Expression referring to symbolic actions formerly used in excommunication: shutting the pontifical book after pronouncing the curse, extinguishing a candle, and tolling the bell as for the dead. Bell, book and candle - candle, book and bell, forward and backward to curse Faustus to hell (C. Marlowe, Doctor Faustus). Agreement of the ceremony, the 1st instance of which is ca. 1190, with canon law has been questioned.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod
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