Questions regarding Excommunication


#1

If you are excommunicated:

1) Are you still obligated to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation?

2) Excommunication cuts you off from the Sacraments, well how is one to even approach the Church if they are excommunicated to repent, seeing they are barred from Confession?

3) Can you undo your status as being a Catholic by becoming excommunicated?

No this is not homework.

Thanks. Sources will help but are not necessary.


#2

1) Yes, your obligation continues, but you may not receive Communion.

2) The prohibition against the sacraments does NOT apply to Confession, otherwise, there would be no way to ever lift an excommunication. However, in certain cases, permission to lift the excommunication might have to come from the local bishop, or, in rare cases, the pope.

3) No. Form the Catholic viewpoint, once you are baptized, an indelible mark is left upon your soul. You can, however, formally defect, which will remove your name from being counted toward the "official" number of Catholics. However, as a matter of historical record, your baptismal records will remain on file.


#3

[quote="Rolltide, post:2, topic:292693"]
1) Yes, your obligation continues, but you may not receive Communion.

2) The prohibition against the sacraments does NOT apply to Confession, otherwise, there would be no way to ever lift an excommunication. However, in certain cases, permission to lift the excommunication might have to come from the local bishop, or, in rare cases, the pope.

3) No. Form the Catholic viewpoint, once you are baptized, an indelible mark is left upon your soul. You can, however, formally defect, which will remove your name from being counted toward the "official" number of Catholics. However, as a matter of historical record, your baptismal records will remain on file.

[/quote]

There is no longer a "formal defection".
However, even when that existed it did not mean a person was no longer a Catholic.


#4

[quote="Rolltide, post:2, topic:292693"]
1) Yes, your obligation continues, but you may not receive Communion.

2) The prohibition against the sacraments does NOT apply to Confession, otherwise, there would be no way to ever lift an excommunication. However, in certain cases, permission to lift the excommunication might have to come from the local bishop, or, in rare cases, the pope.

3) No. Form the Catholic viewpoint, once you are baptized, an indelible mark is left upon your soul. You can, however, formally defect, which will remove your name from being counted toward the "official" number of Catholics. However, as a matter of historical record, your baptismal records will remain on file.

[/quote]

That is comforting to know that the Sacrament of Confession is always available to those who are excommunicated. I would have been a bit disturbed had their been no way for them to reconcile, if they were repentant.


#5

Does an excommunicated person go to Hell, can they go to heaven?


#6

[quote="Turtle_Turtle, post:4, topic:292693"]
That is comforting to know that the Sacrament of Confession is always available to those who are excommunicated. I would have been a bit disturbed had their been no way for them to reconcile, if they were repentant.

[/quote]

Hello,

I'll have to disagree with "RollTide" and say that you were correct: excommunication forbids a person from receiving any Sacraments, including Confession (canon 1331.1.2). So, that being the case, how does one reconcile? The first step is the remission of the excommunication. After that, the person can receive absolution.

The remission can be obtained in different ways, depending on the sort of crime that was committed and the way the penalty was incurred. Most of the time, people who are excommunicated today are automatically excommunicated. There is no trial that actually declares or imposes the penalty. For example, let's say a woman with full knowledge and freedom obtains an abortion with the necessary cooperation of her husband, both knowing that they would be excommunicated (cc. 1329.2;1398). Nobody in the Church knows about this crime, though. Therefore, they have incurred an automatic--yet undeclared--excommunication.

If they repent and go to Confession, the confessor could both remit the penalty and grant absolution. If the priest has the faculty to remit the penalty, everything is taken care of on the spot (cc. 137; 1355). If he doesn't have the faculty, he can still remit the penalty and grant absolution as long as a competent authority is then approached (this process is a bit more detailed--see canon 1357.1).

If the penitent is in danger of death, any priest can remit any penalties and grant absolution (c. 976).

I hope this is comprehensible.

Dan


#7

[quote="Turtle_Turtle, post:5, topic:292693"]
Does an excommunicated person go to Hell, can they go to heaven?

[/quote]

As with all people, Jesus is the judge of where the person will go. If they have an unforgiven mortal sin, they will be judged and sent to Hell. Otherwise, Heaven.


#8

[quote="dans0622, post:6, topic:292693"]
Hello,

I'll have to disagree with "RollTide" and say that you were correct: excommunication forbids a person from receiving any Sacraments, including Confession (canon 1331.1.2). So, that being the case, how does one reconcile? The first step is the remission of the excommunication. After that, the person can receive absolution.

