Does blatant scandal such as committed by Justice Kennedy result in an automatic excommunication? If not, Why not?


I will leave the question of whether Justice Kennedy has committed “blatant scandal” aside.

The answer to your question of whether or not scandal results in automatic excommunication (latae sententiae excommunication) the answer is no. Why? Because excommunicable offenses are governed by canon law, and that isn’t one of them.




Why just Kennedy? He wasn’t the only Catholic judge in the majority.


Which canon law do you have in mind that excludes public scandal?


I can see your point about Justice Kennedy. No apparent consequences sets a bad example. I have no data on automatic excommunication, but formal excommunications can have an unintended effect. Pope Innocent III excommunicated Elizabeth I of England and released her subjects from obedience, but she used it to increase Catholic persecution and the English people sided with her against the Pope. Its not the Middle Ages when prelates can thunder forth and expect the people to listen. In any case I think the social hardships associated with continued orthodoxy will lead to the Church’s purification. Hangers on and cultural Christians will fall away.


“Cultural Christians” is a new term I have picked up today. Thanks. Please define.


So how would excommunication of Catholic justices change the outcome?

It wouldn’t.

It is not in our power as mortals to pass eternal judgment; nor is it in our power as lay Catholics to excommunicate anyone.

Punishment is not in our power, but prayer is. So, let us pray for them.

Peace and all good!


Delicts that incur latae sententiae excommunication are specifically listed in canon law. Scandal is not.

Could such a sentence be imposed by a ecclesial authority? Yes, in theory. But that isn’t what the OP asked. The OP asked about latae sententiae excommunication


He came not to condemn.


Which canon law paragraph(s)?


Book VI. Sanctions in the Church



What do you think about:
*Canon 1329b Accomplices who are not named in a law or precept incur a latae sententiae penalty attached to a delict if without their assistance the delict would not have been committed…*Though we obviously can’t pass final judgement regarding latae sententiae, is it not possible that such an authoritative court decision could be the exact “assistance” that moves another person to embrace heresy or schism? In other words, might not have Kennedy or Sotomayor excommunicated themselves as accomplices to delict or sin.



When you look at Book VI as a whole, it is clear that these laws are interpreted narrowly, not broadly as you are attempting to do.


Doesn’t Canon law say that when a Catholic is forced to choose between Canon law/church teaching and civil law, he MUST choose Canon law/church teaching? If so, wouldn’t such a breach of Canon law warrant excommunication, or at the very least harsh and public censure of Kennedy and Sotomayor?


We should worry about our own excommunication for our own sins that we confess every week but fail to correct.





Despite being officially secular, the general religious history of the West is or was Christian at some point. “Cultural Christian” would be a term akin to “nominal”, those with a historical or vague attachment to the faith but not frequent churchgoers and more influenced by the current pop culture than anything else.


Maybe if we turn away and no one say anything…oh wait that’s what we have been doing including our clergy and look where we are at!

Time to stand up and ask the hard questions and put the hippie Catholicism aside and return to orthodoxy and firm positions shouted from the rooftops! Seriously people. Its like many here have widdled down the bible to a few words “judge not” :mad:


Below are the excommunication offenses. Anything not there is not an excommunication offense. You cannot be excommunicated for scandal.


Ferendae Sententiae Excommunication (requires formal proceedings):

Canon 1378: The pretended celebration of the Eucharist or of sacramental Confession
Canon 1388: Violation of the seal of Confession by an interpreter

Latae Sententiae Excommunication (automatic):

Canon 1364: Apostasy, heresy or schism
Canon 1367: Violation of the Sacred Species
Canon 1370: Laying violent hands on the Pope
Canon 1378: Absolution of an accomplice
Canon 1382: Episcopal consecration without authorization from the Holy See
Canon 1388: Violation of the seal of Confession by a confessor
Canon 1398: Procuring abortion

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