The Encyclopedia of Christianity - Vol. 3

The Encyclopedia of Christianity - Vol. 3

The Encyclopedia of Christianity - Vol. 3

The Encyclopedia of Christianity - Vol. 3


The "Encyclopedia of Christianity" is a monumental reference work that addresses the broad interest in Christianity and religion around the world today. Comprehensive, up to date, reflecting the highest standards in scholarship yet intended for a wide range of readers, the "EC" describes the Christian faith and community in their myriad forms today and throughout the 2,000 years of Christian history. The "EC" also looks outward beyond Christianity, considering other world religions and philosophies as it paints the overall religious and sociocultural picture in which the Christian church now finds itself in the new millennium.

Written by leading scholars from many countries and cultural backgrounds, the more than 1,700 articles in the complete "EC" depict Christianity in its "global context." Separate articles for every continent and for over 170 countries examine both the history and the current situation of the Christian faith worldwide. The "EC" also portrays Christianity in its widest "ecumenical context." Major articles detail Christianity's rich spiritual and theological diversity in order to inform readers about religious traditions and perspectives beyond their own ecclesiastical frameworks.

In its portrayal of Christianity, the "EC" also takes into account the current "sociocultural context," including other world religions, secular philosophies, cultural trends, and modern political and economic forces. Covering such current topics as abortion, atheism, Islam, modernity, and psychoanalysis, these articles describe the multifarious settings in which the Christian church today must maintain a credible witness to the ancient gospel. Finally, the "EC" presentsChristianity in its rich "historical context," starting with the biblical tradition and showing how the apostolic tradition developed and how the church has sought throughout history to keep faith with its traditions while engaging the world.



In Roman Catholic canon law "laicization" denotes the removal of the spiritual status that is conferred by - ordination (Clergy and Laity). The legal consequence is the loss of the rights and duties associated with clergy status (e.g., Missio canonica). On the basis of 1983 CIC 290-93, laicization may take place by an invalidation of ordination, in punishment for an offense, or as an act of grace. A distinction must be made between the loss of clergy status and the setting aside of the obligation of celibacy, which is an obstacle to marriage.

In the case of invalidation a judgment or an administrative declaration gives automatic effect to the legal consequences (can. 1712). If the ordination is valid, laicization is either by a judgment in a church trial or, should there be serious grounds in the case of a deacon or very serious grounds in that of a priest, by rescript of the apostolic see. The obstacle to marriage can be overcome only by an additional dispensation from the vow of celibacy, which the papacy alone may issue. The laicization of a validly ordained priest that makes possible a dispensation from celibacy presupposes not only the meeting of the criteria for loss of status but also the presence of special grounds for the dispensation.

Today, in consequence of the restrictive new order of conduct, only the originally defective sanctioning of ordination to the priesthood and the longtime and unchangeable abandonment of the priestly life are legally permissible reasons for laicization by the diocesan bishop. Under the influence of the papal policy on dispensations, which is governed by the Roman ideal of the priesthood, the Congregation of the Faith (? Curia) has the competence to issue rulings that both in fact and in law supplement the coded regulations.

A cleric who has been laicized may be reinstated by rescript of the apostolic see.


Bibliography: Laicization procedures: CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, "De modo procedendi in examine et resolutione petitionum quae dispensationem a caelibatu respiciunt," AAS 72 (1980) 1132-35; idem, "Normae procedurales de dispensatione a sacerdotali caelibatu," ibid. 1136-37.

Other: H. HEIMERL, Der laisierte Priester. Seine Rechtsstellung (Graz, 1973); idem, Der Zölibat. Recht und Gerechtigkeit (Vienna, 1985) 47-88 • H. SCHMITZ, Kleriker- und Weiherecht (2d ed.; Trier, 1977) • F. P. SWEENEY, "Laicization (Canon Law)," NCE 8.325-26; idem, The Reduction of Clerics to the Lay State (Washington, D.C., 1945).

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