Can Protestants be excommunicated?


#1

I’m sure this has been discussed before but I did a search and did not come up with an answer.

Can Protestants be excommunicated?

Thanks,
John


#2

From the Catholic Church? Nope, they are outside the Church. They could be execommunicated from their own churches, though I don’t know if the term they use is the same as ours.


#3

Protestants are already excommunicate.


#4

Protestants (in 1917) were considered to be under the jurisdiction of Catholicism and therefore could be excommunicated. See quote below:

“With the foregoing exceptions, 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.” newadvent.org/cathen/05678a.htm

This is also addressed under “Canon Law”:

“As baptism is the gate of entrance to the ecclesiastical society, all those who are baptized, even non-Catholics, are in principle subject to the laws of the Church.” newadvent.org/cathen/09056a.htm

Has something changed between now and then that baptized Protestants are no longer “subjects” of the Church and no longer considered members of the “ecclesiastical society” and therefore not subject to Church laws?

John


#5

Here is the current code of canon law. Read away…

vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_INDEX.HTM


#6

Already done that- that’s why I’m asking.

Can. 11 Merely ecclesiastical laws bind those who have been baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it."

Can. 204 §1. The Christian faithful are those who, inasmuch as they have been incorporated in Christ through baptism.

From Catholic Encyclopedia on “Christs Faithful”: Among Christians the term is applied to those who have been fully initiated by baptism and, regularly speaking, by confirmation. Such have engaged themselves to profess faith in Jesus Christ, from Whom they received it as a gift; henceforth they will proclaim His teachings, and live according to His law. Hence the term so frequent in papal documents, Christifideles, “the faithful of Jesus Christ”. The distinction between Christians and faithful is now very slight"
newadvent.org/cathen/05769a.htm

Can. 209 §1. The Christian faithful, even in their own manner of acting, are always obliged to maintain communion with the Church.

Can. 1311 The Church has the innate and proper right to coerce offending members of the Christian faithful with penal sanctions.

Can. 1312 §1. The following are penal sanctions in the Church:
1/ medicinal penalties, or censures, which are listed in ⇒ cann. 1331-1333;
2/ expiatory penalties mentioned in ⇒ can. 1336.

§2. The law can establish other expiatory penalties which deprive a member of the Christian faithful of some spiritual or temporal good and which are consistent with the supernatural purpose of the Church.

CENSURES
Can. 1331 §1. “An excommunicated person is…”

Am I overlooking something? Current Canon Law does not seem to contridict the Catholic Encyclopedia regarding excommunication of Christs faithful (i.e. anyone who’s been baptized).

John


#7

This might not be done on purpose but you seem to be forcing the text to read that Protestants can be excommunicated.:confused: It looks like you have quoted some things out of context but attempted to arrange them in a manner that suits your definition. I have no idea why you would do that so I am guessing that this was accidental.

Why would the Catholic Church excommunicated Protestants anyway? Its not like it would have an bearing on their lives. I live down the street from a Baptist Church that I have never attended. They could excommunicate me and it wouldn’t matter to me.:shrug:


#8

Yes, we have a new Code that replaced the old one. You have to be very careful trying to apply Catholic Canon Law to non-Catholics. Most of the time it does nto apply to them, best leave that to the experts in Canon Law.


#9

They are “Separated brothers and sisters in Christ” not “Excommunicated”.


#10

I wondered all of this myself. Since the Encyclopedia (circa 1917) admitted that even those who had never been Catholic were subject to her laws by baptism and could therefore be excommunicated.

I wondered if the same were true today. Each and every other investigation I’ve made simply says yes or no and gives very minimal and incomplete evidence as to why. I have simply listed all of Canon Law that I think might apply.

I just assumed if the Church could/would excommunicate Protestants in 1917 they might also do so today.

John


#11

I understand this to be true as long as they don’t knowinglyhold heretical beliefs. What happens when they obstinately hold heretical beliefs?

