Tue 13 Jan, 2004 05:45 pm
I am reading Casanova's autobiography, and in the 1730's he was in a seminary in Italy, to become an abate. I guess it is some sort of religious position, but I'd like to know more about it, if anybody knows. I also would like to know how to pronounce it.
I wonder if that's a mistype and is supposed to be an ablate. For example, it is used in the Catholic Encyclopedia in this sentence:
At the age of seven he was brought as an ablate to the Benedictine monastery...
Ablate is from the word ablution, which means bathe, cleanse, or wash.
It might mean something even more ritualized:
It's a-thing you put on a-hook when you go a-fishing.
Very funny, Mr. S. I like that. I am guessing it is an italian word, since it was in Italy that he was in the seminary. That's all I know. Maybe you are right, Ceili. Maybe Abbot is the english version of the word.
Most abbots are 'abbates regiminis' i.e. they are entrusted with the government of their monastery and exempt from episcopal jurisdiction. The 'abbates nullius' have either episcopal jurisdiction in their territory, or at least special privilidges in the administration of the Sacraments, e.g. they may confer confirmation and minor orders in their territory, whereas the 'abbates regiminis' may give the tonsure and confer minor orders only on the professed monks of their houses.
From the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
Hope this helps!
Yes, Mari, that does help! Thanks!
and in the 1730's he was in a seminary in Italy, to become an abate.
I don't think abbot is right. An Abbot is the head of the joint; you only get there by promotion after years of experience (or payoffs)... Whatever he went to the seminary for, it was to become a more junior something that abbot... Sorta like, he went to West Point to become a four-star general. While that might have been the desired end result, what he went to West Point for was to become a lieutenant, whence he could advance...
Well, now that I've gotten a little further in my reading, it seems that in that time and place, it seems to me that the abate was some minor position in the church. At one point, a woman mistekenly says he is the same as a priest, which he denies, but I assume from this that it is something closer to a priest than a bishop. I guess it's a minor title in the church, since it was the first position that he could aspire to. Maybe it's something somewhere between altar boy and priest? I still have no idea how it is pronounced though.
See Pifka's post above ... she has answered your question.
Asherman, I think you might be right, but are you sure? Are you savvy on church structures in 18th century Italy? Could it just be an old version of the word? I don't see how it could be a mistype. It's used so much throughout the book. If you are sure, could you help me out with the pronunciation? Thanks for any light you might shed.