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papal bull

bull2 (def 2). Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Contemporary definitions for papal bull

a letter or announcement from the Pope to the Catholic world

Word Origin

so called because a lead bulla or seal was attached to the Pope's edict by a cord's 21st Century Lexicon
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Encyclopedia Article for papal bull

in Roman Catholicism, an official papal letter or document. The name is derived from the lead seal (bulla) traditionally affixed to such documents. Since the 12th century it has designated a letter from the pope carrying a bulla that shows the heads of the apostles Peter and Paul on one side and the pope's signature on the other

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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