Skip to content

Privilege of Competency

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

( Latin Privilegium Competentiœ )


The competency of a cleric means his right to proper sustenance. When a parochial church has been incorporated with a collegiate institution or monastery and a vicar has been appointed to the cure of souls in the parish, the possessors of the benefice are obliged to give him the needful salary. Nor can the right to this competency be done away with by agreement. If a private contract be made by which a less sum is to be accepted, it will not bind the successor of the contracting vicar. Even if the contract be approved by public authority, it is not binding unless an amount sufficient for the proper support of the pastor be stipulated. The right to competency also has place when several simple benefices are united with a parish church. If the endowment is not sufficient for the necessary number of pastors, then recourse is to be had to firstfruits, tithes, and collections among the parishioners (Council of Trent, Sess. XXIV, c. xiii, de Ref.). It is the duty of the bishop to see that those who have the care of souls be provided with proper support. By the privilege of competency, the goods of a cleric, burdened with debt, cannot be attached or sold without leaving him sufficient means of support (Cap. 3, x., III, 23). A cleric loses this privilege, however, if he fraudulently contracts unnecessary debts, in abuse of the privilege. The civil law in some countries recognizes this right of competency. In Austria, while the property of a benefice cannot be attached, the revenues can, but only to such an extent that at least 300 or 210 florins, according to the rank of the benefice, must remain intact. In Germany, whatever is necessary for exercising the ministry is free from attachment. The civil laws of the United States and Great Britain make no exception for clerics.

Free Online Catholic Classes for Anyone, Anywhere - Click Here


The term competency is also used for the sum total of the rights belonging to any ecclesiastical dignitary , as of the pope, bishops, etc. Objectively, such competency is determined by the various functions to which it extends, such as ordination, matrimony, and so forth.

Face Mask with Cross BOGO 50% OFF

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.