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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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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.

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

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