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Lateran IV

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CANON 45

Summary. Patrons and others who exceed their rights in the matter of church government are to be restrained by censures. If they kill or mutilate a cleric, they shall lose their rights and to the fourth generation their posterity shall be excluded from clerical state.

Text. In some provinces patrons, vicegerents, and advocates of churches have so far advanced in insolence that not only do they create difficulties and mischief when vacant churches are to be provided with competent pastors, but they also presume to administer the possessions and other ecclesiastical goods at their own will; and what is worse, they do not fear to put the prelates to death. Since, therefore, what has been ordained as a means of defense must not br perverted into an instrument of destruction, we expressly forbid patrons, advocates, and vicegerents in the future to extend their jurisdiction in the aforesaid matter beyond what is permitted them by law. and should they act contrary to this, let them be restrained by canonical penalties. With the approval of the holy council we decree that if patrons, advocates, feudal tenants, vicegerents, or other beneficiaries should presume either per se or per alios to kill or mutilate the rector of some church or another cleric of that church, the patrons shall lose absolutely their right of patronage, the advocates their office of counselor, the feudal tenants their fief, the vicegerents their vicegerency, and beneficiaries their benefice. That the punishments may not be impressed upon the memory less deeply than the excesses, not only shall their heirs be deprived of all favors accruing to them from the aforesaid offices, but to the fourth generation the posterity of such shall be absolutely excluded from the clerical state, nor may they hold the office of prelate it, religious houses, unless by an act of mercy they have received a dispensation.




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