Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Benefice, a temporary right of property in an ecclesiastical estate, practically limited to reception of the income; almost always certain duties are attached to the benefice, usually the performance of Divine service and the cure of souls. The term is derived from the Latin beneficium, used under Charles the Great to denote lands granted to discharged soldiers for their services. A benefice is a freehold for the holder's life; but he may be deprived or suspended for heresy or immorality, or under the Public Worship Regulation Act; or it may be sequestrated for debt. In this case the Bishop appoints a curate, and assigns him a stipend, till the debts are paid. Benefices are occasionally united, either by the Archbishop of the Province under certain limitations, or by the Queen in Council, or by special Act of Parliament. To such unions are due the alternate rights of presentation sometimes found. The holder of a benefice must be in priest's orders.