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A curate (/ˈkjuːrɪt/ KEW-rit) is a person who is invested with the care or cure (cura) of souls of a parish. In this sense, "curate" correctly means a parish priest; but in English-speaking countries the term curate is commonly used to describe clergy who are assistants to the parish priest. The duties or office of a curate are called a curacy.

The term is derived from the Latin curatus (compare Curator).

In other languages, derivations from curatus may be used differently. In French, the curé is the chief priest of a parish, as is the Italian curato, the Spanish cura, and the Filipino term kura pároko (which almost always refers to the parish priest), which is derived from Spanish.

In the Catholic Church, the English word "curate" is used for a priest assigned to a parish in a position subordinate to that of the parish priest. The parish priest (or in the United States the "pastor") is the priest who has canonical responsibility for the parish. He may be assisted by one or more other priests, referred to as curates, assistant priests, parochial vicars or (in America) "associate/assistant pastors".

In the Church of England today, "curate" refers to priests (or, in the first year, transitional deacons) who are in their first post after ordination (usually for four years), and are completing their training (not unlike an apprenticeship). The technical term "curate", as found in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, meant the incumbent of a benefice, that is the person licensed by the diocesan bishop to the "cure of souls", who, depending on how the benefice income was raised and distributed, was either a rector, a vicar, or a perpetual curate.

Although the expression "curate-in-charge" was mainly used of an informal arrangement whereby an incumbent gave substantial responsibility for one of the churches within the parish to an assistant, in law it denoted a cleric licensed by the bishop to exercise some or all of the cure of souls when the incumbent had failed to make adequate provision for them or was subject to disciplinary measures. Once in possession of their benefices, rectors and vicars enjoyed a freehold, and could only be removed after due legal process, and for a restricted number of reasons.

This page was last edited on 26 March 2018, at 17:07.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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