Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Penitentiary (Roman Curia)
PENITENTIARY, one of the offices of the Roman Curia, taking special cognizance of matters relating to the confessional and dispensations from such impediments to marriage as are not diriment. The dignitary who presides over the office described above. He is a cardinal priest and must be a doctor of theology or canon law. That part of the church to which penitents are restricted Canon penitentiary: In the Roman Church a canon appointed in compliance with a decree of the Council of Trent which directs that in every cathedral church, if possible, a penitentiary should be appointed. He must be 40 years of age, master of arts, a doctor, or a licentiate in theology or canon law. His duty is to deal with reserved cases, and his attendance in confessional is considered equivalent to presence in choir. A prison: a reformatory for criminals.