decretal

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decretal adj. of a decree or decretal XV; sb. papal decree XIV. — (O)F. décrétal — late L. dēcrētālis (medL. dēcrētālēs, sc. epistolǣ, papal letters containing decrees, dēcrētāle decree), f. dēcrēt-, pp. stem of dēcernere DECREE.

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decretal a papal decree; a document issued by a pope determining some point of doctrine or ecclesiastical law; in plural, the collection of such decrees forming part of the canon law.

Recorded from Middle English, the word comes ultimately from latin decret- ‘decided’, from the verb decernere.

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Decretal. A papal letter; strictly, one in response to a question. Decretals are an important source of Roman Catholic canon law.

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