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Catholic Dictionary




An authoritative application of a given law to a particular case. Also a decision of a superior's will, as a divine decree to give grace to those who pray. In civil matters a decree is the decision of a suit in a court of equity, and corresponds to the judgment of a court of law. Thus a judgment must be unconditionally for one or the other party in a lawsuit, whereas a decree is adaptable to the special needs of each case. Best known decrees are those given by courts of equity, which decree a divorce, deciding that a marriage is annulled and awarding alimony.