Strictly speaking, seculars subject to a master's authority and maintained at his expense. In this sense the idea embodies service rendered to masters, as well as wages, board, and lodging provided by the masters. In canon law the term usually signifies seculars residing in monasteries and other religious houses, actually employed therein as servants and subject to the authority of the regular prelate to the same extent as servants are subject to their masters. Many of the privileges and exemptions granted to religious are accorded their familiars. For this reason familiars validly receive absolution from a confessor approved by the regular prelate, or from one approved by the ordinary of the place where the house is located. In like manner, familiars actually dwelling in a monastery may receive their Easter Communion in the church or chapel of the monastery. Extreme unction and Viaticum may also be administered to them in the monastery. Boys boarding in colleges or academies supervised by religious or by diocesan clergy, and girls boarding in convents conducted by sisterhoods, practically enjoy the same privileges as familiars. According to Council of Trent (Sess. XXIII, cap. ix, De Reformatione), "a bishop may not ordain one of his own household who is not his subject unless he has lived with him for the space of three years, and he shall really and without fraud of any kind, straightway confer on him a benefice, notwithstanding any contrary custom even immemorial".
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online