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.)
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
While the Catholic Church had served as something of an institutional arm for the Spanish monarchy since its early days of empire, that relationship began to change increasingly in the later 18th century as the Bourbon government pushed for greater independence of a national church, episcopacies, and secular clergy at the expense of the Roman hierarchy, specifically the Curia and regular clergy and illustrated most profoundly in the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767.
Indeed, law and medicine professors often viewed with condescension the one or two members of the regular clergy from local monasteries who taught theology in the university.
Rather, the issue was with the regular clergy, that is, the monks, and also the nuns, who were not clergy.
I think we are further now from women deacons, married regular clergy and meaningful lay participation in governance than we were prior to the scandals.
She added that some dioceses also address wellness concerns during their regular clergy conferences.
We also are rewarded with fine examples of some traditional themes in the literature--jurisdictional conflict between political authorities, rivalries among secular and regular clergy, and the evolution of Spanish "Just War" doctrines.