Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

ABDICATION

The act of resigning or giving up a legitimately held ecclesiastical office, dignity, or benefice. In principle every ecclesiastical office or rank may be resigned by the one who holds it. To be valid, however, the abdication must be totally voluntary and free from simony. Papal abdication can be made into the hands of the College of Cardinals, since they have the right to elect a successor. Six popes actually abdicated: Marcellus, Liberius, Benedict IX, Gregory VI, St. Celestine V, and Gregory XII. Pope Pius VII signed a conditional abdication in 1804 before he set out for France to crown Napoleon. The condition was that he would automatically resign the papacy if he were made a prisoner in France.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Challenging Times? 8 hours ago
Reality 101: The fat between our ears 9 hours ago
Liberal visions of Catholicism: Kickstarter and the world's largest NGO September 1
The Blessed Book of Beasts August 30
Weekend reading August 29

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
‘A real via crucis’: Pope Francis, patriarch plead on behalf of Iraq’s Christians CWN - August 8
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians in flight as Islamic State advances CWN - August 8