Does Matthew 5:21-26 imply excommunication?


#1

Hi,
Doesn’t the scripture reading of Matthew 5:21-26 imply
excommunication for the person who became angry with
their brother in Christ and has not or refuses to reconcile?
If one of our fellow Christians becomes angry with their
brother in Christ and tells them that they won’t talk to
one another anymore, this destroys the body of Christ.
Jesus compares it to murder, which is very accurate
since it is as if the victim is murdered (figuratively speaking)
out of the life of the one who became angry. If the angry
person threatens to file harassment charges if the victim
tries to talk to them, this is basically excommunicating
the victim out of the angry person’s life. Jesus says to
the angry person to leave your gift at the alter and go reconcile with the victim, or risk the fires of Gehenna if the victim holds
the angry person in contempt. I think Jesus is saying
that the angry person is basically going to hell if they
do not reconcile with the victim. So, the angry person
should not participate in the church in any way, shape
or form anymore until they have reconciled with the victim,
which would be an excommunication for the angry person.
The reason I think is because Jesus does not want the
angry person to go on continuing to destroy the body of
Christ within the church over and over again without anyone
disciplining them. So, I think that an excommunication
is warranted in this situation for the angry person, which
should be lifted after a reconciliation with the victim.
What do you think? Do you interpret the scripture the
same way? Do you think any bishop in the country
has the spine to implement the scripture in this way?

 Thanks for reading this.  People are getting away with

hurting people very deeply within the church and it needs
to stop. If people want to deliberately hurt our own fellow
Catholics by excommunicating them out of their lives, then
they are not in communion with the rest of us and they
don’t belong in the church and deserve excommunication
until they reconcile with anyone they have hurt. This is
how I interpret the scripture reading. Thanks again and
have a great week. May God continuously bless and
keep you all.

Love,
Federico


#2

Dear Fredrico,

The Church does not excommunicate people simply because they have become angry with each other. Only the Church can excommunicate someone. Individual members of the Church cannot prevent others from receiving the sacraments.

Our Lord was concerned that we understand that hatred for one’s brother goes deeper than simply external actions. Hatred begins with one’s intentions. He is not condemning the emotion of anger. Anger is an emotion which is morally neutral. How we use anger determines whether it is sinful or not. Our Lord showed anger when He drove the money changers from the temple.

There are instances where an individual will have to cut off all ties with another for reasons of one’s personal safety or the safety of one’s children.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.