The remission can be obtained in different ways, depending on the sort of crime that was committed and the way the penalty was incurred. Most of the time, people who are excommunicated today are automatically excommunicated. There is no trial that actually declares or imposes the penalty. For example, let's say a woman with full knowledge and freedom obtains an abortion with the necessary cooperation of her husband, both knowing that they would be excommunicated (cc. 1329.2;1398). Nobody in the Church knows about this crime, though. Therefore, they have incurred an automatic--yet undeclared--excommunication.

If they repent and go to Confession, the confessor could both remit the penalty and grant absolution. If the priest has the faculty to remit the penalty, everything is taken care of on the spot (cc. 137; 1355). If he doesn't have the faculty, he can still remit the penalty and grant absolution as long as a competent authority is then approached (this process is a bit more detailed--see canon 1357.1).

If the penitent is in danger of death, any priest can remit any penalties and grant absolution (c. 976).

I hope this is comprehensible.

Dan

[/quote]

Dan,

Thanks for your answer and the reference to the appropriate canon regarding my question. It is comprehensible. Am I correct in saying, though in danger of death, one may seek Confession and the Sacraments? Is there a provision for that in Canon Law?


#9

[quote="Evan, post:7, topic:292693"]
As with all people, Jesus is the judge of where the person will go. If they have an unforgiven mortal sin, they will be judged and sent to Hell. Otherwise, Heaven.

[/quote]

Thank you. Succintly and simply put. :)


#10

[quote="Turtle_Turtle, post:8, topic:292693"]
Dan,

Thanks for your answer and the reference to the appropriate canon regarding my question. It is comprehensible. Am I correct in saying, though in danger of death, one may seek Confession and the Sacraments? Is there a provision for that in Canon Law?

[/quote]

Hello,

Yes, that's canon 976. In danger of death, any priest can remit any penalty as well as grant absolution. The remission of the penalty is just a one-sentence statement. So, it's not like it takes a long time to get that taken care of.

Dan


#11

Thank you Dan, well this is good. I am more at peace with this. You see I have a friend who is excommunicated and he is bitter against the Church and says the Church does not leave any way out for him to get the Sacrament of Confession.

I told him that the Church reflects God’s Mercy and at the same time God’s Justice. I will forward these answers to my friend.

Please pray for my friend. Thank you.

Dan you wouldn’t happen to have studied canon law would you?


#12

[quote="Turtle_Turtle, post:11, topic:292693"]
... I have a friend who is excommunicated and he is bitter against the Church and says the Church does not leave any way out for him to get the Sacrament of Confession.
...

Dan you wouldn't happen to have studied canon law would you?

[/quote]

Interesting. Does he have a piece of paper telling him he has been excommunicated? Or, is that a conclusion he has come to on his own?

Yes, I have.

Dan


#13

Dans0622 thank you for a succinct yet complete answer on this matter!

[quote="Evan, post:7, topic:292693"]
As with all people, Jesus is the judge of where the person will go. If they have an unforgiven mortal sin, they will be judged and sent to Hell. Otherwise, Heaven.

[/quote]

Well, I don't think it's that simple. The Church does not excommunicate lightly. And Christ did tell Peter: "whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven". There is nothing as great as the mercy of our Beloved, however I would not try to tempt the Lord on this matter. If the Church has excommunicated me, it is done only to move me to repentance, and I ought to do my very best to be forgiven by the Bride if I want to beg the Bridegroom for forgiveness...

As for the bitterness experienced after excommunication (how does he know? Is he assuming latae sententiae?) you may remind him that it is called a medicinal penalty because it is meant to move him to repentance without him incurring in worst sins...and the Church says rather clearly that a repented soul acquires the right to have the penalty removed.


#14

[quote="thistle, post:3, topic:292693"]
There is no longer a "formal defection".
However, even when that existed it did not mean a person was no longer a Catholic.

[/quote]

Archdiocese of Dublin states:
The Holy See confirmed at the end of August that it was introducing changes to canon law and as a result it will no longer be possible to formally defect from the Catholic Church. This will not alter the fact that many people can defect from the Church, and continue to do so, albeit not through a formal process. This is a change that will affect the church throughout the world. The Archdiocese of Dublin plans to maintain a register to note the expressed desire of those who wish to defect. Details will be communicated to those involved in the process when they are finalised.

Last year 229 people formally defected from the Church through the Archdiocese of Dublin. 312 have done so, so far this year.
dublindiocese.ie/content/121010-statement-formal-defections


#15

[quote="dans0622, post:12, topic:292693"]
Interesting. Does he have a piece of paper telling him he has been excommunicated? Or, is that a conclusion he has come to on his own?

Yes, I have.

