Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Canonical Investiture

(Lat. investitura, from investire, to clothe.)

Canonical Investiture is the act by which a suzerain granted a fief to his vassal, and the ceremonies which accompanied that grant. From the middle of the eleventh century, and perhaps during the first half of that century, the term was used to designate the act and the ceremonies by which princes granted to bishops and abbots, besides their titles, the possessions which constituted their benefices, and the political rights which they were to exercise (see INVESTITURES, CONFLICT OF). The putting in possession was done after the investiture by enthronization (q. v.). The decretals use the word investitura to signify the concession of an ecclesiastical benefice; only since the thirteenth century has it signified the act of putting one in possession of such a benefice. This is the sense in which it is now used; it is synonymous with Institutio corporalis. (See INSTITUTION, CANONICAL; INSTALLATION.)

HINSCHIUS, System des katholischen Kirchenrechts (Berlin, 1878), II, 654; KAULEN in Kirchenlex., s.v. Investitur, VI (Freiburg im Br., 1889), 843-44.