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Altarage is a term once commonly used in an ecclesiastical context to signify the revenue reserved for the chaplain (altarist or altar-thane) in contradistinction to the income of the parish priest — it came to indicate the funds received by a priest from the laity when discharging a particular function for them, e.g., marriages, baptisms, and funerals. [1] The term is largely obsolete, having been replaced by the more specific honorarium, stipend, or stole-fee.

Chaplain Provider of pastoral care, often a minister of a religious tradition, attached to an institution

A chaplain is, traditionally, a cleric, or a lay representative of a religious tradition, attached to a secular institution such as a hospital, prison, military unit, school, labor union, business, police department, fire department, university, or private chapel.

Baptism Christian rite of admission and adoption, almost invariably with the use of water

Baptism is a Christian rite of admission and adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into Christianity. The synoptic gospels recount that John the Baptist baptised Jesus. Baptism is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an ordinance in others. Baptism is also called christening, although some reserve the word "christening" for the baptism of infants. It has also given its name to the Baptist churches and denominations.


"The word 'alterage' can be given no very hard an fast meaning, although possibly local usages were quite fixed." [2] In 1371, testimony was taken indicating that at Sudbury, the chaplain who served the chapel at Salcote was maintained by the rector out of the alterage. [3] The rectors generally took the profits from the glebe and a tithe of corn and hay, leaving the small tithes to the officiating priest. [4] Small tithes were often paid in beans or hops. As the alterage was intended for the support of the priest conducting the service, often instead of or on behalf of a rector or prebendary, it sometimes became the practice to assign to the officiating priest a portion of land and the profits derived therefrom.

Sudbury, London suburb in the London Boroughs of Brent and Harrow, located in northwest London, England, United Kingdom

Sudbury is a suburb in the London Boroughs of Brent and Harrow, located in northwest London, United Kingdom. The suburb forms the western part of Wembley and is centred around 0.6 miles (1 km) west of Wembley Central railway station.

Glebe Area of land within an ecclesiastical parish used to support a parish priest

Glebe is an area of land within an ecclesiastical parish used to support a parish priest. The land may be owned by the church, or its profits may be reserved to the church.

The lack of clarity in failing to distinguish between "alterage", "small tithes", and "altar dues"; and which rightfully belonged to the vicar, and which to the rector, and for what use, caused a number of legal cases to be brought before the Exchequer in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. [5] The courts came to rely on documents which defined the respective rights of the parties. [6]

Elizabeth I of England Queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until 24 March 1603

Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called the Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor.

Around 1517, Cardinal Otho found members of the clergy abusing the custom to the extent of requiring a donation before they would take a confession. He issued a decree that any priest found guilty of such conduct should be removed from and deprived of all benefices, barred from any further appointments, and their priestly faculties be forever suspended. [5]

Italian priest Pino Puglisi refused money from Mafia members when offered it for the traditional feast day celebrations, and also resisted the Mafia in other ways, for which he was martyred in 1993. [7]

Pino Puglisi Italian beatified priest

Blessed Giuseppe "Pino" Puglisi was a Roman Catholic priest in the rough Palermo neighbourhood of Brancaccio. He openly challenged the Mafia who controlled the neighbourhood, and was killed by them on his 56th birthday. His life story has been retold in a book, Pino Puglisi, il prete che fece tremare la mafia con un sorriso (2013), and portrayed in a film, Come Into the Light (2005). He was the first Blessed to die before the Mafia.

Present day

In 2014, Pope Francis criticized a tendency on the part of priests and laity to become overly business-oriented by charging a fee for the use of a church for weddings, and posting a price list for baptisms, blessings and Mass intentions. He reminded all pastors that "redemption is free; it is God’s free gift". [8]

He reiterated this during a general audience in March 2018. When speaking of the Eucharistic Prayer, he said "the Mass is not paid for, redemption is free, if I want to make an offering, well and good, but Mass is free." [9] In response to inquiries, the bishops of Peninsular Malaysia issued a statement clarifying that "The practice of Mass offerings, which is an ancient one that dates back to the early Church, does not constitute “paying” for the Mass. It is not a “fee” for the Mass, which is always free." According to canon law, "any priest celebrating or concelebrating is permitted to receive an offering to apply the Mass for a specific intention." [10]

Most churches in the Philippines charge a wedding fee with discounts for parishioners or weekday weddings. Air-conditioned churches charge extra to cover electricity and other operational costs. In 2019 a parish in the exclusive Forbes Park village in Manila withdrew a planned fee hike for weddings after widespread opposition on social media. The fee, about $6,000 per wedding, was being increase to $9,800. [11]

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A vicar is a representative, deputy or substitute; anyone acting "in the person of" or agent for a superior. Linguistically, vicar is cognate with the English prefix "vice", similarly meaning "deputy". The title appears in a number of Christian ecclesiastical contexts, but also as an administrative title, or title modifier, in the Roman Empire. In addition, in the Holy Roman Empire a local representative of the emperor, perhaps an archduke, might be styled "vicar".

