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n. Roman Catholic Church
A decree, especially a papal letter giving a decision on a point or question of canon law.

[Middle English, from Old French decretale, from Late Latin dēcrētālis, fixed by decree, from Latin dēcrētum, principle, decision; see decree.]


(Roman Catholic Church) RC Church a papal edict on doctrine or church law
(Roman Catholic Church) of or relating to a decretal or a decree
[C15: from Old French, from Late Latin dēcrētālis; see decree]
deˈcretalist, deˈcretist n


(dɪˈkrit l)

1. pertaining to, of the nature of, or containing a decree.
2. a papal decree authoritatively determining some point of doctrine or church law.
[1350–1400; Middle English < Old French < Late Latin dēcrētālis fixed by decree = Latin dēcrēt(um) decree + -ālis -al1]
References in classic literature ?
From the "Master of Sentences," he had passed to the "Capitularies of Charlemagne;" and he had devoured in succession, in his appetite for science, decretals upon decretals, those of Theodore, Bishop of Hispalus; those of Bouchard, Bishop of Worms; those of Yves, Bishop of Chartres; next the decretal of Gratian, which succeeded the capitularies of Charlemagne; then the collection of Gregory IX.
The History of Medieval Canon Law in the Classical Period, 1140-1234: From Gratian to the Decretals of Pope Gregory IX.
He was Papal Chaplain and Penitentiary, a famous compiler of the Decretals of Gregory IX, at whose command he began in 1230 to prepare this new collection as a substitute for the collections that were subsequent to the Decree of Gratian.