Communism and excommunication

I have a question regarding the penalty for supporting communism. From what I can tell the decree against communism which came out in 1949 and was approved by Pope Pius XII laid out the punishments for supporting communism. My question is about the last line of the dubium.

The document, as published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, bears the date July 1, 1949 and the heading Decretum (Decree), and is presented in the form of a dubium: that is, in question-and-answer format. It presents four questions, together with the Holy Office’s replies: (1) Is it licit to join or show favor to Communist parties? (2) Is it licit to publish, distribute, or read publications that support Communist doctrine or activity, or to write for them? (3) May Christians who knowingly and freely commit the acts in parts 1 and 2 be given the sacraments? (4) Do Christians who profess, defend or promote materialistic Communist doctrine incur the penalty of excommunication as apostates from the Christian faith, with the penalty reserved so that it may only be lifted by the Holy See

Does the last line mean that currently if anyone meets these requirements and is excommunicated, only the Pope lift it? Thank you.

No ideas? I can’t seem to find the answer anywhere.



Sadly, he was consumed with the fight. The collapse of the USSR revealed that on many points, he was correct.


Yes indeed!

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A prophet is not without honor, except…


By reading the last line, which was replied in the affirmative, it would read like only the Pope can lift it. The reason I was unsure is because it’s never included in the list of excommunications only the Pope can lift when researching online.

The document itself is not a juridical document. Therefore, it does not carry the force of law. Only the current Codex incurs such force. You will find no such penalty decreed in Canon Law for engaging in Communist activities. Therefore, the answer to your question is “no.”

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Thank you very much sir. I appreciate it.

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Very true. I shudder at many of the crimes communist states have inflicted on innocent people. A lot of people don’t realize.

Very few were allowed a glance behind the iron curtain and now we know why.

yhea probably but lets be honest whats the change a commie will remain christian for long they will ususally leave the church anyway. btw i did’nt know of this decree but i support it fully

From wikipedia:

The decree was published in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano on July 16, 1949.[5] A commentary followed on July 27, 1949, explaining reasons for its condemnation of Communist activity and doctrine. It also made clear the scope of the excommunication stated in the decree: it did not apply to all people who voted for Communists or supported the party, but only to people who held the materialistic and atheistic doctrines of Communism.[6]

Essentially, because the Bolshevist parties that were often puppets of the USSR were explicitly anti-Religion and anti-Catholic Church, a person who supported those doctrines was an apostate (renouncing the Catholic faith). Leftist parties that were not Bolshevist or anti-theistic were not part of this. The excommunication applied to really only die hard Marxist-Leninists.

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