Why aren't murderers, rapists excommunicated

How do we explain why those involved in abortion are excommunicated but other kinds of murder are not?

I was just reading a (typically awful) article on the NcR(eporter) (lowercase letter was intentional) called “Does excommunication do any good?” I knew better than to delve into the cesspool that is their combox, but I read some of the combox stuff and it got me in a lather. The article was linked to by Fr. Z, who called it unintelligent (in other words) but did nothing to teach WHY.

I don’t want to bring to attention the whole article, I just want to ask why abortion is treated differently than other kinds of murder. These comboxers state that the Church is incomprehensible because it doesn’t excommunicate murderers, rapists, or child abusers, that these can simply pop into confession while the excommunicated cannot. The scenario they paint is one where a rapist is forgiven and dances down to communion while his victim gets an abortion and stays at home crying, or something.

I don’t mean to paint such a laughable picture with such a serious subject, but I think most of us can see why this is ridiculous. Even if he isn’t thrown in prison, the rapist doesn’t “get away with it.” He goes to Hell. For a spiritual minded-Catholic, there is no greater punishment. Excommunication is not the worse punishment in existence if you believe in Heaven and Hell! (that is, if you believe in God at all)

EVERYBODY knows murderers are mortal sinners, they don’t need to be excommunicated; they already have mortal sin and I don’t think confessors really absolve them without demanding they turn themselves in.

Does the problem here start because secular liberals, even in the Church, tend to ignore spiritual consequences and only recognize visible consequences, like not getting to receive Communion? Murderers don’t cause scandal to the faithful, per se. We immediately know that they have placed themselves outside the fold, but it’s necessary to excommunicate heretics and abortionists to show both them AND the faithful what errors are mortal enough to place one outside, so that these don’t lead others astray.

But I need help here, I’m missing something. I’m a smart guy, I don’t know why I’m not getting this. I feel like it’s one of these things I USED to know.

“Does the problem here start because secular liberals, even in the Church, tend to ignore spiritual consequences and only recognize visible consequences, like not getting to receive Communion? Murderers don’t cause scandal to the faithful, per se. We immediately know that they have placed themselves outside the fold, but it’s necessary to excommunicate heretics and abortionists to show both them AND the faithful what errors are mortal enough to place one outside, so that these don’t lead others astray.”

First off, nobody even excommunicates publicly those who support abortion. “Catholic” politicians are right up there in the Communion line, committing sacrilege every Sunday, and receiving straight from the hands of the bishop. But the reason that excommunication latae sententiae is necessary for abortion and not rape, is because nobody misunderstands the grave sinfulness of rape. On the other hand, a LOT of people don’t think anything is wrong with abortion at all. In fact, that’s why this seems like a silly picture to many people, because they don’t *really *think abortion could be that bad. In terms of God, they can both receive forgiveness by the sacrament of Confession. Very likely, the victim of rape is less culpable for their crime, especially when young, and the priest would be very understanding. The rapist on the other hand hasn’t even the slightest excuse.

The truth of the matter is, both the unrepentant rapist and unrepentant person who killed their child will receive the same punishment in the world to come. But in this world, the rapist is going to get many years in prison, while the person who got the abortion had the “right” to do what they did. So really the rapist has it worse.

Heretics do not get excommunicated at all. While it’s something I’d like to see (because it would get the message across, not because I like excommunication), the problem is that many bishops are heretics themselves. Nobody cares about heresy anymore. It’s preached every Sunday in a huge amount of Catholic churches, and the poor folks don’t even realize it.

Just as abortionists and those who obtain abortions are automatically “excommunicated”
that is : no longer in communion with the Church; so to are murderers, rapists and anyone else who is in a state of mortal sin. The remedy is the same for all mortal sin. True repentance and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

That’s the answer in a nutshell.

Originally Posted by awatkins 69
But the reason that excommunication latae sententiae is necessary for abortion and not rape, is because nobody misunderstands the grave sinfulness of rape. On the other hand, a LOT of people don’t think anything is wrong with abortion at all.

My understanding was that a Catholic pregnant women who deliberately seeks abortion and her Catholic husband or boyfriend who fully supports it, automatically both incur excommunication from the Catholic Church due to their grave deeds.

Murderers and Rapist do not incur automatic excommunication?

However; if Abortion is already classified as murder, how can Murderers who kill children and adults not incur excommunication? And as far as the grave sin of Rape against Children, Women, and Men seem as though at the bottom of the list when categorizing sin?

On the other hand, a LOT of people don’t think anything is wrong with abortion at all.

So very sad. Is it possible that society today has lost complete sight of what is sin? Or is it that society refuses to recognize Gods laws and His Commandments by making-up and living by their own moral codes?

Seems to me the latter is the case in question.

Yup. And it’s something that the… what’s a nice word… people at the National “catholic” “Reporter” (can you even call it reporting? More like spewing hatred) don’t understand.

If you really want to get technical about it you could put it that way. In practice, someone who had an abortion can go to confession just like a murder and rapist and be forgiven because I would guess the majority of priests (with nothing to back that up besides my guess) have been given faculties to remove the penalty of excommunication from those people.

Now if they were talking about being excommunication because they desecrated the Eucharist or attacked the Pope, then it’s another story. But in most cases those who had an abortion can be reconciled right in the confessional.

