Excommunication Question


#1

I am curious about this issue… maybe someone knows the laws on this.

How does one actually get excommunicated from the Church? What kind of offenses warrant this?

After excommunication, is there any sentence or penalty?


#2

[quote=BrJimC]I am curious about this issue…
[/quote]

you have to read the whole Code of Canon Law, specially Book VI.
vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_INDEX.HTM


#3

You can be excommunicated if you commited something which is against the Tradition of the Catholic Church.

Example: If you publicly support abortion then you have commited something which is against the teaching of the Church then you have Excommunicated yourself to the church. There is no punishment like that of the Law. It means that you are not anymore allowed to recieve sacraments from the church.

Excommunication can be lifted up only by the Holy See.

I prefer that you read the link above.


#4

[quote=viktor aleksndr]You can be excommunicated if you commited something which is against the Tradition of the Catholic Church.

Example: If you publicly support abortion then you have commited something which is against the teaching of the Church then you have Excommunicated yourself to the church. There is no punishment like that of the Law. It means that you are not anymore allowed to recieve sacraments from the church.

Excommunication can be lifted up only by the Holy See.

I prefer that you read the link above.
[/quote]

Are you sure? Excommunication is a little bit harder than that. What you mentioned about abortion puts you in a state of mortal sin. Yes, you should not receive communion, but you are able to go to confession and, after penance, return to a full participation of the Mass.

I’m not sure, but doesn’t excommunication come, as a last resort, after somebody publicly and knowingly rejects the teachings of Christ and His Church?

NotWorthy

PS - Alexandr, you forgot to post to the link you referenced.


#5

NotWorthy is correct. Excommunication and the penalties attached to it is incurred only under very restricted conditions. A gravely imputable external violation of a Church law to which that penalty is attached is required.

Canon 1321: “§1. No one is punished unless the external violation of a law or a precept committed by the person, is gravely imputable by reason of malice (ex dolo) or regligence (ex culpa). §2. A penalty established by a law or precept binds the person who has deliberately violated the law or precept; however, a person who violated a law or precept by omitting necessarily diligence is not punished unless the law or precept provides otherwise. §3. When an external violation has occurred, imputability is presumed unless it is otherwise evident.”

It is not to be simply stated as “something which is against the Tradition of the Catholic Church.”

Only certain of these ecclesiastical “crimes” entail automatic excommunication. Most cases require a declaration or sentence.
In the case of someone publicly supporting abortion, a process would be needed to impose the excommunication. There may also be mitigating circumstances.

In a true case of excommunication, the person could not receive the sacrament of confession.

Canon 1331: “§1. An excommunicated person is forbidden: 1º to have any ministerial participation in celebrating the sacrifice of the Eucharist or any other ceremonies of worship whatsoever; 2º to celebrate the sacraments or sacramentals and to receive the sacraments; …”

The remission of penalty and the lifting of excommunication is only sometimes reserved to the Holy See. In other cases, it is not and can be lifted by another competent Church authority, usually the diocesan bishop or certain religious superiors.

Church penal law is complex. If someone procures a successful abortion or cooperates in obtaining it, they incur an automatic excommunication (c. 1398). However, they do not necessarily incur the penalty. This happens with abortion sometimes, since it happens sometimes that the person doesn’t know that the penalty is attached to the action. Abortion also would have to be an intentional (done for the purpose of killing the baby, and not as an inintended and prudently unforseen result of another medical procedure) and free action commited by someone beyond 16 completed years of age.

Canon 1323: “The following are not subject to a penalty when they have violated a law or precept: 1º a person who has not yet completed the sixteenth year of age; 2º a person who without negligence was ignorant that he or she violated a law or precept; inadvertence and error are equivalent to ignorance; 3º a person who acted due to physical force or a chance occurrence which the person could not foresee or, if foreseen, avoid; 4º a person who acted coerced by grave fear, even if only relatively grave, or due to necessity or grave inconvenience unless the act is intrinsically evil or tends to harm souls; 5º a person who acted with due moderation against an unjust aggressor for the sake of legitimate self-defense or defense of another; 6º a person who lacked the use of reason, without prejudice to the prescripts of canons 1324, §1, 2º and 1325; 7º a person who without negligence thought that one of the circumstances mentioned in nn. 4 or 5 was present.”

Canon 1324: “§1. The perpetrator of a violation is not exempt from a penalty, but the penalty established by law or precept must be tempered or a penance employed in its place it the delict was committed: 1º by a person who had only the imperfect use of reason; 2º by a person who lacked the use of reason because of drunkenness or another similar culpable disturbance of mind; 3º from grave heat of passion which did not precede and hinder all deliberation of mind and consent of will and provided that the passion itself had not been stimulated or fostered voluntarily; 4º by a minor who has completed the age of sixteen years; … 8º by aperson who thought in culpable error that one if the circumstances mentioned in canon 1323, nn. 4 or 5 was present; 9º by a person who without negligence did not know that a penalty was attached to a law or precept; 10º by a person who acted without full imputability provided that the imputability was grave. §2. A judge can act in the same manner if another circumstance is present which diminishes the gravity of a delict. §3. In the circumstances mentioned in §1, the accused is not bound by a latae sententiae penalty.”

