interdict (ĭnˈtərdĭkt) [key], ecclesiastical censure notably used in the Roman Catholic Church, especially in the Middle Ages. When a parish, state, or nation is placed under the interdict no public church ceremony may take place, only certain sacraments, especially baptism, may be administered, and the dead may not receive Christian burial. The interdict is used to sway public opinion and to force action. A famous example was the interdict placed upon England during the reign of King John by Innocent III in 1208.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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