What is excommunication? When would the Pope use it?

Are excommunications infallible? If they are not, couldn’t it turn out that a person was excommunicated for theological musings that you should have listened to?

no excommunications are not infallible. If it turns out the person was excommunicated in error, hopefully it can be resolved in their lifetime. If not, it still doesn’t damn the individual to hell necessarily. Final judgment is always up to God.

Then, O excommunication, where is thy sting?

The one excommunicated feels its prick

Because if I were excommunicated, I would know that I can’t receive either absolution or Communion, and since I believe in dying a good and holy death, this would probably prompt me to repent and seek the lifting of the punishment so that I can be absolved.

catholic.com/quickquestions/if-there-is-a-baptism-of-desire-is-there-a-reconciliation-of-desire

But it seems to me that an unjustified excommunication would be the sort of “not-your-own-fault” obstacle to confession that would permit you to have perfect contrition.

Depends on the individual, who is anyone to know or judge?

Why excommunicate them in the first place then?

People aren’t excommunicated for “musings”. ccc.scborromeo.org.master.com/texis/master/search/?sufs=0&q=excommunication&xsubmit=Search&s=SS

Martin Luther was excommunicated. No excommunication is meant to be permanent. A person can always repent and change their direction.

Doesn’t matter. If an excommunication is unjustly imposed on me by a legitimate authority for a clearly execommunicable offense (even though I’m innocent), I’m still validly excommunicated and can’t be validly absolved. If the excommunication was automatic (latae sententiae), then it’s definitely my own fault (because the innocent cannot incur a latae sententiae penalty). Therefore if I’m in mortal sin, there’s a very real danger I could die in mortal sin. That’s not a risk I’m willing to take. What I would do is appeal the penalty using the provisions I have under the law. I won’t go to hell because I’m excommunicated, but because of unforgiven mortal sin.

Never to doubt God’s mercy of course, but then if I die in mortal sin because I did not work to get the excommunication lifted, then that’s indeed my own fault. And of course, if I’m in danger of death and a priest is present, he does have the authority to lift the penalty and absolve me before I die. But can I really bet that I will die in such a peaceful manner?

That said, I think it’s extremely rare that a ferendae sententiae excommunication is imposed without the offender already having incurred the penalty latae sententiae. Usually, the decree declares the excommunication, turning the penalty from latae sententiae to ferendae sententiae and activating the provisions of can. 1331 sec. 2.

I used the term “musing” because someone earlier in the thread used that term. Here is an example of priests who were excommunicated for preaching that slavery (as it was practiced in their area) was unjust:

One was a Spaniard, Francisco de Jaca, the other a Frenchman, Epiphane de Moirans. Both had been excommunicated in Havana in 1681 and subsequently arrested for behaviour which had resulted, so reported the local authorities, “in the gravest scandals”. They had preached that “the owners of Negro slaves should liberate them and their children and pay them for their labours”, and they had refused to give absolution to those who did not promise to do this. Both Capuchins had written defences of their position. Fray Francisco’s statement is a vibrant denunciation of the abuses and injustices that he had witnessed; Pere Epiphane was a competent canon lawyer and his statement marshals at length the case against the Atlantic slave trade.

past.oxfordjournals.org/content/115/1/52.full.pdf

Should they have repented and condoned slavery?

I’m starting to read the book you referrence

books.google.com/books?id=jeJMGQiSQ7AC&pg=PA21&lpg=PA21&dq=francisco+de+Jaca,+excommunication&source=bl&ots=ORVg9iK1Md&sig=FunBVM5f8VRCQmZs3dTIipunLH4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ImbIU8-9GpSeyATNw4GQCA&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=francisco%20de%20Jaca%2C%20excommunication&f=false

trying to find out who did the excommunication, considering the Church position against slavery. I’ll have to get back to you :wink:

I saw a distinction being made within slavery. Those who are innocent people being enslaved , which the Church is against and those who appear not to be innocent being made slaves. It’s the 2nd catagory that appears not to be condemned. I’m thinking in that case prisoners who are not innocent, and are put into work programs for example.

How are you reading it? books.google.com/books?id=jeJMGQiSQ7AC&pg=PA21&lpg=PA21&dq=francisco+de+Jaca,+excommunication&source=bl&ots=ORVg9iK1Md&sig=FunBVM5f8VRCQmZs3dTIipunLH4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ImbIU8-9GpSeyATNw4GQCA&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=francisco%20de%20Jaca%2C%20excommunication&f=false

It wasn’t clear to me why Francisco de Jaca, and Epiphane de Moirans were excommunicated for their “behavior” or who excommunicated them.

