Discerning whether I have excommunicated myself or not

I have never felt so afraid in my life. Within the last weeks, I have been feeling quite a bit of anxiety because of some things that Pope Francis has been saying, and I’m wondering if I have committed the seriously grave sin of heresy? I did not know that it was a mortal sin, much less a sin worthy of excommunication to question the authority of the Pope. I do not believe that I have directly questioned his authority, but I have recently wondered if the Pope’s teachings are consistent with past Church teaching (prior to knowing that it was sinful). Please help! I’m horribly troubled by this offense and need discernment. Have I committed mortal sin? Have I excommunicated myself? Thank you, and please pray for me!

Here is a Catholic Answers comment on automatic excommunications:

Did you physically attack the Pope? :wink:

You are not formally refusing to submit to papal authority. Being doubtful that the Pope’s statements are orthodox warrants a deeper look at whether he is actually saying what the media is reporting (often, reporters grossly misinterpret Pope Francis’ statements - check sources whenever possible, if he seems to be saying something “off the wall,” its likely that the comment was torn out of context).

You are not being blasphemous, you are feeling anxious and fearful, as a concerned sincere person is before (potential) changes that confuse. Your intentions are good. Your concern comes from love, so it can be offered as prayer. I do believe that you haven’t excommunicated yourself. Jesus did not condemn those who asked honest questions, as many did during His public life.

Dear soul, offer your past, present, and any future concern and anxiety to God in prayer for our Pope and our Church, for unity and peace amongst Catholics, for God’s will to prevail, and for us to be able to recognize and accept what Jesus desires for us and for His Church.

Try to trust in the Holy Spirit, and pray the best you can manage. Ask St Michael the Archangel and St Joseph for their intercession. Both are guardians of the Church.

God grant you peace, and God grant you special blessing for your love of your fellow Catholics and for the Church.

Kind regards, and my prayers for you and for all who feel upset and uncertain as our Pope explores God’s will for the Church. May God guide and lead him.

If a person claiming the Chair of Peter says things that manifest heresy you should not accuse yourself of being heretical and excommunicated – it would be he would be heretical and automatically excommunicated by saying things that contradict previous magisterial teaching, not you for picking up on contradictions. Your faith must work together with your reason and never without it. It is your reason and faith that is making you question, not any heresy on your part. You are not excommunicated for questioning contradictions between previous teachings and the teachings of the present claimant of the Chair of Peter, so do not fear. God bless you.

First of all - Welcome to the forums…You can find good help here.

That said - while CAF is a wonderful resource, the many voices can also be very confusing.
The issue you express above should really be addressed privately and personally between yourself and your confessor and / or spiritual director.
If you wish to use CAF to discuss and help clarify various things then let’s try to be specific.

Here and in your other thread, you have made some fairly general remarks and have received some answers. I gather that the answers (especially in the other thread) have not been particularly comforting.

So to try to work through this…to gain better understanding of the Holy Father, is remarks, and your concerns, let’s get a bit more specific…maybe even start a third thread.

Give us specifics to work with - what did the holy father say, word for word…how did you understand it…why it concerns you.
Then we can begin to address the specifics and we can ALL learn from each other and clam your anxiety as well.


Pope Francis has his own way of expressing ideas just as his predecessors. He is getting people to think more about their faith by emphasizing some point. He also dosen’t throughly explain in detail what he says which then sounds like something different. And I’m not so sure he dosen’t want that because it does have a shakeup effect.

Much of our teaching is like the pendulum of a grandfather clock. It swings to the right then swings past the center to the left. There are the extremes to a story, the right and the left and it never stops on center. But the center is where the truth is. So sometimes a person may present the right or the left and not hit the center where balance is. The push is to the left because too many are on the right. The history of the church shows this when addressing errors, it tends to accent the opposite side of the error, like bending a warped piece of wood in the opposite direction to straighten it out.

It is a good thing to investigate what you are hearing to be sure your understanding is correct, and to fully appreciate all sides of a truth. Maybe the II World War would not be history if that had been done.

May God our Father give you grace and peace.

You have not sinned in the eyes of The Lord. Having doubts is natural. I am sure Pope Francis has doubts about his own desicions sometimes. I highly doubt the Pope excommunicate you or himself for having doubts and worries. Now if you where to go out and teach the Pope was in err that would be a mortal sin unless you where right .

It also warrants a deeper look at yourself and your reactions to the Pope – having concerns is one thing, especially if they are driven by the secular media’s reporting; thinking you know better than Pope Francis does is another. You need to be able to very clearly identify what is causing your unease.

This is very good advice. Just throwing out a general statement that is “loaded” – pope and heresy in the same sentence can never be an off the cuff remark – and expecting people to immediately unerstand you is just not going to happen.

Without specifics no one can help you. Also, speaking to your local priest would be a great help since he should know you better and have a better idea why you are reaching such a conclusion.

Why?? He has publicly stated that there are no changes to any Church teachings.
The problem is the media and non-Catholics who do not know what the Church actually teaches and they love to sensationalize things they do not understand.

Why?? He has publicly stated that there are no changes to any Church teachings.
The problem is the media and non-Catholics who do not know what the Church actually teaches and they love to sensationalize things they do not understand.

Don’t pay attention to what the media says about what Pope Francis says. When one reads what he actually says, it’s totally different from what the media says he said.

Fr. Charles Grondin addressed your concerns quite clearly. :thumbsup:

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