Anyone how commits a grave sin is at the time in a state of excommunication. And all have the same means back into communion availble. It is in reallaity much harder for the rapist or murderer than the abortionist. In most cases I would say that the confessor would require the person to turn themself in to the authorities as part of their pennece.

I would say that the confessor would require the person to turn themself in to the authorities as part of their pennece

Actually a priest cannot require or force a murderer or rapist to turn themselves into authorities. A priest can make the recommendation, but receiving sacramental pardon is not conditional to the murderer turning himself/herself into authorities. Besides the priest is bound by silence not to disclose any sins to any person beyond the conversation between the penitent and the priest.

no, a priest can never do that. besides, going to confessions you already have submitted yourself to the Authority above all authorities. why would a priest require you to go to an earthly authority?

besides, IF a preist can do that, then it should be done for all sins. if you’re a married man who surfs porn, the priest should require you to to tell your wife. if you’re a kid who pockets candy from the neighborhood store, you should return it or pay for it.

no, it doesn’t work that way. when God forgives we do not have to submit ourselves to earthly authorities to earn His forgiveness

That is not true. Everyone in a state of mortal sin is not automatically excommunicated. These are two different things.

Excommunication is for the following:

Ferendae Sententiae Excommunication:

Canon 1378: The pretended celebration of the Eucharist or of sacramental Confession
Canon 1388: Violation of the seal of Confession by an interpreter

Latae Sententiae Excommunication:

Canon 1364: Apostasy, heresy or schism
Canon 1367: Violation of the Sacred Species
Canon 1370: Laying violent hands on the Pope
Canon 1378: Absolution of an accomplice
Canon 1382: Episcopal consecration without authorization from the Holy See
Canon 1388: Violation of the seal of Confession by a confessor
Canon 1398: Procuring abortion

Accutally they can. If they feel that that the person is not truely repentant they can. The reason I know this is that it bothered me so I have asked a few differrnet Priest have have recieved the same answer. Turning oneself in can be part of the penance.

But that implies that absolution has already been granted. If I don’t say the decade of the rosary that I was assigned as a penance it doesn’t take away the absolution that was already granted.

What the priest can certainly do is withhold absolution if he feels the penitent is not truly repentant.

Not true.
If the priest knows or feels the penitent is not truely repentant he will not grant absolution. Therefore there is no penance to perform.
Penance is given after absolution is given.

per Canon Law, the penitent is obliged to perform the penance prescribed
of course that will not invalidate the absolution if you don’t, but you cause another sin by not fulfilling what was required of you

Can. 981 The confessor is to impose salutary and suitable penances in accord with the quality and number of sins, taking into account the condition of the penitent. The penitent is obliged to fulfill these personally.

This has always bothered me also.I have read stories of various murderers…Buggsy Siegal I believe who supposidly repented on his death bed and thus was forgiven ,this caused severe scandal when it was reported…When a murderer is old and is in need of medicine to make it thru the day he is no longer the beast he once was…so to believe his so called repentance is absurd…all he wants is that pain pill. Too many are in positions of high power that cause much confusion.When the last pope actually went to communist cuba and performed a mass with murderer castro on the same stage with him and then at its conclusion they both embraced this was sickening and shocking.in an hour the Pontiff takes off in his private jet leaving the cubans as prisoners of this evil man he had just embraced…madness! Jesus only said to forgive those who do not KNOW what they do…all the rest …well…it will be revealing to see on each of our judgement day who is standing in the audience watching our scale of justice go up and down…mmmmmmm…our paper boy used to toss our paper into the bushes a lot…

That is totally untrue! Jesus said we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. He also said that we are to forgive innumerable times (70 times 7).

How do you know? Can you read the hearts and minds of murderers? Are you saying that someone cannot be sorry for the wrongs they have done? Or is it just the particular category of murderers? What about abortionists and women who receive abortions? Does this mean that, because they murder the unborn, that they cannot be repentaten? You are absurd.

Too many are in positions of high power that cause much confusion.When the last pope actually went to communist cuba and performed a mass with murderer castro on the same stage with him and then at its conclusion they both embraced this was sickening and shocking.in an hour the Pontiff takes off in his private jet leaving the cubans as prisoners of this evil man he had just embraced…madness!

I forgive you, because you’ve obviously never looked into this. Just to fill you in, that ‘embrace’ of ‘murderer’ Castro did more for Catholics, and all Cubans, than any embargo ever has. By showing that the Catholic Church was not the enemy, Castro slowly began to open up. But, again, to know that you would of had to read into it instead of spitting out what other people have told you.

Jesus only said to forgive those who do not KNOW what they do…all the rest …

That’s news to me. What Scripture passage did you get that one from? In my Bible it says to forgive 70X7.

well…it will be revealing to see on each of our judgement day who is standing in the audience watching our scale of justice go up and down…

It will be interesting… hopefully, however, you haven’t sinned by judging others.

mmmmmmm…our paper boy used to toss our paper into the bushes a lot…

… and? What am I supposed to take from this? Surely you aren’t connecting sin with throwing a paper into a bush. Although from what you just posted, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Brother, Please reread what you have written here. Then Pray. Then pick up your Bible and read the Gospels. I can not nknow at anytime the heart of another. I can not kn wo if they are truely repentant or not. I do know that it matters not if one ask for my forgiveness or not I am to give it. Remember that it was on the cross that Saint Dismas the Good Thief was forgiven.

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