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Definition: Prelate

 

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As traditionally defined...

"PRELATE (Lat. prœlatus, one set before). i. A dignitary having jurisdiction in the external forum by right of his office. The principal prelates are the bishops; others are vicars and prefects apostolic, abbots and other major superiors of religious orders, and the higher officials of the Roman curia.

ii. There is a very large class of prelates who receive that name and rank without any office, duties or emoluments attached, as a mark of papal recognition of their services to the Church. All prelates, whether real or titular, have the title Monsignor(e), and have a special dress according to their rank and office; in choir they wear a rochet ['A narrow-sleeved garment reaching to the knees, made of white linen, the lower part being lace'] and mantelletta ['A sleeveless outer garment, open in front but fastened at the neck, reaching nearly to the knees']." (Catholic Dictionary)


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