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Bell, Book, and Candle

A ceremony in the greater excommunication introduced into the Catholic Church in the eighth century. After reading the sentence a bell is rung, a book closed, and a candle extinguished. From that moment the excommunicated person is excluded from the sacraments and even divine worship.

“Bell, book, and candle shall not drive me back.” —Shakespeare: King John, iii. 3.

In spite of bell, book, and candle, i.e.
in spite of all the opposition which the Christian hierarchy can offer. (See Cursing.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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