Capuchin Champions of Negro Emancipation in Cuba:

The provisor, or vicar, of the bishop of Cuba admonished the two friars to cease such preaching… but they advised him that they were not subject to the jurisdiction of the local bishop in these matters.

When the complaints of the slave-holders increased, the provisor issued orders that the Capuchins be taken to a monastery in the city in order to silence them. He also threatened to suspend their faculties of preaching and hearing confessions if they would not obey his orders. Relying on papal exemption, they paid no attention to the episcopal official. Thereupon the provisor carried out his threat by withdrawing from them the faculties of preaching and confessing. When this did not stop them, he took the extreme measure of declaring them excommunicated.

It appears the following passage you selected, answers that question you asked (emphasis mine)

The provisor, or vicar, of the bishop of Cuba admonished the two friars to cease such preaching… but they advised him that they were not subject to the jurisdiction of the local bishop in these matters.

When the complaints of the slave-holders increased, the provisor issued orders that the Capuchins be taken to a monastery in the city in order to silence them. He also threatened to suspend their faculties of preaching and hearing confessions if they would not obey his orders. Relying on papal exemption, they paid no attention to the episcopal official. Thereupon the provisor carried out his threat by withdrawing from them the faculties of preaching and confessing. When this did not stop them, he took the extreme measure of declaring them excommunicated.

The part of the book I previously quoted, books.google.com/books?id=jeJ…cation&f=false showed the Church is opposed to slavery. Hence as you point out in that quote, based on what the Church teaches about slavery, papal exemption for those 2 Capuchins, from following the local bishop was granted. This was obviously an example of a bishop who was not upholding Church teaching. I’m actually surprised the bishop as a result, didn’t get the hook from the pope.

The book I quoted says:

As Capuchins and apostolic missionaries, they asserted, they were amenable only to the Roman authorities. And they continued to preach against Negro slavery.

I don’t think they had any sort of special papal exemption due to corruption or anything like that. They thought that their status as missionaries meant that they weren’t subject to the authority of the local bishop.

Its true that the Catholic church came around to oppose slavery, but the shift didn’t become mainstream until a few decades after these excommunications. Earlier objections to slavery were mostly concerned with opposing the enslavement of Christians, for example:
Pius II was opposed to the enslavement of freshly baptized people.
Pope Paul III condemned the enslavement of Native Americans, but withdrew his document very quickly and later allowed enslavement of Muslims.
Urban VIII banned the enslavement of Native Americans living in Jesuit missions.

newadvent.org/cathen/14039a.htm

The later moralists, that is to say, broadly speaking, those who have written since the end of the eighteenth century, though in fundamental agreement with their predecessors, have somewhat shifted the perspective. In possession of the bad historical record of slavery and familiar with a Christian structure of society from which slavery had been eliminated, these later moralists emphasize more than did the older ones the reasons for condemning slavery; and they lay less stress on those in its favour. While they admit that it is not, theoretically speaking at least, contrary to the natural law, they hold that it is hardly compatible with the dignity of personality, and is to be condemned as immoral on account of the evil consequences it almost inevitably leads to.

There’s the “ethical” discussion of slavery, and there is also the historical approach.

This article takes more of an historical approach and particularly Christianity’s effects on slavery oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Slavery

That would be an interesting topic for its own thread, but this one is about excommunication. I am hypothesizing that excommunication is occasionally used to enforce orthodoxy without having to resort to an infallible declaration on the subject. This is an example of a bishop attempting to silence priests who were not in the wrong but (perhaps inartfully) contradicting the norms of their society.

Another curious example: Urban VIII made the use of tobacco in churches an excommunicatable offence.

We could also look at the excommunication of Dr. Chil y Marango by Jose Maria de Urquinaona y Bidot.

It also might be worthwhile to discuss the concept of a Vitandus excommunication, which existed up until 1983.

They are not infallible. Even people who were later re-admitted and declared Saints have been excommunicated (St. Mary MacKillop comes to mind). This is often because the excommunication was carried out by the local bishop and not by the Papal Office. And again, an excommunication is never a ‘leave now and never come back’ statement.

Peace in Christ

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