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Catholic Dictionary




The right that civil rulers claim to examine and decide whether papal or episcopal enactments are to be accepted in their political territories. A much abused privilege, in modern times the practice is universal, in intent if not in effect, among Communist governments in their attitude toward the Catholic Church. The Exequatur has been formally condemned by the Church. In the Syllabus of Errors, issued by Pope Pius IX in 1864, condemned Proposition 41 reads: "The civil power, even when exercised by an infidel ruler, has an indirect and negative power over religious affairs; it therefore possesses not only the right called exequatur, but also the right of appeal from an abuse, as it is called" (Denzinger 2941). (Etym. Latin exequatur, let him perform.)