A benefice ( // ) or living is a reward received in exchange for services rendered and as a retainer for future services. The Roman Empire used the Latin term beneficium as a benefit to an individual from the Empire for services rendered. Its use was adopted by the Western Church in the Carolingian Era as a benefit bestowed by the crown or church officials. A benefice specifically from a church is called a precaria (pl. precariae), such as a stipend, and one from a monarch or nobleman is usually called a fief. A benefice is distinct from an allod, in that an allod is property owned outright, not bestowed by a higher authority.
In ancient Rome a benefice was a gift of land (precaria) for life as a reward for services rendered, originally, to the state. The word comes from the Latin noun beneficium, meaning "benefit".
In the 8th century, using their position as Mayor of the Palace, Charles Martel, Carloman I and Pepin II usurped a large number of church benefices for distribution to vassals, and later Carolingians continued this practice as emperors. These estates were held in return for oaths of military assistance, which greatly aided the Carolingians in consolidating and strengthening their power. 779) distinguished between his vassals who were styled casati (sing. casatus) and non-casati, that is those subjects who had received a benefice from the hand of the king and those who had not, andCharlemagne (emperor 800–814) continued the late Roman concept of granting benefices in return for military and administrative service to his empire. Thus, the imperial structure was bound together through a series of oaths between the monarch and the recipient of land (and the resulting income) (see Fief). He ordered and administered his kingdom and later his empire through a series of published statutes called capitularies. The Capitulary of Herstal (AD
towards the end of Charlemagne's reign it appears that a royal vassal who had satisfactorily fulfilled his duties could always look forward to the grant of a benefice in some part of the Empire. Once he had received a benefice, he would take up his residence on it; it was only rarely that a vassus casatus continued to work in the Palace.
In the year 800 Pope Leo III placed the crown of Holy Roman Emperor on the head of Charlemagne.This act caused great turmoil for future generations, who would afterward argue that the emperor thereby received his position as a benefice from the papacy. In his March 1075 Dictatus Papae , Pope Gregory VII declared that only the pope could depose an emperor, which implied that he could do so just as a lord might take a benefice away from a vassal. This declaration inflamed Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV and furthered the friction caused in the Investiture Conflict.
The expanded practice continued through the Middle Ages within the European feudal system. This same customary method became adopted by the Catholic Church.
The church's revenue streams came from, amongst other things, rents and profits arising from assets gifted to the church, its endowment, given by believers, be they monarch, lord of the manor or vassal, and later also upon tithes calculated on the sale of the product of the people's personal labour in the entire parish such as cloth or shoes and the people's profits from specific forms of likewise God-given, natural increase such as crops and in livestock.
Initially the Catholic Church granted buildings, grants of land and greater and/or lesser tithes for life but the land was not alienated from the dioceses. However the Council of Lyons of 566 annexed these grants to the churches. By the time of the Council of Mainz of 813 these grants were known as beneficia.
Holding a benefice did not necessarily imply a cure of souls although each benefice had a number of spiritual duties attached to it. For providing these duties, a priest would receive "temporalities".
Benefices were used for the worldly support of much of its pastoral clergy – clergy gaining rewards for carrying out their duties with rights to certain revenues, the "fruits of their office". The original donor of the temporalities or his nominee, the patronand his successors in title, held the advowson (right to nominate a candidate for the post subject to the approval of the bishop or other prelate as to the candidate's sufficiency for the demands of the post).
Parish priests were charged with the spiritual and temporal care of their congregation. The community provided for the priest as necessary, later, as organisation improved, by tithe (which could be partially or wholly lost to a temporal lord or patron but relief for that oppression could be found under canon law).
Some individual institutions within the church accumulated enormous endowments and, with that, temporal power. These endowments sometimes concentrated great wealth in the "dead hand" (mortmain) of the church, so called because it endured beyond any individual's life. The church was exempt from some or all taxes. This was in contrast to feudal practice where the nobility would hold land on grant from the king in return for service, especially service in war. This meant that the church over time gained a large share of land in many feudal states and so was a cause of increasing tension between the church and the Crown.
The holder of more than one benefice, later known as a pluralist, could keep the revenue to which he was entitled and pay lesser sums to deputies to carry out the corresponding duties.
By a Decree of the Lateran Council of 1215 no clerk could hold two benefices with cure of souls, and if a beneficed clerk took a second benefice with cure of souls, he vacated ipso facto his first benefice. Dispensations, however, could be easily obtained from Rome.
