One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A papal legate of the highest class, with full powers.
- ‘The Pope could appoint a ‘legate a latere’ - that is a cardinal with the power to act in the name of the Pope in this area.’
- ‘Between them, Henry and Wolsey bludgeoned the pope into granting Wolsey the rank of legate a latere for life, which meant that he became the superior ecclesiastical authority in England, and could convoke legatine synods.’
- ‘Wolsey additionally became papal legate a latere in 1518.’
- ‘In 1518 the pope honoured him with the special status of legate a latere, outranking the legatine status held by every archbishop of Canterbury; in 1524 this title was, uniquely, given for life.’
Early 16th century: from legate + Latin a latere ‘by a third party’.
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