Are baptized Protestants, who were never Cathoic, under automatic excommunication?


#1

Hello All,

Are those born into Protestantism, (never Catholic), under automatic excommnication?

This question stems from the CAF thread: Do only Catholics suffer from Church punishments?

Excommunication
IV. WHO CAN BE EXCOMMUNICATED?
Since excommunication is the forfeiture of the spiritual privileges of ecclesiastical society, all those, but those only, can be excommunicated who, by any right whatsoever, belong to this society…

…all who have been baptized are liable to excommunication, even those who have never belonged to the true Church, since by their baptism they are really her subjects, though of course rebellious ones. Moreover, the Church excommunicates not only those who abandon the true faith to embrace schism or heresy, but likewise the members of heretical and schismatic communities who have been born therein. As to the latter, however, it is not question of personal excommunication; the censure overtakes them in their corporate capacity, as members of a community in revolt against the true Church of Jesus Christ.
Quoted from New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia: newadvent.org/cathen/05678a.htm


#2

Did you take context into account?

Considered from a moral and juridical standpoint, the guilt requisite for the incurring of excommunication implies, first, the full use of reason; second sufficient moral liberty; finally, a knowledge of the law and even of the penalty. Where such knowledge is lacking, there is no contumacy, i.e. no contempt of ecclesiastical law, the essence of which consists in performing an action known to be forbidden, and forbidden under a certain penalty. The prohibition and the penalty are known either through the text of the law itself, which is equivalent to a juridical warning, or through admonitions or proclamations issued expressly by the ecclesiastical judge. Hence arise various extenuating reasons (causæ excusantes), based on lack of guilt, which prevent the incurring of excommunication:

(1) Lack of the full use of reason. This excuses children, also those who have not attained the age of puberty, and, a fortiori, the demented. Inadvertence, however, is not presumed; while it may affect moral responsibility and excommunication in foro externo, it is no obstacle to juridical guilt.
(2) Lack of liberty resulting from grave fear. Such fear impairs the freedom of the will, and while it exists contumacy or rebellion against the laws of the Church cannot be presumed. Evidently, a proper estimation of this extenuating reason depends on the circumstances of each particular case and will be more readily accepted as an excuse for violating a positive law than in palliation of an offence against the natural or Divine law.
(3) Ignorance. The general principle is, that whosoever is ignorant of the law is not responsible for transgressing it; and whosoever is ignorant of the penalty does not incur it. But the application of this principle is often complicated and delicate. The following considerations, generally admitted, may serve as a guide:

(a) All ignorance, both of law and of fact, is excusatory.
(b) The ignorance known as “invincible” always excuses; it may also be called inculpable or probable ignorance.
© There are two kinds of culpable ignorance, one known as crassa or supina, i.e. gross, improbable ignorance, and supposing a grievously guilty neglect in regard to knowledge of the law ; the other is affected ignorance, really a deliberate ignorance of the law through fear of incurring its penalty.
(d) Ordinarily, gross ignorance does not excuse from punishment. But it does so only when the law formally exacts a positive knowledge of the prohibition. The laws that inflict excommunication contain as a rule two kinds of expressions. Sometimes the offence only is mentioned, e.g. "all apostates, heretics’s, etc., or “those who absolve their accomplices in a sin against chastity” (Const. “Apost. Sedis”, I, 1, 10). Sometimes causes are inserted that exact, as a necessary condition, the knowledge or effrontery of the culprit, e.g., “those who knowingly read books” condemned under pain of excommunication, “regulars who have the audacity to administer the Viaticum without permission of the parish priest” (Const. “Apost. Sedis”, I, 2; II, 14). Gross ignorance excuses in the second case but not in the first.
(e) For many authors, affected ignorance is equivalent to a knowledge of the law, since by it some avoid enlightening themselves concerning a dreaded penalty; these authors conclude that such ignorance never excuses. Other canonists consider that this penal law is to be strictly interpreted; when, therefore, it positively exacts knowledge on the part of the culprit, he is excused even by affected ignorance. As, in practice, it is not always easy to establish the shades of difference, it will suffice to remark that in a case of occult excommunication the culprit has the right to judge himself and to be judged by his confessor according to the exact truth, whereas, in the forum externum the judge decides according to presumptions and proofs. Consequently, in the tribunal of conscience he who is reasonably persuaded of his innocence cannot be compelled to treat himself as excommunicated and to seek absolution; this conviction, however, must be prudently established.


#3

Uh, you do realize that that Catholic Encyclopedia you referenced was written in 1917 right?

Perhaps you should use a more current source…

Like the CCC;

  	 				 818 "However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation **those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ,** and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church"

#4

Hello Tantum ergo,

Should Pope Benedict XVI use his mass media access to state that all Protestants, even those who were never Catholic, are under automatic excommunication? Also adding all the fine print disclaimers that you have pointed out, of course.

I am thinking the mass media would be all over this. The end result is that many of the Protestants, and Catholics, who were oblivious to the fact that all Protestants are automatically excommunicated by the Church, would now be informed which would greatly reduce the amount of those falling under the ignorance catagory that you have pointed out.

