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

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AUTO-DE FÉ

The public ceremony celebrating the official final pronouncement of a sentence of the Inquisition. Features of the ceremony included: 1. participation of those to be condemned of heresy and those to be publicly reprimanded in a procession to a designated place; 2. a religious discourse followed by swearing in of secular authorities who vowed obedience to the inquisitor in matters pertaining to putting down heresy; 3. the "decrees of mercy" relative to sentences previously imposed on those who had become reconciled with the Church; 4. pronouncement of sentence on the guilty, who were then surrendered for punishment to the civil powers. This ceremony was at its height in Spain in the sixteenth century.

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

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