The benefice system was open to abuse. Acquisitive prelates occasionally held multiple major benefices. The holding of more than one benefice is termed pluralism (unrelated to the political theory of the same name). An English example was Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury (1052–72).
After the Reformation, the new denominations generally adopted systems of ecclesiastical polity that did not entail benefices and the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) called "for the abandonment or reform of the system of benefices".
The French Revolution replaced France's system by the Civil Constitution of the Clergy following debates and a report headed by Martineau in 1790, confiscating all endowments of the church, which was until then the highest order (premier ordre) of the Ancien Régime; instead, the state awarded a salary to the formerly endowment-dependent clergy, and abolished canons, prebendaries and chaplains.This constitution kept the separation between the nomination (advowson) and the canonical institution (benefice/living, which conferred a jurisdiction) but the state set a fixed system of salaries and would elect the metropolitan bishops who in turn would elect the curates.
Parts of these changes remain such as the abolition of the three historic roles mentioned and the constitution is still in force in Belgium.
The term benefice, according to the canon law, denotes an ecclesiastical office (but not always a cure of souls) in which the incumbent is required to perform certain duties or conditions of a spiritual kind (the "spiritualities") while being supported by the revenues attached to the office (the "temporalities").
The spiritualitiesof parochial benefices, whether rectories, vicarages or perpetual curacies, include due observation of the ordination vows and due solicitude for the moral and spiritual welfare of the parishioners. The temporalities are the revenues of the benefice and assets such as the church properties and possessions within the parish.
By keeping this distinction in mind, the right of patronage in the case of parochial benefices ("the advowson") appears logical, being in fact the right, which was originally vested in the donor of the temporalities, to present to his bishop a clerk to be admitted, if found fit by the bishop, to the office to which those temporalities are annexed. In other words, the gift of the glebe which can be called a rectory manor or church furlong was only ever granted subject to receiving an incorporeal hereditament (inheritable and transferable right) for the original donor.
Nomination or presentation on the part of the patron of the benefice is thus the first requisite in order that a clerk should become legally entitled to a benefice. The next requisite is that he should be admitted by the bishop as a fit person for the spiritual office to which the benefice is annexed, and the bishop is the judge of the sufficiency of the clerk to be so admitted.
Under the early constitutions of the Church of England a bishop was allowed a space of two months to inquire and inform himself of the sufficiency of every presentee, but by the 95th of the Canons of 1604 that interval was reduced to 28 days, within which the bishop must admit or reject the clerk. If the bishop rejects the clerk within that time he is liable to a duplex querela (Latin: "double complaint", the procedure in ecclesiastical law for challenging a bishop's refusal to admit a presentee to a benefice)in the ecclesiastical courts or to a quare impedit in the common law courts, and the bishop must then certify the reasons of his refusal.
In the rare cases where the patron happens to be a clergyman (a clerk in orders) and wishes to be admitted to the benefice of his own advowson, he must proceed by way of petition instead of by deed of presentation, reciting that the benefice is in his own patronage, and petitioning the bishop to examine him and admit him.
Upon the bishop having satisfied himself of the sufficiency of the clerk, he proceeded to institute him to the spiritual office to which the benefice is annexed, but before such institution could take place, the clerk had to make the declaration of assent, the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion and the Book of Common Prayer, take the oaths of allegiance and canonical obedience and make a declaration against simony. The first was laid down by the Canons of 1603/04 and modified by the Clerical Subscription Act 1865 which also prescribed the form of the declaration against simony; the words of the oath of allegiance accorded to the form in the Promissory Oaths Act 1868.Current practice is to make a declaration of assent to the doctrine and liturgical practice of the Church of England, and take the oaths of allegiance and canonical obedience as defined by Canons of the Church of England.
The bishop, by the act of institution, commits to the presentee the cure of souls attached to the office to which the benefice is annexed. In cases where the bishop himself is patron of the benefice, no presentation or petition is required to be tendered by the clerk, but the bishop having satisfied himself of the sufficiency of the clerk, collates him to the benefice and office. A bishop need not personally institute or collate a clerk; he may issue a fiat to his vicar-general or to a special commissary for that purpose.
