medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

It's only a guess - and I hope one of the canon lawyers will step in here - 
but could it be to do with incompatibility of sacraments?  I believe that if 
you were in major orders you could not marry and if you were married you 
could not proceed to major orders.  There were 'married clerks' who never 
proceeded to major orders.  Was acolyte the last point at which you could 
marry or was it the point of no return - in which case you needed a 
permanent record?

Rosemary Hayes
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "John Briggs" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, November 04, 2011 12:33 PM
Subject: Re: [M-R] Minor orders

> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
> On 04/11/2011 09:49, Rosemary Hayes wrote:
>> Certainly, my own work with episcopal registers has revealed very little 
>> below the level of acolyte but then I have NEVER come across the record 
>> of a confirmation.  Perhaps both confirmation and the orders below 
>> acolyte were conferred ad hoc as the bishop (or his suffragan - and most 
>> had them in the fifteenth century) moved around the diocese.
> Perhaps we are looking at this the wrong way round. Perhaps we should ask 
> why ordinations of acolytes *were* recorded. Is it "just" because it was 
> the most senior of the minor orders? If so, what makes this special? Was 
> this the sort of logic which led to subdeacon becoming a major order? 
> Would the same have eventually happened to acolyte?
> John Briggs

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