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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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literally one who has the cure (Lat. cura, care) of souls, in which sense it is used in the Church of England Prayer-book, "all bishops and curates." In the Church of Rome it was originally appropriated to assistants and vicars appointed by the bishops. It is now generally used to denote the humblest degriee of ministers in the Church of England. A curate, in this sense, is a minister employed by the incumbent of a church (rector or vicar), either as assistant to him in the same church, or else in a chapel of ease within the parish belonging to the mother church. He must be licensed and admitted by the bishop of the diocese, or by an ordinary having episcopal jurisdiction, who also usually appoints his salary. Any curate that has no fixed estate in his curacy, not being instituted and inducted, may be removed at pleasure by the bishop or incumbent. But there are perpetual curates as well as temporary, who are appointed where tithes are impropriate and no vicarage was ever endowed: these are not removable, and the impropriators are obliged to maintain them. In general, the salaries of curates, certainly the hardest-worked and not the least devoted of the English clergy, are shamefully small, and reform in this matter is urgently required. "This large class of men are absolutely at the disposal of the bishops; they have no security whatever, no rights, no powers; public opinion may protect them to a certain extent, but any bishop who chooses to set public opinion at defiance is absolute over the whole class." Church of England Quarterly Review, April, 1855, p. 25; Chambers, Encyclop. s.v.; Hook, Church Dictionary, s.v.

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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Curate'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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