After the bishop or his commissary has instituted the presentee, he issues a mandate under seal, addressed to the archdeacon or some other neighbouring clergyman, authorizing him to induct the clerk into his benefice – in other words, to put him into legal possession of the temporalities, which is done by some outward form, and for the most part by delivery of the bell-rope to the presentee, who then tolls the church bell. This form of induction is required to give the clerk a legal title to his beneficium,although his admission to the office by institution is sufficient to vacate any other benefice which he may already possess.
A benefice is avoided or vacated
Dispensation, enabling a clerk to hold several ecclesiastical dignities or benefices at the same time, was transferred to the Archbishop of Canterbury by the Ecclesiastical Licences Act 1533, 10 miles (16 km) of each other.certain ecclesiastical persons having been declared by a previous statute (of 1529) to be entitled to such dispensations. The system of pluralities carried with it, as a direct consequence, systematic non-residence on the part of many incumbents, and delegation of their spiritual duties in respect of their cures of souls to assistant curates. The evils attendant on this system were found to be so great that the Pluralities Act 1838 was passed to abridge the holding of benefices in plurality, requiring that no person should hold under any circumstances more than two benefices and such privilege was subject to the restriction that both benefices must be within
By the Pluralities Act 1850 restrictions were further narrowed so that no spiritual person could hold two benefices except the churches of such benefices within 3 miles (4.8 km) of each other by the nearest road, and the annual value of one of such benefices did not exceed £100. By this statute the term "benefice" is defined to mean "benefice with cure of souls" and no other, and therein to comprehend all parishes, perpetual curacies, donatives, endowed public chapels, parochial chapelries and chapelries or districts belonging or reputed to belong, or annexed or reputed to be annexed, to any church or chapel.
The Pluralities Acts Amendment Act 1885 superseded these, however, and enacted that by dispensation from the Archbishop of Canterbury, two benefices can be held together, the churches of which are within 4 miles (6.4 km) of each other, and the annual value of one of which does not exceed £200.
A benefice or living in the Church of England describes any ecclesiastical parish or group of ecclesiastical parishes under a single stipendiary minister, as well as its related historical meaning.
The term dates from the grant of benefices by bishops to clerks in holy orders as a reward for extraordinary services.The holder of a benefice owns the "freehold" of the post (the church and the parsonage house) for life.
Such a life freehold is now subject to certain constraints. To comply with European Regulations on atypical workers, the parson's freehold is being phased out in favour of new conditions of service called "common tenure".
Simony is the act of selling church offices and roles or sacred things. It is named after Simon Magus, who is described in the Acts of the Apostles as having offered two disciples of Jesus payment in exchange for their empowering him to impart the power of the Holy Spirit to anyone on whom he would place his hands. The term extends to other forms of trafficking for money in "spiritual things".
William de Corbeil or William of Corbeil was a medieval Archbishop of Canterbury. Very little is known of William's early life or his family, except that he was born at Corbeil, south of Paris, and that he had two brothers. Educated as a theologian, he taught briefly before serving the bishops of Durham and London as a clerk and subsequently becoming an Augustinian canon. William was elected to the See of Canterbury as a compromise candidate in 1123, the first canon to become an English archbishop. He succeeded Ralph d'Escures who had employed him as a chaplain.
A curate is a person who is invested with the care or cure (cura) of souls of a parish. In this sense, "curate" correctly means a parish priest; but in English-speaking countries the term curate is commonly used to describe clergy who are assistants to the parish priest. The duties or office of a curate are called a curacy.
A consistory court is a type of ecclesiastical court, especially within the Church of England where they were originally established pursuant to a charter of King William the Conqueror, and still exist today, although since about the middle of the 19th century consistory courts have lost much of their subject-matter jurisdiction. Each diocese in the Church of England has a consistory court.
The Gallican Church was the Roman Catholic Church in France from the time of the Declaration of the Clergy of France (1682) to that of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy (1790) during the French Revolution.
Gallicanism is the belief that popular civil authority—often represented by the monarch's or the state's authority—over the Catholic Church is comparable to that of the Pope. Gallicanism is a rejection of ultramontanism; it has something in common with Anglicanism, but is nuanced, in that it plays down the authority of the Pope in church without denying that there are some authoritative elements to the office associated with being primus inter pares. Other terms for the same or similar doctrines include Erastianism, Febronianism, and Josephinism.
Advowson or patronage is the right in English law of a patron (avowee) to present to the diocesan bishop a nominee for appointment to a vacant ecclesiastical benefice or church living, a process known as presentation.
