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Ron Conte: “Let me explain to you what the word ‘faith’ means.”. John relented in 1213 and was restored to communion. Refusing First Holy Communion to Children Who Are Ill-Prepared, Ecclesia Supplet: Making Invalid Sacraments Valid, Invalid Baptisms and Unaccountable Clergy. An Italian Catholic priest who considers Pope Francis an antipope and claims to have supernatural communications with angels, saints and the Madonna has been excommunicated. –Howard. Sarah is even worse. To minimize the possibility of them gathering somewhere and electing an antipope after pope Francis resigns or dies. That is very dangerous. The target does not control more cardinals than the requester (for Catholics, with Sons of AbrahamDLC). My guess is that, were a Pope to abuse his free will in this way, God would short-circuit the dilemma by striking him dead before the theoretical problem became a real dilemma. Nobody can be excommunicated unless all the conditions of canon 1323 have been met. If the works of God seem foolish to you, who is the fool — God or you? Is it, then, theoretically possible for a Pope to be excommunicated? The target did not recently have an excommunication lifted. August 17, 2020 at 7:41 AM This type of excommunication is of the eternal moral law, not merely of Canon law. Those teachings bind the Pope, but these are not per se of the law. Can I Get an Annulment If My Ex-Spouse Refuses to Cooperate? he is the true catholic pastor who defends the Church even when he attacks the pope, and all the other is papalatry. And, if your excommunication ends, it can be a public or … When (and How Much) Can a Bishop Tax a Parish. An excommunicated individual can still hold office - removal from office is a separate disciplinary action. If not, Pope Benedict paved the way for her excommunication. Please check the Archives first–it’s likely your question was already addressed. And his disciples, being hungry, began to separate the grain and to eat. None of the content of this website may be reproduced, either in whole or in part, without the advance written permission of the author. Recently a series of stories burbled through the mainstream media suggesting that Nancy Pelosi has been excommunicated or denied Communion by the Vatican. Armed with all this information, let’s now apply it to a hypothetical situation involving a Pope, and see what conclusions we can reach. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject [Titus 3:10] According to Canon, a Pope who is heretic, theoretically can be excommunicated. Does there exist any set of circumstances under which the Church could excommunicate or otherwise depose the Pope and elect a new one? The 1983 Code of Canon Law attaches the penalty of automatic excommunication to the following actions: Apostates, heretics, and schismatics (can. {12:2} Then the Pharisees, seeing this, said to him, “Behold, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbaths.” By his words or deeds, contrary to those laws, he is thereby dispensed. In other words, the excommunication is written into Canon Law. Gorgias January 27, 2017, 2:27pm #2. But so few people actually understand this! The indefectibility of the Church therefore guarantees that he is the true valid Pope. Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible. He acts freely and with full knowledge, without fear or coercion; he is well aware that he will be excommunicated as a result… and he does it anyway. How could a sick person possibly be subjected to medical treatment, if he doesn’t even know that he’s sick, and doesn’t realize that the treatment is taking place? Thus, there’s already a mechanism in place by which it’s highly unlikely that excommunication can be abused. Excommunication can be a frightening word. Now what? They can cite this very biblical passage in support of their position. I put it as simple as possible. That’s why, as we saw in “Was Theologian Hans Küng Ever Excommunicated?” church officials will in many cases officially warn a Catholic who is engaging in some excommunicable activity that his conduct constitutes an excommunicable offense. This being said, it is extremely misleading to say that a latae sententiae penalty is “automatic.”  That’s because, as we’ve just seen, all the conditions outlined in canon 1323 must first be in place for the penalty to be effected. A list of my Roman Catholic theology books and booklets. All rights reserved. Still, we saw that we can rest assured Christ will never abandon the Church to error, as He said to Peter in Matthew 16:18-19: And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. If even one of these conditions applies to a Catholic (including a Pope!) (‘Heresy’ Defined), Is She Excommunicated? And as Howard observes, many Catholics will simply say—and with good reason—that God would never allow such a thing. These conditions were addressed in greater detail in both “Am I Excommunicated? Perhaps the most gripping story of excommunication is that of the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV, who was excommunicated three times by Pope Gregory VII. The requester can pay the piety cost 2. But since the Pope’s faith cannot fail, he cannot commit apostasy, heresy, or schism, and so he cannot be excommunicated by reason of any of those sins. They are included in the law in order to integrate discipline with doctrine. The fact is, we don’t know what God would do. I will stick with the Ipso Facto scenario. He acts freely and with full knowledge, without fear or coercion; he is well aware that he will be excommunicated as a … Sanctions, Part II. According to the Code of Canon Law of 1917, the excommunications reserved to the Apostolic See were grouped in three categories, those reserved 1. simply, 