In a poll at Do only Catholics suffer from Church punishments? even most Catholics believe that none of the Church’s punishments affect Protestants who were never Catholic.

If automatic excommunication of all Protestants is no longer seen as a proper punishment by the Church, would it not be better for the Church to officially disengage the automatic excommunication of Protestants rather than relying on Church leader silence and Protestant ignorance of this Church law to disable it as a viable punsihment?

Should the Pope warn Protestants that they are under automatic excommunication, even those who were never Catholic, except for those under the disclaimers you have pointed out?


#5

Hello All,

I need a refference which compares the Catachism of the Catholic Church that Pope John Paul wrote in 1983 or 1984 with the Catachism of the Catholic Church before this time.

Hopefully there is an online source. Can anyone provide me with one?

Thanks in advance.


#6

Hello BillP,

I have started a thread to research the differences between the new Pope John Paul II CCC which he wrote in 1984 with the previous version or versions. Do you know of one? I would like to compare the changes in the CCC that you are reffering to.

Need refference which compares JP2’s new 1984 CCC to previous CCC.

Can you provide a specific difference, with quotes and links, where automatic excommunication of Protestants has been changed in the modern CCC by Pope John Paul II or possibly another Pope?

Thanks!


#7

Knowledge is not always the opposite of Ignorance. One can know some of these things and not be convinced. I am thinking conviction of the truth would have to exist before culpability. Benedict XVI is smart enough to avoid the “futile gesture.”:thumbsup:


#8

Hello BillP,

New Advent Catholic Supersite is claiming that they are the most visited faithful Catholic web site on the internet, second only to the Holy See’s web site, and even above (number 3) EWTN.

Catholic Culture highly praises this site as "The site also contains full text versions of many encyclicals and other church documents, a large directory of faithful Catholic links, summaries of each of the ecumenical councils of the Catholic Church, dozens of questions excerpted from Catholic Answers’ This Rock magazine, and much more."

“The main feature of this great site is an online, indexed, fully searchable version of the Catholic Encyclopedia”

Are there any warnings from the Church for faithful Catholics not to use this huge Catholic resource? Are there warnings from the Church that the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia is out dated material?

My source, New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, seems solid.

New Advent

**[size=2]Here are the top 25 Catholic websites in the world, ranked in order of popularity according to [/size]Alexa’s TrafficRank software. This is a list of the busiest Catholic websites, which are not necessarily the best Catholic websites. This list was updated on April 6, 2005.
[LIST=1]
*]The Holy See [CATHOLIC CULTURE] [ALEXA] [WEBSITE]
]New Advent [CATHOLIC CULTURE] [ALEXA] [WEBSITE]
]EWTN [CATHOLIC CULTURE] [ALEXA] [WEBSITE][/LIST]Quoted from: newadvent.org/

Catholic Culture

The New Advent Catholic Supersite is published by a Colorado-based nonprofit organization whose goal is to provide resources for those desiring to know more about the Catholic Faith. The main feature of this great site is an online, indexed, fully searchable version of the Catholic Encyclopedia. However, the resources by no means end there. The site also contains full text versions of many encyclicals and other church documents, a large directory of faithful Catholic links, summaries of each of the ecumenical councils of the Catholic Church, dozens of questions excerpted from Catholic Answers’ This Rock magazine, and much more. This site is truely one of the best Catholic resources on the web.Quoted from: catholicculture.org/sites/site_view.cfm?recnum=31


#9

I would say that since Protestants of any kind are not in communion with the Catholic Church, then they must be excommunicated (the word literally means “out of communion”).


#10

This is not a well informed thread nor poll and I chose not to vote in it.

The Magisterium of the church has clarified this issue quite well in the current Catechism and in encyclicals and other current documents.

One of the problems here is that you assert that this is some sort of “punishment” against Protestants who are in imperfect communion to begin with.( Constitutes a defacto excommunication I suppose.) I would suggest that we all concern ourselves with our own souls and not with minding the Magisterium’s business and second guessing them.

In my mind this is resolved quite simply.

The Church has always taught that as we grow in grace and understanding by the Holy Spirit that dogmas develop, (in other words we understand them better and clarify them accordingly when necessary). This has already been done and those (like you) who choose to imply that there is some inconsistency or conflict in the teachings do not serve either the Church or your fellow man well in so doing.

What has the Magisterium of the Catholic Church said?
It is all right there in the relevant passages of the CCC. It is clear and concise and leaves no room for speculation.

I’ll take the Magisterium, who have the authority and wisdom to deal with these issues over the speculation of those who apparently have some agenda to make themselves seem “special” or something.

The fact is that Rome has indeed spoken and the matter is closed.


#11

Merged threads to keep the topic together.


#12

The answer to the original question:

Are baptized Protestants, who were never Cathoic, under automatic excommunication?

is “yes.”

Excommunication means “barred from communion” – specifically barred from receiving the eucharist. If you look in the inside cover of your missal, you will see that no Protestant can take communion in the Catholic Church.


#13

Hello Church Militant,

Can you give us a Church quote, source and link to what you are saying.

