Automatic Excommunication Can. 1367


“A person who throws away the consecrated species or takes or retains **them for a sacrilegious purpose **incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; moreover, a cleric can be punished with another penalty, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state.”

Can. 1367 (emphasis added).

Does this apply to the situation where someone receives the eucharist in the proper manner and for the proper purpose, but should have refrained from receiveing because of some mortal sin?


No. Receiving the Eucharist when you’re not disposed to do so is mortal sin which is serious enough don’t you think?

What this would refer to is someone who takes the sacrament for the purpose of anything other than what it is intended for. For example, witchcraft, satanic rituals, etc. It’s also a mortal sin and it carries a canonical penalty.


Thanks. And yes any mortal sin is quite serious indeed. I didn’t mean to suggest otherwise.

I was watching a show on EWTN about excommunication. The way the cannon law expert phrased it when he mentioned this section, made me curious. So I looked it up. I assumed it meant what you described, but the language I bolded, could be read more broadly.

Anyway, thanks for the insight.


Oh, I didn’t doubt you on the mortal sin part. Imagine if it were the case that one was excommunicated for knowingly receiving the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin? We would either have a lot fewer folks in our faith…or maybe more folks taking the sacrament a lot more seriously. We would probably need a confessional open 24/7. :slight_smile:


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