Cleric Law and Legal Definition

A cleric is a person who is a member of the clergy. Cleric in its strict sense means one who has received the ecclesiastical tonsure, but is also used generally to refer to all to whom clerical privileges have been extended. In addition to members of religious orders, members of the military religious orders, such as formerly the Knights Templars, and at present the Teutonic Knights and Knights of Malta, rank as clerics.

Clerics must wear costume suited to their position, are forbidden to engage in trade and secular business, must obey their diocesan bishops in all matters determined by the canon law, and generally conduct their lives by strict moral standards.