Supine or crass ignorance - Canon Law

According to Canon Law 1325:

Can. 1325 Crass, supine, or affected ignorance can never be considered in applying the prescripts of cann. 1323 and 1324; likewise drunkenness or other disturbances of mind cannot be considered if they are sought deliberately in order to commit or excuse a delict, nor can passion which is voluntarily stimulated or fostered.

Can. 1323 and Can. 1324 describe who can be punished for lawbreaking. For example, by excommunication.

According to Wikipedia, “When little or no effort is made to remove ignorance, the ignorance is termed crass or supine”.

Most Catholics today are poorly catechized and unfortunately ignorant of much of Canon law and the penalties contained therein. How much responsibility to individual Catholics have to educate themselves about what offenses are excommunicable or even that the concept of excommunication latae sententiae exists at all? For example, if a baptized Catholic commits an excommunicable offense and has never heard of excommunication latae sententiae, would the excommunication apply to him or her? Or if he or she knew something was excommunicable but thought the only kind of excommunication was ferendae sententiae, or imposed excommunication, would the latae sententiae excommunication apply to that person?

In other words, how much responsibility do Catholics have to know about these things, and when does failing to find out cross the line into supine or crass ignorance?

For reference:

Can. 1323 The following are not subject to a penalty when they have violated a law or precept:

1/ a person who has not yet completed the sixteenth year of age;

2/ a person who without negligence was ignorant that he or she violated a law or precept; inadvertence and error are equivalent to ignorance;

3/ a person who acted due to physical force or a chance occurrence which the person could not foresee or, if foreseen, avoid;

4/ 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 the harm of souls;

5/ a person who acted with due moderation against an unjust aggressor for the sake of legitimate self defense or defense of another;

6/ a person who lacked the use of reason, without prejudice to the prescripts of cann. 1324, §1, n. 2 and 1325;

7/ a person who without negligence thought that one of the circumstances mentioned in nn. 4 or 5 was present.

Can. 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 if the delict was committed:

1/ by a person who had only the imperfect use of reason;

2/ by a person who lacked the use of reason because of drunkenness or another similar culpable disturbance of mind;

3/ 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;

4/ by a minor who has completed the age of sixteen years;

5/ by a person who was coerced by grave fear, even if only relatively grave, or due to necessity or grave inconvenience if the delict is intrinsically evil or tends to the harm of souls;

6/ by a person who acted without due moderation against an unjust aggressor for the sake of legitimate self defense or defense of another;

7/ against someone who gravely and unjustly provokes the person;

8/ by a person who thought in culpable error that one of the circumstances mentioned in can. 1323, nn. 4 or 5 was present;

9/ by a person who without negligence did not know that a penalty was attached to a law or precept;

10/ 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.

There are specific rules in canon law for application of latae sententiae excommunication, including mental capability, age, knowing about it, etc., and also this only applies for Latin Catholics not eastern Catholics who do not have latae sententiae. It is not possible to go into all the details without a study of canon law.

Mortal sin, without excommunication, can result from indifference to what is morally correct, even though not meeting the three necessary requirements oft quoted for mortal sin. This sin is manifest in the uncharitable will.

I wanted to know what qualifies as “not knowing about it” for a baptized Latin Catholic who is of legal age, sound mind, etc. In other words, what qualifies as supine ignorance?

You are getting into the internal forum.
How are you going to determine this with any certainty (you can’t), and why would you even concern yourself with the matter?

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Contempt is required for censures.

Catholic Encyclopedia

“Ignorance which practically no effort is made to dispel is termed crass or supine.”

Delany, J. (1910). Ignorance. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

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Someone might want to know if they are in trouble because what if they should have known better?

OP just to mention one thing… I never heard that any heretic asked himself is he right or wrong, is he now excomunicated or not. They weren’t anxious about their position and they all were totally sure that they are right and other wrong.
You cannot be heretic accidentally.

I don’t know why is this theme of heresy and excommuncation bothering you so much but you should seek help from priest firstly. Without a context nobody can tell in which position you are. Since this is internet it isn’t necessary to write details but it would be much easier for you to speak with priest and you would resolve your problems faster.

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What if somebody who was just coming back to the Church was once warned by someone on the internet that something they believed and were publicly expounding was heretical and the person did not believe him or her? And suppose this same someone told him or her about latae sententiae excommunication, but he or she did not believe it even existed or even understand what it meant. And did not take this person to be a credible source of information?

A person’s moral development does not depend on your determination of heresies.
Help them by talking to them and passing on your Christian faith, as a friend would do. Bringing heresy into the discussion will not win the confidence of your friend.

If you are concerned for their salvation, talk about the sacrament of reconciliation.

If the person is not your friend, none of this is really any of your business and you are wasting valuable time that could be spent doing God’s work. Sorry to be so blunt.

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I can totally understand why the “somebody who was just coming back to the church” is not going to give two hoots about “Someone on the Internet” telling him he’s a heretic, etc. Especially since “Someone on the Internet” who starts throwing around words like “Heresy” and “Excommunication” is usually wrong.

If you’re the “Someone on the Internet” who’s concerned and feels a need to lecture people, I would suggest you tell them perhaps they should discuss with their priest (if you need to say anything at all), and then pray for them and leave it at that.

If, on the other hand, you’re the “somebody who was just coming back to the Church” and you’re concerned about heresy (and I agree your posting history shows a bit of a fixation on the topic) then discuss with your own priest yourself.

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Please seek spiritual counseling from your pastor. This is not your first excommunication thread. It’s rare. It’s not something you do accidentally.

Average Catholics should not be fixated on being excommunicated.

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