• Latin: incardinare, to hang on


The absolute and perpetual affiliation of a cleric to a diocese, vicariate or prefecture Apostolic. The ordinary method of incardination is by the reception of first tonsure, whereby the cleric is affiliated to the diocese for whose service he is promoted. A cleric may likewise be validly incardinated into a diocese if he has received letters signed by his own Ordinary freeing him from his own diocese absolutely and perpetually (see excardination) and similar letters, signed by the Ordinary who is accepting him into his diocese. The Ordinaries in question are not the vicars general without a special mandate, or the vicar capitular, unless the diocese has been vacant for a year and he has the consent of the cathedral chapter (consultors in the USA). Incardination also takes place if a cleric receives a residential benefice in another diocese with the written permission of his Ordinary, or with the Ordinary’s written permission to leave the diocese forever. Secularized religious may likewise be incardinated by a bishop if he accepts them without any conditional trial, or if they have been accepted on trial. If he does not dismiss them after a period of six years they are thereby incardinated. The purpose of incardination is to do away with vagrant clerics. An Ordinary is not to incardinate an extern cleric unless the necessity or the utility of the diocese demand it. In such cases he should be assured of the cleric’s legitimate excardination, and have sufficient knowledge of the character of the one whom he is to incardinate. The cleric must likewise take an oath before the Ordinary, or his delegate, that he will serve the new diocese perpetually.

MLA Citation

  • “incardination”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 1 November 2018. Web. 21 April 2021. <>