John


#12

When does Canon Law apply to non-Catholics? More than one Encyclopedia (circa 1917) entry says that laws regarding heresy and excommunication do apply to non-Catholics. For that reason I am assuming they still do today.

If I knowingly hold a heretical belief as a Protestant I’d like to know of any penalty I might be liable for or subject to. :slight_smile:

John


#13

Only when their Catholic wives divorce them.


#14

It is the proper term used nowadays, though as far as the Church is concerned, they are still under heresy.


#15

Well one instance might be when a non-Catholic Christian wants to Marry a Catholic and they have been previously Married and divorced. Canon Law requires them to prove that they are free to Marry.

Can. 1060 Marriage enjoys the favour of law. Consequently, in doubt the validity of a marriage must be upheld until the contrary is proven.

[size=2]Can. 1066 Before a marriage takes place, it must be established that nothing stands in the way of its valid and lawful celebration.

[size=2]Can. 1085~1 A person bound by the bond of a previous marriage, even if not
consummated, invalidly attempts marriage.

~2 Even though the previous marriage is invalid or for any reason dissolved, it is not thereby lawful to contract another marriage before the nullity or the dissolution of the previous one has been established lawfully and with certainty.
[/size][/size]


#16

Not as defined by the Church.


#17

Respectfully, if I go back to the Encyclopedia statements of 1917can anyone find teachings in either the Cathechism or Vatican documents which indicate what was the case in 1917 at least is no longer the case?

I’m really looking for concrete evidence :slight_smile:

“With the foregoing exceptions, 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.” newadvent.org/cathen/05678a.htm

This is also addressed under the “Canon Law” entry:

“As baptism is the gate of entrance to the ecclesiastical society, all those who are baptized, even non-Catholics, are in principle subject to the laws of the Church.” newadvent.org/cathen/09056a.htm

With Blessings,
John


#18

firstthings.com/onthesquare/?p=617


#19

Thank you. I have already read this article. It really makes no statement regarding who can or cannot be excommunicated- rather it addresses the definition of “heretic.”

The old definition included anyone (baptized) who held heretical beliefs whether they knew the beliefs they held were heretical or not. This was determined later (VII I suppose) to not be quite fair to those born into their Protestant religions who were never exposed to the truth.

A good explanation of this phenomenon can be found in “The Meaning of Christian Brotherhood” by Cardinal (at the time) Joseph Ratzinger.

A heretic of old simply “persisted obstinately in his private way.”

Now (as of VII) those who persist in this manner are not referred to simply as “heretics” but rather “separated bretheren”.

Todays heretics are those who knowingly and consciously and obstintately hold heretical beliefs. In other words if you know what you are doing you are liable for censure- if you don’t know what you are doing you are not liable for censure but you are at some risk because you do not hold the fulness of truth.

It can’t be deduced from Oakes paper that Protestants cannot be excommunicated if they knowingly hold heretical beliefs.

John


#20

Cstudent,

The concrete evidence which you seek is rather straightforward, and the matter has two bases from which it can be approached.

Censures are ecclesiastical laws of a disciplinary nature. Canon 11, which you cited, provides that " Merely ecclesiastical laws bind those who have been baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it." We would then read canon 751 regarding heresy, schism, and apostasy as well as Book VI on Sanctions in the Church in that context.

Canon 6 of the present code abrogated the former code of 1917, with added attention to “any universal or particular penal laws whatsoever issued by the Apostolic See, unless they are contained in this Code.”

Non Catholics are bound are bound to ecclesiastical law only when the code says so explicitly or implicitly. This is true in regard, for example, when they marry Catholics, or seek certain sacraments under the particular conditions mentioned in canon 844, or seek sacramentals, or administer ecclesiastical goods of the Church, or seek incorporation into the Church by baptism catechumens) or the profession of faith (candidates for reception into communion with the Church), or present infants for baptism, etc. Sometimes being Catholic is required for certain offices, such as baptismal sponsor (with due exception for the Eastern Orthodox), or for being a bishop of the Catholic Church. Otherwise, the Church does not assert ecclesiastical jurisdiction over non Catholics.


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