How do “current” Catechism, “current” encyclicals and other “current” documents explain past Church teaching which state the opposite?

Also, do you have a refference which compares “current” Catechism with past Catechisms. It would be handy to use when comparing “current” Church teachings from past Church teachings. I assume you are reffering to Pope John Paul II rewritting the Catechism of the Catholic Church in 1984.

Excommunication
[LEFT]…all who have been baptized are liable to excommunication, even those who have never belonged to the true Church, since by their baptism they are really her subjects, though of course rebellious ones. Moreover, the Church excommunicates not only those who abandon the true faith to embrace schism or heresy, but likewise the members of heretical and schismatic communities who have been born therein. [/LEFT]
Quoted from New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia: newadvent.org/cathen/05678a.htm


#14

The Modern Church has discontinued this auto-excommunication.

I am not sure how valid this statement is. It is my understanding that actually, someone who choses to apostacise, are automatically by their actions ex-communicated.


#15

[LEFT]…all who have been baptized are liable to excommunication, even those who have never belonged to the true Church, since by their baptism they are really her subjects, though of course rebellious ones. Moreover, the Church excommunicates not only those who abandon the true faith to embrace schism or heresy, but likewise the members of heretical and schismatic communities who have been born therein. [/LEFT]
Quoted from New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia: newadvent.org/cathen/05678a.htm Yeah…here it is. Read it yourself.CCC #836
There are souls falling into hell like raindrops and I shouldn’t have to be explaining this to anyone whose read the Catechism.

The Catholic Encyclopedia is not a church document…it is is reference tool. Handy as it is it does not carry even the slightest authority that the CCC does.

This issue is a waste of time…[/size]


#16

Warnings should not be necessary; Catholics can’t draw breath only if their bishop or the Pope permits them to - it’s taken for granted that they are not totally devoid of the ability to decide certain things for themselves. A modicum of common sense alone would suggest that a site based on books published in 1914 or so is - shall we say ? - unlikely to be entirely abreast of all developments in the CC in 2006.

I don’t mean to sound sarcastic :o - it just seems so blindingly obvious, that even to say it seems like an insult to people’s common sense.

A lot of the CE is still useful - but a lot is badly out of date; & is interesting, not as accurate information now, but as having been accurate at the time of publication. Dioceses are erected, merged or separated, every week - something published in 1914 is unlikely to be a good guide to their present status.

After all, if people don’t use the transport of 1914, or wear the clothes of 1914, or restrict their reading to the press, books, religious reading (e.g. Popes & bishops) of 1914 - why should they rely on the canon law of 1914, or the Biblical learning of 1914 ? We aren’t living in 1914 - we are living in 2006, as the Church in 2006, among people who ask questions in 2006. We can’t live in the past - Jesus did not suggest or command His disciples to do so. Why should non-Christians care two pins for the Church, if it cannot cope with their problems, which are the problems of people living in 2006 ?

But, as ever, common sense is far from common; it is rare. :frowning: It’s not clear how Christians who were never in communion with Rome can be excommunicated from Rome’s communion.

A book published 40 or so years before V2 is not likely to say much about it. :slight_smile: The CE is useless as a guide to the theological ideas of the period between its publication & V2 - yet V2 cannot be rightly understood without some understanding of the theological ideas of those decades. ##


#17

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I heard that if someone is excommunicate, they can’t die in a state of grace. And if not in a state of grace, heaven is impossible, right?

So if Protestants are automatically excommunicated, would this mean a Protestant can’t be saved?

This may also be of broader interest because there are a couple other threads going over whether Protestants are Christian, can go to Heaven, etc. Maybe I’ll post it there too, but it seemed most relevant here.

Zirconia


#18

The golf club permits only members to play on it course. Nothing surprising about that.

Alf has no interest in golf, isn’t a member, doesn’t claim to be a member, neither does the golf club recognise him as a member.

Bert was a member, but was caught fiddling accounts at the bar. The club therefore banned him from playing. However it is hoped that maybe Bert will pay the money back, sometime, and be readmitted to full membership.

Charlie claims to be a “real golfer” - Charlies’ friends think that you should tee off several yards further back rather than have a handicap - he doesn’t want to play the sort of golf the golf club play.

Dave is also a “real golfer”. However he feels that having several golf clubs with slightly different rules is damaging the game. He wants to play on the golf club’s course with a view to achieving some sort of compromise. Maybe if the golf club tee off further back, just for one or two times, they will realise that this was how the game was always meant to be played. Or maybe you could both tee of further back and have a handicap.

Bert is clearly excommunicated. Dave is in a kind of grey area; he wants to be a member but not on the currently accepted terms, and is forbidden from playing. Alf is clearly a non-member andf thus not “excommunicated”. Charlie is also in a similar position to Alf, but in a sense more of a nuisance to the club, because he claims to be fulfilling the real aims of the club. He is not really excommunicated, but his non-membership is of a different quality to Alf’s.


#19

to answer to question with another question, do you think that Protestants really care?

Proud to be Baptist
allischalmers


#20

No… but honest people would.


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.