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Benefit of clergy

the rites or sanctions of a church.
formal marriage:
living together withoutbenefit of clergy.
the privilege claimed by church authorities to try and punish, by an ecclesiastical court, any member of the clergy accused of a serious crime. The privilege was abolished in the U.S. in 1790 and in England in 1827.
noun (Christianity)
sanction by the church: marriage without benefit of clergy
(in the Middle Ages) a privilege that placed the clergy outside the jurisdiction of secular courts and entitled them to trial in ecclesiastical courts


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