Can an excommunicated priest still administer valid sacraments?


I heard that since the sacraments are endless, and the priest is a priest forever, and if in the right manner, the excommunicated priest can still administer the sacraments (like the Eucharist) Is this true?

God Bless!


Yes, once a priest always priest…however the church can bar him from acting as a priest.

I believe a priest in that state is still able to administer sacraments in life/death situation.


It depends on which sacraments. He won’t be allowed to witness marriages anymore. He can’t hear confessions in normal circumstances, but he can in danger of death. He can’t administer Confirmation.

The rest of the sacraments, he can validly perform without permission, because of the indelible mark on his soul.


Is it a sacrilege to celebrate Mass, while you’re excommunicated?




Compare this to:

Can a doctor who has lost his license to practice still perform surgery?


Yes, when there are no other bars to validity. For example, a confession is normally only valid if the confessor has faculties where he hears the confessions from the bishop.

Either way, an excommunicate celebrating Holy Mass would still be sacrilege.


but would the mass be a valid mass? like in the case of an automatic excommunication


I think that if he is unaware that he is excommunicated and still is in a position to administer the Sacraments, then yes, an excommunicated priest would be giving valid Sacraments.

How could this be? Suppose he believed abortion was an acceptable thing to do and helped more than one gal in tight spot “get help,” then he’d be excommunicated. Or suppose he broke the seal of Confession by gossiping about things he heard in the Confessional. He’d be automatically excommunicated in that instance too. Suppose he told a young man to have “safe” sex in the Confessional. He’d be gonners in that case too. There are things one can think and do that incur automatic excommunication and until one repents of them, one has no relief from the Sacraments.

Formal Excommunication that happens in writing, signed, sealed and delivered usually is enough of a push out the door a priest so he will no longer try to administer any Sacraments. There are those who know they are excommunicated and don’t care and still administer the Sacraments. But that has happened to those whose excommunication was made publically and they refused to stop administering the Sacraments, i.e. the SSPX folks who even went so far as to Ordain. They handed out a mess of illicit Sacraments.

Sacraments CAN be illicit but still valid. Take for example a bad Confessor administering a sloppy job in the Confessional. It may illicit, but it is still valid.

So I may have not said it as well as some here can and do, but a priest may administer Sacraments while being in a state of Excommunication BUT they’d be illicit but not invalid.

But please don’t take my word for it. I’m no expert and all of this is simple lay scholarship on my part.


P.S. If a priest has been formally excommunicated, he’s had his faculties removed too. That means he isn’t to try and administer ANY Sacraments including Baptism UNLESS there is actually danger of death i.e. the Titanic is sinking and he’s on it. Until he’s actually laicized, he can give Sacraments.


Yes it would. Even the laicized I believe can do so validly. It would be highly illicit, but the bread would really become God.


Same applies to a suspended priest.


No. Once a man has been laicized he has lost the ability to Transubstantiate the wine and bread. Additionally if he tried to go through the Mass after laicization he would also become guilty of falsification. Sin upon sin.



I’m pretty sure this is incorrect. Laicization cannot erase the indelible mark ordination to the priesthood put on his soul. He still has the power to Tran-substantiate, but it would be illicit. Once ordained, a priest is a priest forever - into eternity.


Can an excommunicated priest still celebrate a valid private mass for himself?


Not true.




I once had a debate with someone who knew an ordained a priest but since the (ex)priest had become a Lutheran pastor. His Masses technically would be valid within the Lutheran environment, it would seem.


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