A parson is an ordained Christian person responsible for a small area, typically a parish. The term was formerly often used for some Anglican clergy and, more rarely, for ordained ministers in some other churches. It is no longer a formal term denoting a specific position within Anglicanism, but has some continued historical and colloquial use.
In canon law, commendam was a form of transferring an ecclesiastical benefice in trust to the custody of a patron. The phrase in commendam was originally applied to the provisional occupation of an ecclesiastical benefice, which was temporarily without an actual occupant, in contrast to the conferral of a title, in titulum, which was applied to the regular and unconditional occupation of a benefice.
Impropriation, a term from English ecclesiastical law, was the destination of the income from tithes of an ecclesiastical benefice to a layman. With the establishment of the parish system in England, it was necessary for the properties to have an owner. This was the parochianus or parson/rector who was sustained by the benefice income while providing personally for the cure-of-souls. The parson was technically a corporation sole. With the passage of time, the benefice came to be considered a piece of property whose holder could discharge the spiritual responsibilities by a deputy and many were appropriated by monasteries or other spiritual corporations. These were bound to provide for a cleric for the cure of souls in the parish but could use any excess income as they pleased. The deputy was often known as the 'vicar'.
Ecclesiastical jurisdiction in its primary sense does not signify jurisdiction over ecclesiastics, but jurisdiction exercised by church leaders over other leaders and over the laity.
The Ecclesiastical Commissioners were, in England and Wales, a body corporate, whose full title was Ecclesiastical and Church Estates Commissioners for England. The commissioners were authorized to determine the distribution of revenues of the Church of England, and they made extensive changes in how revenues were distributed. The modern successor body thereof are the Church Commissioners.
In the jurisprudence of the canon law of the Catholic Church, a dispensation is the exemption from the immediate obligation of law in certain cases. Its object is to modify the hardship often arising from the rigorous application of general laws to particular cases, and its essence is to preserve the law by suspending its operation in such cases.
In English ecclesiastical law, the term incumbent refers to the holder of a Church of England parochial charge or benefice. The term "benefice" originally denoted a grant of land for life in return for services. In church law, the duties were spiritual ("spiritualities") and some form of assets to generate revenue were permanently linked to the duties to ensure the support of the office holder. Historically, once in possession of the benefice, the holder had lifelong tenure unless he failed to provide the required minimum of spiritual services or committed a moral offence. With the passing of the "Pastoral Measure 1968" and subsequent legislation, this no longer applies, and many ancient benefices have been joined together into a single new one.
The right of patronage in Roman Catholic canon law is a set of rights and obligations of someone, known as the patron in connection with a gift of land (benefice). It is a grant made by the church out of gratitude towards a benefactor.
Perpetual curate was a class of resident parish priest or incumbent curate within the United Church of England and Ireland. The term is found in common use mainly during the first half of the 19th century. The legal status of perpetual curate originated as an administrative anomaly in the 16th century. Unlike ancient rectories and vicarages, perpetual curacies were supported by a cash stipend, usually maintained by an endowment fund, and had no ancient right to income from tithe or glebe.
"Appeal as from an abuse" is a legal term applied in the canon law of the Catholic Church, meaning originally a legal appeal as recourse to the civil forum (court) against the usurpation by the ecclesiastical forum of the rights of civil jurisdiction. It could also mean a recourse to the ecclesiastical forum against the usurpation by the civil forum of the rights of ecclesiastical jurisdiction.
Vicar is the title given to certain parish priests in the Church of England. It has played a significant role in Anglican Church organisation in ways that are different from other Christian denominations. The title is very old and arises from the medieval arrangement where priests were appointed either by a secular lord, by a bishop or by a religious foundation. Wherever there is a vicar he shares the benefice with a rector to whom the great tithes were paid. Vicar derives from the Latin "vicarius" meaning a substitute.
The parish with its parish church(es) is the basic territorial unit of the Church of England. The parish has its roots in the Roman Catholic Church and survived the English Reformation largely untouched. Each is within one of 44 dioceses: divided between the thirty of the Canterbury and the fourteen of that of York. There are around 12,500 Church of England parishes.
The Taxatio Ecclesiastica, often referred to as the Taxatio Nicholai or just the Taxatio, compiled in 1291–92 under the order of Pope Nicholas IV, is a detailed database valuation for ecclesiastical taxation of English, Welsh, and Irish parish churches and prebends.