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In the early Church, in some dioceses, persons separated from the rest of the congregation by wearing a special robe, having their hair closely cropped, and worshiping apart during the liturgy. In some places they received from the bishop a special laying-on of hands each Sunday. Only after satisfying his or her penance was the person readmitted to full communion with the Church.

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

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