2. in a special manner, 3. in a most special manner (each solvable by the Pope and by those priests the Pope had delegated the faculty to absolve for precisely that degree); and below the excommunications reserved to the bishop (which … 1378) The Church is founded on the Rock that is Peter and his successors. Recently a cardinal was stripped from cardinalate for sins of the flesh. Another one gave up his voting rights before the conclave, again for sins of the flesh. I don’t say they must be anathematized (although in past centuries it would be considered too). These are sacrilege, breaking the seal of the confessional and giving … His excommunication thus occurred ipso facto, without the Vatican doing a thing; but because many Catholic clergy and laypeople were involved in various ways with Lefebvre and his Society of St. Pius X, and because there was a lot of confusion about the legality of what he was doing, the Vatican wisely made a formal pronouncement on the matter, so as to clarify Lefebvre’s status as a Catholic bishop in a public, official way. 4. The whole purpose of medicine is to make a sick person get better; and similarly, the whole purpose of medicinal penalties like excommunication is to prompt the return of a Catholic who has done something to cut himself off from the Church. What is the pastoral approach to something like this? Can a Pope Commit Heresy? She founded this website to provide clear answers to canonical questions asked by ordinary Catholics, without employing all the mysterious legalese that canon lawyers know and love. In general, when someone has been excommunicated latae sententiae, it often happens that church authorities will officially make a public declaration to that effect. Again, the answer is yes, because the Constitution used the terms active and passive election, which mean, respectively, being able to vote and being able to be elected. Can Pope Francis Be Excommunicated? Imagine a Pope who had been excommunicated latae sententiae, but was blithely ignoring that fact, continuing to select new diocesan bishops, accept episcopal resignations, create new dioceses, remove high-ranking officials from office, canonize saints, etc. Why is Google hiding the posts on this website in its search results? Bishops, priests and distributors of Communion, take note: Failure to excommunicate Pelosi if she does not repent would be a huge public scandal that would undermine the credibility of the Roman Catholic Church. Subscribe to my RSS Feed. Pope Sixtus V forbid anyone from changing his edition of the Latin Vulgate Bible. He need not change or dispense the law first. the Vatican’s 1988 declaration of the excommunication of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Are They Excommunicated? 3. Hunger Math – a blog about world hunger, by the numbers. Thus any discussion of such an extreme scenario provides us with a good reminder that ultimately, when push comes to shove, we Catholics should place all our trust not in the Code of Canon Law… but in God Himself. {12:4} how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? How could a Pope do any of these things within the Church, if he himself had been removed from communion with that Church? Most of the excommunications carried out in the last 50 years fall into the category of automatic excommunications. A. Excommunication is the Church’s most severe penalty, imposed for particularly grave sins. Apologetics. So if one person does something that leads to automatic excommunication, any accomplices that were necessary to the act and who can have the penalty imposed upon them can also be excommunicated. But it cannot be applied to any valid Roman Pontiff, because he cannot commit those sins. Well, there would be an immediate procedural roadblock in such a case, because unlike every other Catholic on the planet, a Pope has no hierarchical superior on earth (cf. But for the sake of argument, let’s say that a Pope commits some crime punishable by latae sententiae excommunication, and he fulfills all the conditions of canon 1323. In the wake of Pope Francis’ letter to the president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization for the Jubilee Year of Mercy dated Sept. 1, 2015, there has been much discussion about abortion and the penalty of excommunication. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. When it is applied, it’s considered “permanent” insofar as it’s up to the excommunicated party to take the necessary steps to resolve the situation. If you do something that is punishable by a latae sententiae excommunication, but you didn’t know it was punishable by a latae sententiae excommunication, then you are not excommunicated. This canon provides a whole list of situations, any one of which will render a person not liable to a penalty. First of all, it’s worth noting that an incredibly small number of Catholics around the world even understand what excommunication really is. This is why some scholars have hypothesized over the centuries that if a Pope were about to commit an act that would excommunicate him, God might perhaps prevent this by striking him dead. Can the Pope be excommunicated? Can a Pope be excommunicated? Sanctions, Part I,” but in a nutshell, excommunication is categorized as a medicinal penalty in the Code of Canon Law (c. 1312.1 n. 1). Some Canons are direct expression of teachings, even infallible teachings, on faith and morals. Those two, along with some others, do not show they will walk out of the Church rather they stay and destroy the flock from inside. They still might save their souls. Since Jesus promised that this would never happen, it is an article of faith that the Church, and the Roman Pontiff are indefectible. If the person persists anyway, he obviously will not be able