Catholic Dictionary




A special concession, not provided in the law, for person and institutions in the Catholic Church. Privileges can be acquired by direct concession of the competent Church authority, by communication, and even by legitimate custom or prescription. Unless specified to the contrary, privileges are permanent. Typical forms are clerical privileges against violence (privilegium canonis), of ecclesiastical court (privilegium fori), of personal immunity, and benefit in case of insolvency. Since these privileges are attached to a person's state of life, they cannot be waived by the individuals who share them. They are lost be degradation, deposition, and reduction to the lay state only.