Need help understanding ex-communication


Hey, can someone please explain to me quickly what ex-communication really means and if it ever happened before? Ty Guys and God bless :smiley:


Why quickly? Is this about your anxiety and scruples? Reading your other threads.


I’m going to presume that by “quickly” you mean “briefly”. Yes, excommunications have happened throughout history, but on the scale relative to number of excommunications to the entirety of the faithful, they’re pretty unusual.

An excommunication is a legal penalty imposed by the Church, similar to a “time out, go to your room” by a parent to a child, yet there’s more of an extreme nature to it. The idea being that you are barred from participating in the sacraments until you get your act together, hopefully under guidance by a priest. However, excommunication doesn’t happen lightly; it has to be a really very serious ordeal. The likelihood that you would experience an excommunication yourself is very slim unless you plan to carry out some pretty terrible act.


If it ever happened before what?


No, I was just curious and I wanna find out what this means.


Ty, very much for helping me understand. :smiley:


Yes, if ex-communication has every happened in the Church before.


Yes, of course it has.


Avoid communicating with ex’s, it usually leads to trouble.


Excommunication is a church penalty for a church crime. Usually it involves some sort of abuse of the sacraments by a priest or bishop.

It is rare for a layperson to be excommunicated.

Excommunication is different than mortal sin, although a mortal sin may be part of the underlying church crime. When one commits a serious sin, one must refrain from communion until they receive confession.

With an excommunication, the recipient is forbidden from receiving any sacrament, including confession, until the circumstances surrounding the church crime are corrected. The excommunication must be lifted, by either the local bishop or the Pope, before the penitent can go to confession and resume communion.

Crimes that incur excommunication include a priest attempting to confess his sins to himself, or a bishop ordaining another bishop without the Pope’s permission. Most excommunicable offenses are only applicable to clergy. Impersonating clergy, however, could get a layperson excommunicated. Knowingly getting or helping someone get an abortion could also incur excommunication.

closed #11

This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

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