degradation on a priest, must have with him six mitred abbots as associate judges, and three such prelates for the degradation of a deacon ( see Deacons ) or subdeacon. If abbots cannot be had, a like number of church dignitaries of mature age, and skilled in canon law, may take their place. All these must give their vote, which is decisive, and must be unanimous for the imposition of so grave a penalty.
    The ceremony of actual degradation consists chiefly in bringing before the ecclesiastical superior the culprit vested in the robes corresponding to his order; in gradually divesting him of his sacred vestments, beginning with the last he received at his ordination; finally, in surrendering him to the lay judge (who must always be present) with a plea for lenient treatment and avoidance of bloodshed. The words pronounced by the ecclesiastical superior during the ceremony, also other rubrical details, are laid down by Boniface VIII (c. Degradatio, ii, de poenis, in VI) and by the Roman Pontifical (pt. III, c.vii). Degradation is now rarely, if ever, inflicted; dismissal, with perpetual deprivation, takes its place.
    For bibliography see Deposition.
    S. LUZIO
    Transcribed by Marjorie P. Godfrey

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. — New York: Robert Appleton Company. . 1910.


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  • dégradation — 1. (dé gra da sion ; en poésie, de cinq syllabes) s. f. 1°   Destitution infamante d un grade, d une dignité, d une qualité. Dégradation militaire. Aucune peine infamante ne peut être exécutée contre un membre de la Légion d honneur, sans que d… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • dégradation — DÉGRADATION. s. fém. Destitution ignominieuse du grade, de l état où l on est. Le Roi a fait défendre à tous les Gentilshommes, à peine de dégradation de Noblesse ... Dégradation des armes. La dégradation d un Officier de guerre. Dégradation de… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • Degradation — Deg ra*da tion, n. [LL. degradatio, from degradare: cf. F. d[ e]gradation. See {Degrade}.] 1. The act of reducing in rank, character, or reputation, or of abasing; a lowering from one s standing or rank in office or society; diminution; as, the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Degradation — may refer to; Biodegradation, the processes by which organic substances are broken down by living organisms Cashiering or degradation ceremony, a ritual performed when cleric is deprived of office or a knight is stripped of the honour Chemical… …   Wikipedia

  • Degradation — oder Degradierung (von lat. degrado „herabsetzen“, zu gradus „Schritt“) bezeichnet allgemein die sukzessive Verringerung eines Wertes oder einer Eigenschaft. Unter anderem wird als Degradierung bezeichnet: Degradierung (Rang), in der Soziologie,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • degradation — Degradation. s. f. v. Destitution du grade auquel on est. Le Roy a fait deffendre à tous les Gentilshommes à peine de degradation de noblesse. Il signifie aussi, Le degast considerable qu on fait dans des bois, dans un heritage. Il a fait de… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • degradation — 1530s, from Fr. dégradation (14c., O.Fr. degradacion), from M.L. degradationem (nom. degradatio), noun of action from pp. stem of degradare (see DEGRADE (Cf. degrade)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • degradation — [deg΄rə dā′shən] n. [Fr dégradation < LL degradatio< degradare: see DEGRADE] 1. a degrading or being degraded in rank, status, or condition 2. a degraded condition 3. Geol. the lowering of land surfaces by erosion 4. R.C.Ch. laicization of… …   English World dictionary

  • Degradation — Degradation. См. Деградация. (Источник: «Металлы и сплавы. Справочник.» Под редакцией Ю.П. Солнцева; НПО Профессионал , НПО Мир и семья ; Санкт Петербург, 2003 г.) …   Словарь металлургических терминов

  • Degradation — (v. lat. Degradatio), 1) im Allgemeinen die Herabsetzung eines mit einer besonderen Würde Versehenen auf eine niedrigere Stufe, eine Ehrenstrafe; 2) besonders die Herabsetzung eines Beamten aus einem höheren Amte in ein niederes, eine… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

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