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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,[1] 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 often, in the United States, the "pastor" or "minister") 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,[2] parochial vicars[3] 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.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6]

Perpetual curates were placed on a similar footing in 1838 and were commonly styled "vicars", and this practice was legally recognised in 1868.[7] Clergy (both transitional deacons and priests) who assist the "curate" were, and are, properly called assistant curates, but are often referred to as "the curate".

A house provided for an assistant curate is sometimes colloquially called a "curatage". Assistant curates are also licensed by the bishop, but only at the request of the "curate", who had the right of dismissal subject to certain conditions.[8] Although it is customary for a priest to serve as a curate in one or more parishes before becoming an incumbent, it is by no means unknown for priests who have previously been beneficed or consecrated bishop to return to a curacy (as assistant curate), sometimes as a matter of choice. For example, Geoffrey Francis Fisher served as Curate of Trent near Sherborne after retiring as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1961.[9]

This page was last edited on 30 June 2018, at 11:04 (UTC).
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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