benefit of clergy

benefit of clergy


  1. the rites or sanctions of a church.
  2. formal marriage: living together withoutbenefit of clergy.
  3. the privilege claimed by church authorities to try and punish, by an ecclesiastical court, any member of the clergy accused of a serious crime. The privilege was abolished in the U.S. in 1790 and in England in 1827.

noun Christianity

  1. sanction by the churchmarriage without benefit of clergy
  2. (in the Middle Ages) a privilege that placed the clergy outside the jurisdiction of secular courts and entitled them to trial in ecclesiastical courts

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