The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Lords Spiritual
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|Edition of 1920. See also Lords Spiritual on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.|
LORDS SPIRITUAL, in Great Britain, archbishops and bishops of the Anglican Church who are given seats in the House of Lords. These are the archbishops of Canterbury (the Primate of all England) and York, and 24 of the bishops. The bishops of London, Durham and Winchester are invariably members of the House of Lords; the other bishops are called according to seniority. Suffragan bishops are not eligible for the Upper House. On his retirement from his bishopric the Lord Spiritual ceases to be a member of the House of Lords. The Lords Spiritual are not peers of the realm, but only Lords Spiritual of Parliament. They have no right to demand trial by the House of Lords as peers, but are amenable to the jurisdiction of the ordinary courts of law. Although the Lords Spiritual of the Upper House are distinct from the Lords Temporal, they do not vote separately, but jointly, forming for purposes of legislation one estate. The prelates vote on every subject brought before the Lords, except in trials for high treason and other cases of a criminal nature. On such occasions they never attend or vote; this, however, is in deference to those canon laws which forbid them from participating in matters of blood, and not owing to any Parliamentary requirement. The Spiritual Lords cannot vote or even take their seats in the House unless robed in their ecclesiastical vestments, with rochet, lawn sleeves and mortar-board cap complete. The distinction between peers of the realm and the Lords Spiritual of Parliament also extends to the families of the latter, courtesy titles not being accorded to them.