Chapter

Churches and the Clergy

R. H. Helmholz

in The Oxford History of the Laws of England

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780198258971
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681882 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198258971.003.0009

Series: The Oxford History of the Laws of England Series ISBN 0-19-961352-4

Churches and the Clergy

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The canon law was a law for the clergy. It defined their duties and protected their churches. It safeguarded their persons and regulated their conduct in the world. It provided direction for them in the exercise of their sacramental ministry. The canon law did more than provide a basic level of protection and practical guidance for the clergy. It offered them a separate legal jurisdiction. It sought to secure their immunity from being brought before temporal courts and attempted to keep them from being subjected to all but a few temporal obligations. According to the classical canon law, laws and customs that subjected the clergy to secular jurisdiction, civil or criminal, constituted an attack on the liberty of the church. They violated principles set in place by divine law itself. Canon law asserted that most cases involving management of spiritual affairs would fall within the exclusive competence of the church's tribunals. They would be sued and tried in their own forum.

Keywords: church; clergy; canon law; courts; tribunals; spiritual

Chapter.  25346 words. 

Subjects: History of Law

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