What does it mean to claim "sanctuary"?

What is “sanctuary” as in The Hunchback of Notre Dame’s, “Sanctuary, I claim sanctuary!”?

To claim “sanctuary” once meant to implement one’s right to take refuge in a consecrated place of asylum established by the Church.

For more details see this article in the Catholic Encyclopedia:
*]Sanctuary (right of refuge)[/LIST]

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.