Incardination (definition)

Incardination (and excardination)

(Latin: cardo, a pivot, socket, or hinge—hence, incardinare, to hang on a hinge, or fix; excardinare, to unhinge, or set free).

In the ecclesiastical sense the words are used to denote that a given person is freed from the jurisdiction of one bishop and is transferred to that of another. The term cardinare is used by St. Gregory I (596-604), and incardinare, in the sense of inscribing a name on the list or matricula of a church, is found in the ancient Liber Diurnus of the Roman chancery.

Excardination is the full and perpetual transference of a given person from the jurisdiction of one bishop to that of another. Incardination is canonical and perpetual enlistment in the new diocese to which a given person has been transferred by letters of excardination.

The Council of Trent is most clear in its legislation on these matters, as will be seen from the following:

Whereas no one ought to be ordained, who, in the judgment of his own bishop, is not useful or necessary for his churches, the Holy Synod, in the spirit of what was enjoined by the sixth canon of the Council of Chalcedon, ordains that no one shall for the future be ordained without being attached to that church, or pious place, for the need or utility of which he is promoted, where he shall discharge his duties, and may not wander about without any certain abode. And if he shall quit that place without having consulted the bishop, he shall be interdicted from the exercise of his sacred orders. Furthermore, no cleric, who is a stranger, shall, without letters commendatory from his own ordinary, be admitted by any bishop to celebrate the Divine mysteries and to administer the sacraments." (Sess. XXIII, "De Ref.", cap. xvi)

Excerpted from the 1913 edition of The Catholic Encyclopedia.