Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/353

This page needs to be proofread.

ALIMONY 313 benefice, he can supjxirt himself fitly for life out of his own fortune. By the title of pension, or stable provision, some one pleilces himself to provide for the priest ordained, should he fall into indigence. These three titles do not avail in nii.ssionary coun- tries, either because there arc no ccclcsia.-ilical bene- fices in such regions, or that personal fortunes are rare, or that there are few willing to bind themselves to supply permanent supjxjrt for a cleric. This is why the (,>n;j;rcgatioii of Propaganda, in a celebrated instruction sent to countries dependent on it, per- mits bishops to ordain priests under "title of tlio mission". By this title, the acolvte before receiving the subde.aconship. under oath, that, once ordaineil, he will not enter any religious order or congregation, without permission of Propaganda, and that lie will live in the under the jurisdiction of the bishop, employing himself in the .service of the mi.ssion. The clerk so ordained is a charge on the diocese for which he has been ordained, which assure.s him a respectable support if tlirough infirm- ity or incapacity lie chance to fall into poverty. It should be remarked here that a priest ordained un- der the title of the mission has a right to his sup- port, even when, through his own fault, he has become unworthy of filling an ecclesiastical position. The Coiigrc'gation of Propaganda in a response to the Bishop of Natchez, 4 February, 1S73, shows clearly that the priest cannot be deprived of his means of support, unless, after repeated warnings, he refases to amend, and falls into contumacy, (irave olTences committed by him such as may even justify his dep- osition from office, will not warrant the bishop in refusing him means of support. He will, of course, have no right to the pension from the benefice from which he lias been deposed, but should he wish to amend, the Church, like a compiussionate mother, in- stead of turning him into the street will supply him with his daily Dread, and will endeavour to bring him to a realization of his evil courses and conse- quent penance. This obligation of providing for priests ordained under " title of the mission " creates a somewhat heavy burden for dioceses. In these countries, es- pecially the United States and Canada, the bishops nave been forced to devise .some way of satisfying this demand of their pastoral charge. In virtue of a special power of the Congregation of Propagantla, they can grant to the priest or missionary wMio re- signs his parish or mission, on account of infirmity, a pension drawn from the revenues of the parish or mission, to be paid by his succe.s.sor in it. For a priest to have a claim to such pension, (1) lie must nave resigned of infirmity; (2) he must have licen ten years in the parish or mis,sion; and (3) the |)en.sion mast not exceed a third of the rev- enues of the parish or mi.ssion. Moreover, bi.shops have encouraged among the priests the foundation of "Clerical Funds", whose is to afford pecuniary a.ssist.ance during their life to members who become infirm and con.sequently incapable of fulfilling an ecclesiastical charge. Priests in good health belonging to the enter into these so- cieties, and the members contribute something every year to the "Clerical Fund". The society is aj- ministered by a bureau of which it is customary for the bisliop to be the president, while the directors are priests chosen by members of the .society. The amount disbursed to needy members depends on the contributions received ami varies with difTerent places. .s fallen pricst.s who have repented cannot De abandoned, the bishops provide for them either by founding houses of retreat in which they can do penance, or by sending them to monasteries, where, under the watchful care of holy religious they may, by reflecting on the sanctity of their state, cause the grace of ordination to revive. VvTzr.n, Commentatium in fae. apoatol. (5th ©d. 1808), num. 211; Cone. Ballimarmie III. dec. De tacerdnl. mfirmit et lapne; Gahpariu, De Sacra Ordinatione (1803), I, n. 584 Hqq.; Ferraris, BMiol/i. Canon, g. v. AUmenla. Joseph N. Gicnac. Alimony (I,at., alimonia, nutriment, from alere, to nourish), in the common legal sense of the word, is the allowance which by order of the court a hus- band pays to his wife for her maintenance while she is living separately from him, or the allowance or provision ordered by the court to be paid by her former husband to a divorced woman. There are two kind.s of alimony, the one kind, alimony pendente lite, being an allowance to the w'ife pending a suit between herself and her husband, and the other the allowance or provision after suit, and which is known as permanent alimony. Exclusive jurisdiction of matrimonial causes was in England formerly vested in ecclesiastical courts. These courts, notwith- standing the English common law, by which the pro|v erty of a wife became on marriage the projierty of her husband, assigned to a wife who v;is compelled to live apart from her husband a portion of his income for her maintenance or alimony. Kegulaling their action by the canon law, these courts conliiicd themselves to two general classes of matrimonial cases: suits for separation (divorce a mennd et toro), and suits to have a marriage declared void from the beginning. Alimony pendente lite might be allowed in a suit belonging to either class, but permanent alimony in a suit for separation only. For, being incidental to marriage, alimony was not allowed in a decree declaring a marriage to have been void from the beginning. Non-payment by the husband subjected him to excommunication, a judgment of the ecclesiastical court which the executive depart- ment of the civil government enforced througn its oHicer, the sheriff, to whom was issued the writ de excommuniealo capiendo, reciting that "potestas regia sacrosanctie ecclesiie in querelis suis dee.sse non debet" (Kegistrum omnium brevium, 65). And so it is said that under the appellation of estovers, collection of alimony was enforced through writ de estovcriis habendis. In 1857, jurisdiction in matri- monial cases was taken by statute from the eccle- siastical courts, and the court of divorce and matri- monial causes, with power to grant absolute divorce, was established. In none of the states of the I'nited States have matrimonial cases been confided to ecclesiastical courts. The courts in the several states having jurisdiction to award alimony in matri- monial cases and the circumstances under which it may be awarded are to be ascertained from the con- stitution, the statutes, and the decisions of the courts of each state. By the ancient Roman law there was allowed on behalf of a pupil against an unfaithful tutor or curator a proceeding in which the pupil might obtain what has been termed alimony. In this proceeding it became the pra-tor's duty to fix the character and amount of the pupil's expenses, " deeemere alimenta" , "and if", remarks Cumin (". Manual of Civil Law", 2d ed., London, 1805, 79), "the tutor appeared and falsely alleged that the pupil's means would not allow alimony to be de- creed, ho would be removed as susj)eetus and delivered to the Prcrjeclus urbis for punishment." The Civil Code of the State of Louisiana contains a very broad definition of alimony as a claim for support. The term has been used in English literature in the gen- eral sense of nourishment. Thus, Jeremy Taylcir refers to the Sacraments lieing considered "spiritual alimony." See "A New English Dictionary on His- torical Principles," by J. A. H. Murray, Oxford, New York. 1888, s. y. "Alimony." Bl.ArKSToNE. CommmtnricH on thr iMWif of Enqlnnd, I. xv, Alanby et at. vt. ScoU, X Levinz U«p. 4 (Salkeld'tt tr.); Anon.,