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Catholic Dictionary


FERULE (ferula)


The long rod with which until recently priests of the Vatican Sacred Penitentiary lightly touched penitents. Pope Benedict XIV granted a twenty day's indulgence for observing this symbolic rite. A ferule was also the cane with a short transverse on top with which clergy and the people would support themselves during liturgical services before sitting down was allowed. Maronite monks and dissident Ethiopians and Coptics still use such a staff in choir.