Dan

[/quote]

Dan I have a few questions they are not related to excommunication but rather to incardination into a diocese by a religious cleric, do you mind if I PM you?

No he has not reached the conclusion on his own, he has a piece of paper, I did not know people wrote out on a piece of paper that one had been excommunicated from the Church, but this looks to be an official document. The names check out.


#16

[quote="R_C, post:13, topic:292693"]
Dans0622 thank you for a succinct yet complete answer on this matter!

Well, I don't think it's that simple. The Church does not excommunicate lightly. And Christ did tell Peter: "whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven". There is nothing as great as the mercy of our Beloved, however I would not try to tempt the Lord on this matter. If the Church has excommunicated me, it is done only to move me to repentance, and I ought to do my very best to be forgiven by the Bride if I want to beg the Bridegroom for forgiveness...

As for the bitterness experienced after excommunication (how does he know? Is he assuming latae sententiae?) you may remind him that it is called a medicinal penalty because it is meant to move him to repentance without him incurring in worst sins...and the Church says rather clearly that a repented soul acquires the right to have the penalty removed.

[/quote]

Uhhh it's the kind where he was formerly declared by a Bishop to be excommunicated. It's not the kind where you incur it by ipso facto, I get the two kinds of excommunication mixed up.


#17

[quote="Vico, post:14, topic:292693"]
Archdiocese of Dublin states:
The Holy See confirmed at the end of August that it was introducing changes to canon law and as a result it will no longer be possible to formally defect from the Catholic Church. This will not alter the fact that many people can defect from the Church, and continue to do so, albeit not through a formal process. This is a change that will affect the church throughout the world. The Archdiocese of Dublin plans to maintain a register to note the expressed desire of those who wish to defect. Details will be communicated to those involved in the process when they are finalised.

Last year 229 people formally defected from the Church through the Archdiocese of Dublin. 312 have done so, so far this year.
dublindiocese.ie/content/121010-statement-formal-defections

[/quote]

Vico,

even though these people formally defect from the Church, it does not erase the fact that they are baptized Catholics right? Nothing can undo the indelible mark of baptism, so is there really such a thing as defection from the Church?

Thanks.


#18

[quote="Turtle_Turtle, post:17, topic:292693"]
Vico,

even though these people formally defect from the Church, it does not erase the fact that they are baptized Catholics right? Nothing can undo the indelible mark of baptism, so is there really such a thing as defection from the Church?

Thanks.

[/quote]

Merriam-Webster defection, noun: conscious abandonment of allegiance or duty (as to a person, cause, or doctrine) : desertion.
Defection means a loss of charity but not faith and hope, from baptism, per the western understanding. It's because the Church teaches that baptism marks the soul with faith and hope that stay no matter what. The character of charity from baptism may be lost by our choice.

All who are saved are members of Christ's Church. Those that are in full communion with the Catholic Church are members of the visible Church. But one must keep the commandments of God and the Church to be saved.


#19

[quote="Turtle_Turtle, post:16, topic:292693"]
Uhhh it's the kind where he was formerly declared by a Bishop to be excommunicated. It's not the kind where you incur it by ipso facto, I get the two kinds of excommunication mixed up.

[/quote]

Thanks. Well, in the end it does not make a big difference.

First of all, God loves him unconditionally, regardless of whether he commits a venial sin or is excommunicated by a bishop.

Second, regardless of what he did to receive this canonical penalty, he should have realized by the discipline he received that he made a serious mistake. I do not know the facts, of course, but a bishop does not send these letters lightly...and even if in his opinion he were innocent, we still owe utmost obedience to the Church in these spiritual matters.

Therefore, hopefully he repented or will repent of whatever he did. In which case all he need to do is talk to his Parrish priest and begin the necessary steps to have the excommunication revoked. For goodness sake, the Lord longs to be united with him in the Eucharist, why is your friend making Him wait for so long...

"So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God."
Isaiah 30:18


#20

[quote="Turtle_Turtle, post:15, topic:292693"]
Dan I have a few questions they are not related to excommunication but rather to incardination into a diocese by a religious cleric, do you mind if I PM you?

No he has not reached the conclusion on his own, he has a piece of paper, I did not know people wrote out on a piece of paper that one had been excommunicated from the Church, but this looks to be an official document. The names check out.

[/quote]

Sure, feel free.

Regarding your friend: in that case, he would need to approach particular priests (bishop, vicar general, episcopal vicar) in order to be reconciled; the typical priest in the confessional cannot remit *declared *excommunications. He falls under c. 1355.1.1-2.

As noted earlier, though, danger of death situations are different.

Dan


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