Luther and excommunication

How did the Vatican and Pope Leo X view excommunication in reference to Martin Luther? Did the Papal Bull of Leo X actually throw Luther out of the Church as Lutherans claim or was he still a member of the Church?

Thanks for any insight you may offer :slight_smile:

Excommunication is a canonical penalty. A person under the penalty is still a Catholic, and bound by all ecclesial law. The penalty includes restrictions regarding the sacraments and exercise of offices and benefits.

Perhaps a better question is this. Did the Catholic Church in the time of Martin Luther have this same viewpoint?

Thanks :slight_smile:


Public excommunication in the time of Martin Luther was different in many aspects than it is today. For example, today an excommunicated person still has his/her mass obligation, and would be welcome at mass. If Martin Luther had attempted to attend a mass after his excommunication, he would have been forcibly removed, or if that were impossible, the service would be ended.

Certainly the penalties and censures incurred were different.

But a Catholic he remained. The Church did not teach that an excommunicated person was no longer a Catholic.

I am a little confused.I thought once someone was excommunicated they were no longer catholic?

That is not what excommunication is. Excommunication affects the person’s right to receive the sacraments, or Christian burial, until the individual repents and is reconciled with the Church.

A lot of people think this, along with various other myths and urban legends about the Catholic Church. It’s not surprising that this is what you heard or believed or just assumed.

But, it is completely untrue.

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