- the rites or sanctions of a church.
- formal marriage: living together withoutbenefit of clergy.
- 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.
- sanction by the churchmarriage without benefit of clergy
- (in the Middle Ages) a privilege that placed the clergy outside the jurisdiction of secular courts and entitled them to trial in ecclesiastical courts