to claim ignorance of the law later on. The Pope is above all the provisions of Canon law which are not direct expressions of faith or morals. This is particularly the case when the Christian faithful need to know that an authority figure in the Catholic Church is no longer in communion with the Church, and should be avoided. Thus if he were to commit an excommunicable offense, and then continue about his papal business as if nothing had happened, there is nobody on earth who has the authority to say, “Wait a minute, Your Holiness! The Pope then served John with Excommunication. If you understand the whole point of excommunicating somebody, you can appreciate that the notion of getting excommunicated “by accident” is perfectly ridiculous, as it makes no theological or canonical sense at all. A ferendae sententiae excommunication is not incurred ipso facto, by virtue of the law itself; rather, it is imposed by church authorities, much like a judge in a civil court imposing a sentence on someone convicted of a crime (cf. This opens up options for ex-Catholic friends to find ways to help each other get excommunicated. Excommunication is meant to send an urgent message to a Catholic that by his actions, he has taken himself outside the fold of the Church, and needs to cease those actions and come back. Sanctions, Part II,” but briefly, no Catholic is subject to any penalty if he is under the age of 16; was ignorant that his action was a violation of the law; was forced to commit the crime, or committed it under fear; acted in self-defense or in the defense of another; or lacked the use of reason (as is the case with mentally ill, mentally handicapped, and senile persons). What Happens When a Religious Who’s Vowed Poverty Becomes a Bishop? It even looks disturbing written out on paper: E.x.c.o.m.m.u.n.i.c.a.t.i.o.n. Pope Francis can’t be excommunicated. Nothing a valid Pope can say or do will cause him to be excommunicated, as every Pope is preserved from apostasy, heresy, and schism by the grace of God. This fact cannot be emphasized enough—in part because the world seems to have more than its share of hyper-scrupulous Catholics who fret that they may somehow have been excommunicated accidentally, without realizing exactly what happened or why. Therefore, Pope Francis cannot be excommunicated. Any other laws of the Church which carry the penalty of excommunication are of changeable dispensable discipline, not doctrine. The Virus and the Bishops: Twisting a Vatican Document to Further an Agenda. Canon 1331 lays out the practical ramifications of excommunication, noting among other things that an excommunicated Catholic is forbidden to exercise any ecclesiastical offices, ministries, functions or acts of governance (c. 1331.1 n. 3). Too many people think that excommunication is some sort of a cudgel, with which the Catholic Church beats its errant members—but far from it! Secondly, Howard rightly mentions that certain crimes are punishable by latae sententiae excommunication. What are the consequences for someone who is excommunicated? In the past Cathy has published articles both in scholarly journals and on various popular Catholic websites, including Real Presence Communications and Catholic Exchange. So every Pope accepted by the body of Bishops must be the valid Pope. What about ferendae sententiae penalties? 4. Have Pro-Abortion Politicians Excommunicated Themselves? A Pope can only be removed from office by death or by resignation. A: In “Can a Pope Commit Heresy? They may do it anyway, but the number of people that will follow them would be significantly lower if they are excommunicated and stripped from cardinalate. But those cardinals who rebel, can and must be excommunicated. In cases involving punishments of this type, there is necessarily a lot of back-and-forth between the accused person and the official who imposes the penalty, so the accused is certainly well aware of what is happening to him, and why. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. I just read the recent lecture of cardinal Burke. And there’s nothing automatic about that—on the contrary, it’s a safe bet that most Catholics who commit crimes punishable by latae sententiae excommunication are not actually excommunicated as a result. 5. Papal critics: “Let us explain to you why Pope Francis is wrong.” –Mike. (If you use Google Chrome, first add a Chrome RSS reader or extension.). as-a-child October 7, 2008, 10:32pm #2. This same man was re-communicated to the … Pope Francis has already met with Martin with a much publicized build up to that meeting, which I believe Marin called "Fruitful". who committed an excommunicable offense, he is not subject to the penalty, and cannot be excommunicated. Sanctions, Part II” for more on excommunication and abortion). Likewise, if he honestly didn’t know that a certain action technically constituted an excommunicable offense, he would not incur the sanction (c. 1323 n. 2, as already noted above). Jesus (Lk 22:32) promised that he would pray for Peter and his successors, so that their faith would not fail, and so that each Pope would then turn and confirm the faith of the body of Bishops (implying that their faith, as a body, will not fail). Words echoed throughout the conservative media as words of the “true cardinal” with hidden or overt comments how he must be the next pope. Some of these acts could conceivably be performed by a Pope; for instance, it seems a Pope could help procure an abortion. This is a dogma of the First Vatican Council. Thus excommunication is meant to be helpful—just like medicine. Can a Pope be automatically excommunicated? Excommunication can be a public process, like the Pope did with the Mafia, or it can be private. 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