Incardination and its antonym, Excardination derive from the Latin cardo, a pivot, socket, or hinge (also the root of cardinal)--hence, the Latin verbs incardinare, to hang on a hinge, or fix and excardinare, to unhinge, or set free. In the ecclesiastical sense incardination is used to denote that a cleric has been placed under the jurisdiction of a particular bishop or other religious superior, and excardination denotes that a cleric is freed from one jurisdiction and is transferred to another.
The purpose of incardination is to ensure that no cleric, whether deacon or priest, is "free-lance," without a clear ecclesiastical superior to whom he is responsible. In the Roman Catholic Church, a man is incardinated as the clerical subject of a diocesan bishop or his equivalent (a vicar apostolic, territorial abbot, territorial prelate, superior of a personal prelature, etc.) or of a religious order upon ordination to the diaconate: within the ordination ceremony prior to the actual sacrament of Holy Orders itself, the man places himself under a promise of obedience to his bishop or other superior within a particular church, or makes an acknowledgement of a pre-existing vow of obedience to a prior, abbot or other superior in a religious order. Once incardinated, the cleric remains the subject of these same superiors even when ordained a priest. This incardination does not cease until the moment when that cleric is incardinated as a subject of another superior: that is to say, an excardination from one diocese, for instance, does not become effective until the moment of incardination to another, so there is no gap during which the clergyman is not clearly answerable to a definitely determined superior. Incardination is covered in Canons 265-272 of the Code of Canon Law.
- Code of Canon Law Canons 265-272
incardination in French: Incardination
incardination in Italian: Incardinazione