I received this CC: of correspondence from a friend and canonist via e-mail (slightly edited with my added comments):
Anent the rite of degradation from the "Roman Pontifical of Pope Benedict XIV" who allegedly "promulgated this ritual in 1862," Benedict – one of my favourite popes – actually saw his eighteen-year pontificate end in 1758 with his death that year. Pius IX would have been gloriously reigning when Benedict allegedly promulgated the rite in that year. Obviously, your correspondent meant "printed" not "promulgated."
If memory serves, there have not been all that many bishops deemed qualified for the rite of degradation. There was an eighteenth-century Irish bishop, a Burke, I think, who abandoned the episcopacy in order to inherit a peerage and the attendant family property. There was as well Talleyrand, Bishop of Autun, who abandoned the episcopacy during the French Revolution and married the voluptuous Madame Grand and was created a prince. More recently there were bishops Anthony Kelly of Rhode Island and James Shannon of Minnesota, who abandoned the episcopacy. [I think we could add a few names and, thanks be to God, they would be very few.]It seems to me there was also a similar rite for the degradation of a priest, and during it the oil was scraped from his hands as well. [If memory serves, using a shard of broken glass.]
By analogy the pontifical of 1862 would have included rite for the making of a knight, which before Peter Lombard was regarded as a sacrament and there was also a rite of degradation in which the instrument used to make the knight and delivered to him during the knighting ceremony was taken from his and broken over his head. I am told this was done in 1918 to (Sir) Roger Casement who was degraded for treason during WWI.
…p.s. I saw something Sunday I had not noticed before, but maybe it is common. At a Mass celebrated Sunday by the Bishop of Colorado Springs the acolytes bearing the crosier and mitre wore vimpas emblazoned with his coat of arms. I was most attractive and seemed a good use of symbols!