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PRECEDENCE

The right ecclesiastical arrangement of individuals according to their rank, office, and seniority, for whatever purpose they have been assembled. Canonical precedence is determined by the authority of one person over another, their rank in the hierarchy of jurisdiction and in the hierarchy of orders, followed by priority of promotion and seniority of age. When precedence does not concern individuals, the order is: secular clergy, religious clergy, religious of nonclerical rank, and the laity--men before women. The Pope always has first place in every aspect of ecclesiastical preference. In a procession the place of honor is at the end.

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

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