Secular Arm

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The theory and practice on the part of the Church of turning to the State for carrying out the punishment for grave crimes committed by clerics, and in particular for the punishment of persistent heresy in the case of laymen as well as clerics. The use of the secular arm in such cases had largely disappeared by the end of the 18th century.

See Also: heresy; inquisition; church and state.

Bibliography: r. naz, Dictionnaire de droit canonique, ed. r. naz, 7 v. (Paris 193565) 2:980981. r. laprat, ibid. 9811060. j. lecler, Catholicisme. Hier, aujourd'hui et demain, ed. g. jacquemet (Paris 1947) 2:232234. c. journet, The Church of the Word Incarnate, tr. a. h. c. downes, v.1 (New York 1955).

[m. m. o'callaghan]

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Secular Arm

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