The Catholic Church has been subject to criticism throughout its history for its beliefs and practices. Criticisms of the Catholic Church's religious beliefs and practices have often led to breaks with other Christian groups, such as the schism with the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Protestant Reformation. The Catholic Church has also been criticized for its active efforts to influence political decisions, such as the Church's promotion of the Crusades and its involvement with various 20th century nationalist regimes. More recent criticism focuses on alleged scandals within the Church, particularly alleged financial corruption and the Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandals.

Abolition of feudalism in France Abolition of the feudal system by the Constituent Assembly

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Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond, United States of America

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond is an episcopal see or diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. Its current territory encompasses all of central and southern Virginia, Hampton Roads, and the Eastern Shore. It is a suffragan diocese of the metropolitan Archdiocese of Baltimore, from which its territory was taken, and is a constituent of the ecclesiastical province of Baltimore.

Cisalpinism was a movement among English Roman Catholics in the late eighteenth century intended to further the cause of Catholic emancipation, i.e. relief from many of the restrictions still in effect that were placed on Roman Catholic British subjects. This view held that allegiance to the Crown was not incompatible with allegiance to the Pope.


In ecclesiastical architecture, sedilia are seats, usually made of stone, found on the liturgical south side of an altar, often in the chancel, for use during Mass for the officiating priest and his assistants, the deacon and sub-deacon. The seat is often set back into the main wall of the church itself.

Salvatore De Giorgi Catholic cardinal

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In the pre-Reformation church, a parson is the priest of an independent parish church, that is, a parish church not under the control of a larger ecclesiastical or monastic organization. The term is similar to rector and is in contrast to a vicar, a cleric whose revenue is usually, at least partially, appropriated by a larger organization. Today the term is normally used for some parish clergy of non-Roman Catholic churches, in particular in the Anglican tradition in which a parson is the incumbent of a parochial benefice: a parish priest or a rector; in this sense a parson can be compared with a vicar. The title parson can be applied to clergy from certain other Protestant denominations. A parson is often housed in a church-owned home known as a parsonage.

The parson's freehold refers to a system within the Church of England in which the rector or vicar of a parish holds title to benefice property, such as the church, churchyard or parsonage, the ownership passing to his successor. This system is to be phased out, under the Ecclesiastical Offices Measure.

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William Turner was an Irish-born prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who served as bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo, New York from 1919 to 1936. He was ordained in 1893, and spent his early years as a priest teaching in various institutions. Upon his appointment as Bishop of Buffalo he was occupied with pastoral duties in a very large diocese.

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"Desservants" was the name of a class of French parish priests.

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A glebe terrier is a term specific to the Church of England. It is a document, usually a written survey or inventory, which gives details of glebe, lands and property in the parish owned by the Church of England and held by a clergyman as part of the endowment of his benefice, and which provided the means by which the incumbent could support himself and his church. Typically, glebe would comprise the vicarage or rectory, fields and the church building itself, its contents and its graveyard. If there was an absentee rector the glebe would usually be divided into rectorial glebe and the rest. "Terrier" is derived from the Latin terra, "earth".

A rector is, in an ecclesiastical sense, a cleric who functions as an administrative leader in some Christian denominations. In contrast, a vicar is also a cleric but functions as an assistant and representative of an administrative leader.

Lorenza Haynes American librarian, minister, school founder, suffragist, writer

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  1. Schulte, Augustin Joseph. "Altarage." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 8 September 2019PD-icon.svgThis article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. Hartridge, Reginald A. R., A History of Vicarages in the Middle Ages, Cambridge University Press, 2013, p. 37 ISBN   9781107623262
  3. Simon of Sudbury. Registrum Simons de Sudbiria Diocesis Londoniensis A.D. 1362-1375, Oxford University Press, 1838, p. liii PD-icon.svgThis article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. "Altarage", The Law-dictionary, (Sir Thomas Edlyne Tomlins, ed.), A. Strahan, 1797 PD-icon.svgThis article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. 1 2 Repertorium Canonicum, or an abridgement of the Ecclesiastical Laws of this Realm, consistent with the Temporal, 1687 PD-icon.svgThis article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  6. Burton, John. "Tickhill", Monasticon Eboracense and the Ecclesiastical History of Yorkshire, 1758, p. 308 PD-icon.svgThis article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  7. Murder in Palermo: who killed Father Puglisi?, Commonweal, 11 October 2002 Archived 5 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  8. Harris, Elise. Pope Francis: Turning churches into 'businesses' is a scandal, CNA, November 21, 2014
  9. "Pope: 'You don’t pay for Mass, 'Christ's redemption is free'", Asia News March 7, 2018
  10. Kim, Julian Leow Beng. Clarification of Mass Offerings, April 15, 2018
  11. Makati parish in hot water for high wedding rates Sunday Examiner, Hong Kong, Saturday, 23 March 2019