A papal bull is a specific kind of public decree, letters patent, or charter issued by a pope of the Roman Catholic Church. It is named after the leaden seal (bulla) that was traditionally appended to the end in order to authenticate it. A bulla is an inscribed clay or soft metal (such as lead or tin) or bitumen or wax token used in commercial and legal documentation as a form of identification and for tamper-proofing whatever is attached to it.
- In October 1252, French cardinals in Oeufs, France, return to Rome with a bull of excommunication but get sidelined at an inn in Pisa (Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies, 58).
- A bulla oblongata was issued by the Holy Office to place the National Catholic Student Synod under interdict (Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies, 92).
- Bellairs is having some fun merging Latin words: the bulla associated with a Papal bull and the medulla oblongata, the lower half of the brain stem.