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Exclaustration
Question from anonymous on 9/20/2007:

Dear Canon Law Forum:

I'm wondering if you could explain exclaustration. I was told by a priest that it meant a priest could not celebrate public Mass, be called Father, wear his collar, etc..

However, here is the definition from Catholic Culture's Dictionary: "An indult that is granted by a bishop for diocesan communities and by the Holy See for institutes of pontifical right, and that permits religious to live outside the community for a specified time. The religious remain bound by their vows and by the obligations of their profession so far as they are compatible with their status".

Perhaps exclaustration includes the things that the priest indicated to me?

Thank you.

Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 9/25/2007:

Exclaustration is a term used for religious -- religious order priests, sisters or brothers, not just priests. It does not apply to diocesan priests.

It basically permits the individual to live outside of the cloistered community for a period of time. It is usually associated with a period of discernment when an individual is considering a departure from the religious institute. The dictionary definition is correct as far as it goes. The religious do remain bound by their vows and other obligations. However, certain obligations may be dispensed (e.g., the religious may not be required to wear the habit of the institute).

If a religious order priest is exclaustrated and is functioning as a priest, it may be that he is considering becoming a diocesan priest instead of remaining in his order.

The specific details of extraustration depend on the circumstance. If the priest is thinking of leaving the order and the priesthood altogether, then he may be prohibited from being called father, wearing his collar, etc.

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