clerks regular

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A term applied to certain bodies of RC clergy, bound under religious vows, who live in community and engage in active pastoral work. Such regular clerks originated in the 16th cent. through the efforts of various bands of clerics to perfect their work by the stimulus of ordered discipline. They include the Theatines (founded 1524), the Barnabites (1530), and the Jesuits (1534).

Subjects: Christianity.

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