Most confessors today have the power to remit the penalty attached to excommunication, and usually absolve from the censure during sacramental confession.

So we need to step carefully in this discussion.


#6

Excommunication doesn’t need to be lifted by the Holy See,

1463: Certain particularly grave sins incur excommunication, the most severe ecclesiastical penalty, which impedes the reception of the sacraments and the exercise of certain ecclesiastical acts, and for which absolution consequently cannot be granted, according to canon law, except by the Pope, the bishop of the place or priests authorized by them. “In danger of death any priest, even if deprived of faculties for hearing confessions, can absolve from every sin and excommunication.”

I have heard of excommunications for grave offenses against the Eucharist or the Liturgy. Otherwise I believe its pretty tough for a common Catholic to be excommunicated other than by the automatic excommunications prescribed.

PS A grave offense against the Eucharist or Liturgy would be anything the bishop of that particular diocese viewed as disrespectful towards some aspect of the Mass, ie the person who sold the Eucharist on EBay would likely be excommunicated, someone who steals hosts or something essential to the mass from the Church, or shows a serious lack of respect for the Eucharist. This is purely conjecture as I believe it is largely up to the discretion of the particular bishop.


#7

Canon 1398: “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.”

Canon 751: “Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.”

Canon 1364 §1: “an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.”

The phrase “latae sententiae” literally means a ‘broad sentence’ or ‘wide judgment,’ in other words, a sentence or judgment which is applied widely. In this context, it refers to a type of excommunication which is automatic. Such a sentence of excommunication is incurred “by the very commission of the offense,” (CCC 2272) and does not require the particular judgment of a case by competent authority.

There need be no judgement, nor even an accusation, for a person to be excommunicated. A person who has excommunicated himself incurrs a grave sin if he presents himself to receive the sacrement without seeking absolution and re-instatement.


#8

[quote=BrJimC]I am curious about this issue… maybe someone knows the laws on this.

How does one actually get excommunicated from the Church? What kind of offenses warrant this?

After excommunication, is there any sentence or penalty?
[/quote]

BrJim,

I can’t speak for the laws, but I do know that Bishop Bruskewitz (sp?) in Nebraska announced a few years ago that people who belonged to certain organizations (Masonic, SSPX, and Call to Action) were by their continued membership excommunicating themselves from the Church. There was a hue and cry and I don’t know if anything came of it.

There was also a Sri Lankan theologian named (I think) Balasuriyama who was formally excommunicated over his teachings about Mary and original sin. I think he took the excommunication as a wake-up call because six months later he was welcomed back into the Church.

  • Liberian

#9

Wow… very good information.

I was wondering while I was reading… When you refer to a person excommunicating themselves… I understand this to mean that he or she has committed an excommunicatable offense which has put them under Church authority to publically recognize such and officially excommunicate the individual at fault. Thus, the Church could (since it is publically known or announced) exercise its right to withold the sacraments or impose a penal code against teh individual. Is this correct?

Or when a person is said to have excommunicated themselves, this means by default since they have committed such an act to warrant such a thing and no special decree needs to be made against the person?

In other words, does the person stand accused and go through due process within the Church or is it just known that this person has committed an excommunicable offense?

Hope Im making sense… :cool:


#10

You folks have to be kidding right? Publicly supporting abortion gets you ex communicated? Remember Senator Kearney who ran against Bush in the Presidential campaign? He was pro choice and he and his family are Catholic. He was never ex communicated by any bishop that I know of.


#11

As far as I know, it is an automatic excommunication. I know abortion is, and I am somewhat sure supporting it is.

That means you are excommunicated whether a bishop or anybody actually tells you you are or not.


#12

No, it’s not. John Kerry and other Pro-Abortion “Catholic” congressman are still able to take communion, depending on the bishop in the diocese where they are attending Mass.

Our local bishop here in the diocese of Beaumont allowed Nick Lampson, our local Representative to take communion. But refusinig communion to these guys does NOT mean they are excommunicated, just that they are living in a state of mortal sin.

Notworthy


#13

[quote=NotWorthy]No, it’s not. John Kerry and other Pro-Abortion “Catholic” congressman are still able to take communion, depending on the bishop in the diocese where they are attending Mass.

Our local bishop here in the diocese of Beaumont allowed Nick Lampson, our local Representative to take communion. But refusinig communion to these guys does NOT mean they are excommunicated, just that they are living in a state of mortal sin.

