Age of Man. See Man.
Age of Reason, the name given to that period of human life at which persons are deemed to begin to be morally responsible. This, as a rule, happens at the age of seven, or thereabouts, though the use of reason requisite for moral discernment may come before, or may be delayed until notably after, that time. At this age Christians come under the operation of ecclesiastical laws, such as the precept of assistance at Mass on Sundays and holydays, abstinence from meat on certain days, and annual confessions, should they have incurred mortal sin. The obligation of Easter Communion literally understood applies to all who have reached "the years of discretion"; but according to the practical interpretation of the Church it is not regarded as binding children just as soon as they are seven years old. At the age of reason a person is juridically considered eligible to act as witness to a marriage, as sponsor at baptism or confirmation, and as a party to the formal contract of betrothal; at this age one is considered capable of receiving extreme unction, of being promoted to first tonsure and minor orders, of being the incumbent of a simple benefice (beneficium simplex) if the founder of it should have so provided; and, lastly, is held liable to ecclesiastical censures. In the present discipline, however, persons do not incur these penalties until they reach the age of puberty, unless explicitly included in the decree imposing them. The only censure surely applicable to persons of this age is for the violation of the clausura of nuns, while that for the maltreatment, suadente diabolo, of clerics is probably so.
Ferraris. Bibliotheca prompta jur. can. s.v. 'Ætas, (Rome, 1844); Wernz, Jus Decretalium (Rome, 1899).
Agelnothus. See Ethelnothus.
Agen (Aginnum), The Diocese of, comprises the Department of Lot and Garonne. It has been successively suffragan to the archdioceses of Bordeaux (under the old regime), Toulouse (1802–22), and Bordeaux (since 1822). Legends which do not antedate the ninth century concerning the hermit, St. Caprasius, martyred with St. Fides by Dacianus, Prefect of the Gauls, during the persecution of Diocletian, and the story of Vincentius, a Christian martyr (written about 520), furnish no foundation for later traditions which make these two saints early bishops of Agen. The first bishop of Agen known to history is St. Phœbadius, friend of St. Hilary, who published (in 357) a treatise against the Arians and figured prominently at the Council of Rimini in 359. Among the bishops of Agen were Wilhelmus II, sent by Pope Urban IV (1261–64) to St. Louis in 1262 to ask his aid in favor of the Latin Empire of Constantinople; Bertrand de Goth, whose uncle of the same name was raised from the Archbishopric of Bordeaux to the Papal See under the name of Clement V (1305–14), and during his pontificate visited the city of Agen; Cardinal Jean de Lorraine (1538–50); the Oratorian, Jules Mascaron, a celebrated preacher, transferred from the see of Tulle, to that of Agen (1679–1703); Hébert, who was curé of Versailles, had contributed to the withdrawal of Madame de Montespan from the royal court, and who when appointed Bishop of Agen (1703) had as vicar-general until 1709 the celebrated Belsunce; de Bonnac (1767–1801), who in the parliamentary session of 3 January, 1792, was the first to refuse to sign the constitutional oath. The church of St. Caprasius, a splendid specimen of Romance architecture, dating from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, has been made the cathedral in place of the church of St. Etienne, which was unfortunately destroyed during the Revolution. The Diocese of Agen comprised (end of 1905) 278,740 inhabitants, 47 first class parishes, 397 second class parishes, and 27 vicariates, formerly with State subventions.
Gallia Christiana (ed. Nova, 1720), II, 891–936, Instrumenta, 427–38; Duchesne, Fastes épiscopaux de l'ancienne Gaule, II, 63–64, 142–146 (Paris, 1900); Barrère, Histoire religieuse et monumentale du diocèse d'Agen (Agen, 1855); Chevalier, Topo-bibl. (Paris, 1894–99), 18–19.
Agents of Roman Congregations, persons whose business it is to look after the affairs of their patrons at the Roman Curia. The name is derived from the Latin Agens in Rebus, corresponding to the Greek Apocrisiarius. We first meet these agents for ecclesiastical matters not at the court of Rome, but at the imperial palace of Constantinople. Owing to the close connection between Church and State under the early Christian emperors and the absence of canons concerning many matters of mixed jurisdiction, the principal bishops found it necessary to maintain agents to look after their interests at the imperial court. Until the French Revolution, the prelates of France maintained similar agents at the royal court of St. Denis. (See Assemblies of French Clergy.) At present the agents of the Roman Congregations are employed by bishops or private persons to transact their affairs in the pontifical courts. Such an agency is undertaken temporarily or perpetually. The principal business of the agents is to urge the expedition of the cases of their patrons. They undertake both judicial and extrajudicial business. If it is a question of favors, such as dispensations or increased faculties, these agents prepare the proper supplications and call repeatedly on the officials of the proper congregation until an answer is obtained. They expend whatever money is necessary to pay for the legal documents or to advance in general the affairs of those who employ them. These agents have a recognized position in the Roman Curia, and rank next in dignity before the notaries. The money they expend and the pay they receive depend entirely on the will of their employers. Some authors include under this name the solicitors and expeditioners of the Roman Curia, whose business it is to assist the procurators in the mechanical details of the preparation of cases for the congregational tribunals. Usually, however, these functionaries are considered as distinct from agents and as outranking them in dignity.
Aggeus.—1. Name and Personal Life.—The tenth among the minor prophets of the Old Testament, is called in the Hebrew text, Hággáy, and in the Septuagint Ἁγγαῖος, whence the Latin form Aggeus. The exact meaning of his name is uncertain. Many scholars consider it as an adjective signifying "the festive one" (born on feast-day), while others take it to be an abbreviated form of the noun Hággíyyah, "my feast is Yahweh", a Jewish proper name found in I Paralipomenon vi:15 (Vulgate: I Paralipomenon vi:30). Great uncertainty prevails also concerning the prophet's personal life. The book