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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Desertion of the Clerical Life

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To abandon a religious life, after having once been initiated into the sacred duties, was considered a crime worthy of excommunication or other severe punishment. The Council of Chalcedon (A. D. 451), the Council of Angers (A.D. 453), the first Council of Tours (A.D. 461), a Breton council (date annulled, probably about A.D. 555), the Council of Frankfort (A.D. 794), all decreed against the offence. Under Justinian's code, a cleric guilty of deserting his service was punished by being made a curialis, i.e., one charged with the burdens of the state a political beast of burden. In a letter of pope Zacharias (A.D. 741-752) to king Pepin of France, he threatens any deserter with an anathema unless he repent and return.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Desertion of the Clerical Life'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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