Fraternity (confraternitas, sodalitas), the name of associations in the Roman Catholic Church which pursue special religious and ecclesiastical purposes, observe corresponding statutes and religious exercises, and are endowed with indulgences, and sometimes with other privileges. Among the purposes to which fraternities are devoted. are thes nursing of the sick support of the poor, the practice of a special devotion to some part of the Roman Catholic worship, the veneration of a particular saint, etc. In the earlier timesof the Christian Church, as all Roman Catholic writers admit, there is no trace of fraternities. The first reference to them is found in an order of bishop Odo, of Paris (died 1208), providing for the annual meeting of a Marianic fraternity. In the 12th century thee fraternity of Bridge Brethren (q.v.) arose at Avignon. Among the oldest associations of this class belongs also the fraternity of the Golifalonieri, who were confirmed by pope. Clement IV. In the 17th and 18th centuries the "Marianic Congregations" spread widely, especially in Southern Germany, and in connectiowith the order of Jesuits. Among the other most noted associations were that of the Scapulary (q.v.), Rosary (q.v.), and Corpus Christi. The popes Clement VIII, Paul V, Benedict XIII, and Benedict XIV issued several constitutions and decrees concerning fraternities. All the fraternities of the Church are subject to the jurisdiction of the bishop and his right of visitation. No fraternity can be erected in a diocese without the consent of the bishop, who has the right of examining sanctioning, and, whenever be chooses, altering their statutes. Among the fraternities of modern origin, none has extended so widely as the "Fraternity of the most Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary for the Conversion of Sinners," which was founded in 1837 by the abbe Dufriche Desgenettes in Paris. Among the many religious societies which have been of late established by the High. Church school in the Anglican Church are many which assume the name "Brotherhood" or "Confraternity." The "Kalendar for the English Churchbe" for the year 1869 mentions all societies of this kind then in existence in England, among them the "Guild of St. Alban the Martyr," all the branches of which call themselves motherhood or sisterhood; the "Confraternity of the most Holy Trinity;" the "Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ;" the "Brotherhood of St. Luke the Physician and Evangelist." — Allgemeine Real-Encyklop. 3:134 (s.v. Braderschaften); Kalendar for the English Church for 1869 (London, 1869, pages 198-211). (A.J.S.)

Bible concordance for FRATERNITY.

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