clergy

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clergy

ministers, priests or pastors of churches. Historically clergy were exempt from trial or punishment before the secular courts, which was known as benefit of clergy. On the other hand, until the House of Commons (Removal of Clergy Disqualification) Act 2001, clergy could not sit in the House of Commons. (Lords Spiritual who sit in the House of Lords are still excluded from the Commons.)

CLERGY. All who are attached to the ecclesiastical ministry are called the clergy; a clergyman is therefore an ecclesiastical minister.
     2. Clergymen were exempted by the emperor Constantine from all civil burdens. Baronius ad ann. 319, Sec. 30. Lord Coke says, 2 Inst. 3, ecclesiastical persons have more and greater liberties than other of the king's subjects, wherein to set down all, would take up a whole volume of itself.
     3. In the United States the clergy is not established by law, but each congregation or church may choose its own clergyman.

References in periodicals archive ?
parish priests and vicars who serve as pastors, which forced the Spanish church to turn to members of the regular clergy to serve as confessors.
In the interests of economic growth they sought to control the regular clergy, displace them with the secular clergy and ordinary parishes, and remove them to the frontiers, with the Franciscans largely succeeding to the task and positions of the suppressed Jesuit order.
Erasmus famously castigated such vulture-like predations in "The Funeral," in which a parish priest must confront the regular clergy, united in a rare instance of mutual greed, at the bedside of George, who is not making a good death.
As to the new orders, particularly the clerks regular with their orientation to activity in the world, they had important forerunners in the orders of mendicant friars who were undergoing rigorous pre-Reformation reforms in the various Observance movements -- the shift of the regular clergy from monastic contemplation was not something radically new in the sixteenth century.