Notworthy
[/quote]

Yeah but there are bishops out there who teach contraception is a-okay and women should be ordained. Unfortunately, not all bishops follow the truth.


#14

I wish we still did anathemas.

newadvent.org/cathen/01455e.htm


#15

ewtn.com/vexperts/showresult.asp?RecNum=443968&Forums=0&Experts=0&Days=14&Author=&Keyword=excommunication&pgnu=1&groupnum=0&record_bookmark=4&ORDER_BY_TXT=ORDER+BY+ReplyDate+DESC&start_at=

Look there. It has just as much weight as the opinion of a bishop that John Kerry can receive communion.


#16

I think the Vatican (or maybe the US college of bishops, am I saying this right?) is going to re-address this issue soon. I hope they take a more hard-nose stand on it. It really bites to watch people like John Kerry try to cater to both the Catholic Faithful and the Pro-Abortionists.

NotWorthy


#17

Hello BrJimC,

There is excommunication where the culprit recieves a trial before a Church tribunal and there is automatic excommunication which is applys itself automatically upon committing the sin.(3) Latæ and Ferendæ Sententiæ Excommunication, especially a jure, is either latæ or ferendæ sententiæ. The first is incurred as soon as the offence is committed and by reason of the offence itself (eo ipso) without intervention of any ecclesiastical judge; it is recognized in the terms used by the legislator, for instance: “the culprit will be excommunicated at once, by the fact itself statim, ipso facto]”. The second is indeed foreseen by the law as a penalty, but is inflicted on the culprit only by a judicial sentence; in other words, the delinquent is rather threatened than visited with the penalty, and incurs it only when the judge has summoned him before his tribunal, declared him guilty, and punished him according to the terms of the law. It is recognized when the law contains these or similar words: “under pain of excommunication”; “the culprit will be excommunicated”.

Quoted from New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia “Excommunication” newadvent.org/cathen/05678a.htm


#18

Hello BrJimC,

There is also major and minor excommunication. It is excommunication in the form of anathama where the Church pulls out St. Peter’s big gun and damns souls to eternal death by calling upon Jesus to have Him hold sins bound in heaven. The desired out come is to have the culprit repent and seek absolution through the Church from such a spiritually deadly curse.

**Anathema remains a major **excommunication which is to be promulgated with great solemnity. A formula for this ceremony was drawn up by Pope Zachary (741-52) in the chapter Debent duodecim sacerdotes, Cause xi, quest. iii. The Roman Pontifical reproduces it in the chapter Ordo excommunicandi et absolvendi, distinguishing three sorts of excommunication: minor excommunication, formerly incurred by a person holding communication with anyone under the ban of excommunication; major excommunication, pronounced by the Pope in reading a sentence; and anathema, or the penalty incurred by crimes of the gravest order, and solemnly promulgated by the Pope. In passing this sentence, the pontiff is vested in amice, stole, and a violet cope, wearing his mitre, and assisted by twelve priests clad in their surplices and holding lighted candles. He takes his seat in front of the altar or in some other suitable place, amid pronounces the formula of anathema which ends with these words: "Wherefore in the name of God the All-powerful, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of the Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and of all the saints, in virtue of the power which has been given us of binding and loosing in Heaven and on earth, we deprive N-- himself and all his accomplices and all his abettors of the Communion of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, we separate him from the society of all Christians, we exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church in Heaven and on earth, we declare him excommunicated and anathematized and we judge him condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate, so long as he will not burst the fetters of the demon, do penance and satisfy the Church; we deliver him to Satan to mortify his body, that his soul may be saved on the day of judgment."

Quoted from New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia “Anathema”

newadvent.org/cathen/01455e.htm

NAB MAT 16:13

I will entrust to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you declare bound on earth shall be bound in heaven; whatever you declare loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Please visit Throwing Stones


#19

There is also major and minor excommunication. It is excommunication in the form of anathama…

The citations from the online version of the Catholic Encyclopedia ("“Anathema” article) of 1917 ( or thereabouts) are only helpful historically.

The former penal law of the Church was abrogated and replaced by the promulgation of the new Code of Canon Law in 1983, from which I drew citations.

The ius vigens (living or current law) does not distinguish major and minor excommunications.

Further the notion of a censure does not present an action of the Church which “damns souls to eternal death by calling upon Jesus to have Him hold sins bound in heaven.”

There is no such assertion of eternal damnation in the law of the Catholic Church in union with the Roman Pontiff.


#20

[quote=Lazerlike42]Yeah but there are bishops out there who teach contraception is a-okay and women should be ordained. Unfortunately, not all bishops follow the truth.
[/quote]

Lazerlike,

That’s quite a statement. Can you specify which bishops?

  • LIberian

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