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CHAPTER, ECCLESIASTICAL

A body of clerics instituted for observing greater solemnity in divine worship, and at cathedral churches for assisting a bishop according to canon law. the name arose from the custom of reading a chapter of the rules at a prescribed periodic meeting of the members. Where there is no diocesan chapter, diocesan consultors act as a bishop's senate. Chapters can be cathedral, collegiate, secular, or regular, depending on the composition of their members. they go back to the presbytery in the early centuries and were thoroughly established by the thirteenth century. (Etym. Latin capitulum, literally, a little head, a chapter, a principal division.)

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

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