Referring to the affairs of the world rather than to spiritual affairs or affairs of the Church. In a governmental sense, this word has a meaning opposite that of 'ecclesiastical.' This is why medieval governments (such as monarchies) were often referred to as secular.
Also, within the Church, one of the two divisions of the clergy. Secular clergy worked within the world and ministered directly to the public. Examples of the secular clergy include the parish priest and bishop. The regular clergy was the other division.
Related term(s): Seculum; Laity; Ecclesiastical; Regular; Clergy; Cleric
Category: Western Christianity
Last modified: 08.06.05
Source information: Singman, Jefferey L. Daily Life in Medieval Europe. Westport, Conneticut: Greenwood Press, 1999. 11.