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A canonical impediment, preventing one from entering the clerical state or continuing the exercise of any orders already received. Irregularities may be ex defectu in the subject, such as bodily deformities, epilepsy, insanity, or illegitimacy; or ex delicto, such as apostasy, heresy, homicide, attempted suicide, or marriage when bound by holy orders or religious vows. Ignorance of irregularities does not excuse one from them. Irregularities for the most part require papal dispensation; only in a few instances is the dispensation of a bishop sufficient.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.