Skip to content
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 >

Ecclesiastical Emancipation

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

In ancient Rome emancipation was a process of law by which a slave released from the control of his master, or a son liberated from the authority of his father ( patria potestas ), was declared legally independent. The earliest ecclesiastical employment of this process was in the freeing of slaves. The Church, unable to change at once the sad condition of the slave, was able, however, to gradually substitute for slavery the milder institution of serfdom, and to introduce in place of the elaborate formalities of the emancipatio the simpler form of the manumissio in ecclesiâ (Cod., De his, qui in ecclesiâ manumittuntur, i, 13), in which a simple statement to that effect by the master before the bishop and the congregation sufficed. The emancipation of a slave was especially necessary as a preliminary to his ordination [c. i (Synod of Poitiers, 1078, can, viii), X, De filiis presbyterorum ordinandis vel non, I, xvii; c. iii (Fourth Synod of Toledo, 633, can. lxxiv), X, De servis non ordinandis et eorum manumissione, I, xviii]. Similarly, the entrance of a son into a religious order, i.e. the taking of solemn vows, or the professio religiosa , carries with it in canon law his emancipation from the legal authority ( patria potestas ) of the father. No positive law, however, can be quoted on this point, nor does modern civil legislation recognize this consequence of religious profession . The canon law recognizes another, purely imitative form of emancipation. This was the release of a pupil of a cathedral school, a domicellaris , from subjection to the authority of the scholasticus , or head of the school. This emancipation took place with certain well-defined ceremonies, known in the old German cathedral schools as Kappengang .

We ask you, humbly: don't scroll away.

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 >

The term emancipation is also applied to the release of a secular ecclesiastic from his diocese, or of a regular from obedience and submission to his former superior, because of election to the episcopate. The petition requesting release from the former condition of service or submission, which the collegiate electoral body, or the newly elected person, must present to the former superior, is called postulatio simplex , in contradistinction to the postulatio sollemnis , or petition to be laid before the pope, in case some canonical impediment prevents the elected person from assuming the episcopal office. The document granting the dismissal from the former relations is called litterœ dimissoriœ or emancipatoriœ . It is not customary to use the term emancipation for that form of dismissal by which a church is released from parochial jurisdiction, a bishop from subordination to his metropolitan, a monastery or order from the jurisdiction of the bishop, for the purpose of placing such person or body under the ecclesiastical authority next higher in rank, or under the pope himself. This act is universally known as exemption.

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 >

Never Miss any Updates!

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


Act of Contrition PDF

Free PDFs: Hail Mary, Our Father, How to Pray the Rosary & more

PDF educational resources for Students, Parents, and Teachers and it’s 100% FREE. How to Pray the Rosary, Hail Mary, Our Father, Saints, Prayers, Coloring Books, Novenas, Espanol and more. All FREE to download and faithful to the Magisterium. Download 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.