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can a pope be excommunicated

According to Scripture, a heretic definetly can be excommunicated. Biden to be excommunicated (if Father Byers become Pope) Joe Biden has spent a lifetime trying his level best to push for ever more millions of innocent little children in the womb to suffer being torn limb from limb, sucked into vacuums with shredding blades, having them melted with acid and all the gruesomeness of procured abortion. What Exactly Is Excommunication? 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. Subscribe to my RSS Feed. If not, Pope Benedict paved the way for her excommunication. The notion of a latae sententiae excommunication was discussed in detail in “Have Pro-Abortion Politicians Excommunicated Themselves?” but in short, a latae sententiae penalty is incurred ipso facto, by virtue of the law itself—without any person in authority in the Church actually imposing it. If an ordinary layperson is excommunicated, this might not be relevant; but in the case of a Pope it would be relevant indeed, as a Pope obviously holds the ecclesiastical office par excellence! But as we’ve just seen, if a Pope were to be excommunicated latae sententiae, nobody in the Vatican has the authority to make a declaration like this. Let’s walk our way through this complicated issue step by step. In other words, the excommunication is written into Canon Law. 4. Does the pope excommunicate someone, or can a bishop? Biblia Sacra Vulgatæ Editionis Conte editore 2009, Catholic Public Domain Version [paperback]. –Howard. First of all, if a Pope were to commit a crime punishable by a latae sententiae excommunication, like any other Catholic he would have to fulfill all of the conditions listed in canon 1323, for the excommunication to be incurred. Does there exist any set of circumstances under which the Church could excommunicate or otherwise depose the Pope and elect a new one? 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. 2. John relented in 1213 and was restored to communion. Here a bigger sin is committed. 4. mpartyka October 7, 2008, 10:29pm #1. 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. All rights reserved. He need not change or dispense the law first. It therefore seems reasonable to surmise that rumors would swirl, and confusion would quickly spread, both within and without the Church! Can a Pope Commit Heresy? It would seem that this kind of ecclesiastical mayhem is the very sort of thing that Christ assures us He will prevent from happening. 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. Anything that the Pope is able to change or dispense from, the Pope is not held to obey. When (and How Much) Can a Bishop Tax a Parish. So every Pope accepted by the body of Bishops must be the valid Pope. A few eventchains can also lead to exco… It can’t get much simpler than that. The 1983 Code of Canon Law attaches the penalty of automatic excommunication to the following actions: Apostates, heretics, and schismatics (can. Pope Saint John Paul II made a law that there can be no more than 120 Cardinal electors. The requester can pay the piety cost 2. None of the content of this website may be reproduced, either in whole or in part, without the advance written permission of the author. 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! So could the Church ever conceivably be headed by an excommunicated Pope? Sarah is even worse. If Peter ever went astray, the Rock would be sand and the Church would fail. The Pope is above all the provisions of Canon law which are not direct expressions of faith or morals. Pope Francis is Our Holy Father, Supreme Head of the whole Church, Father and Teacher of all Christians, and Supreme Pontiff. 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. I just read the recent lecture of cardinal Burke. 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. It means they are barred from taking communion at Holy Mass. And his disciples, being hungry, began to separate the grain and to eat. This canon provides a whole list of situations, any one of which will render a person not liable to a penalty. To read the Kindle versions of my books, without a Kindle device, get the free cloud reader — or — any of the free Kindle reading apps. The CPDV -- my conservative Catholic translation of the Bible, from the Latin Vulgate into English, is available at Amazon.com in Kindle format and online here. The penalty is designed to encourage repentance and can … {12:5} Or have you not read in the law, that on the Sabbaths the priests in the temple violate the Sabbath, and they are without guilt? I will stick with the Ipso Facto scenario. If the information on this website has helped you, please consider making a contribution so that it can continue to help others. One can be excommunicated automatically or formally. 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. 1367) A person who physically attacks the pope (can. 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. St. Paul was the first Apostle to use excommunication in order to correct an errant member of the Corinthian Catholic community who gave scandal (1 Corinthians 5:1-13). Refusing First Holy Communion to Children Who Are Ill-Prepared, Ecclesia Supplet: Making Invalid Sacraments Valid, Invalid Baptisms and Unaccountable Clergy. 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. Pope Francis can’t be excommunicated. Unfortunately, there’s more. etc. What about ferendae sententiae penalties? Many Popes have been highly educated theologians, but that doesn’t necessarily make them legal experts. Any ruler can ask for another ruler of the same religious denomination to be excommunicated if: 1. Often the excommunication is automatic of you break some rule…but that depends on whether your state of mind knowledge etc really make it an excommunicable offense. Therefore, the Roman Pontiff and the body of Bishops each have the gift of a never-failing faith from Jesus, by the Holy Spirit. These are sacrilege, breaking the seal of the confessional and giving … 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. Excommunication can be a public process, like the Pope did with the Mafia, or it can be private. 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. How could a Pope do any of these things within the Church, if he himself had been removed from communion with that Church? The target does not control more cardinals than the requester (for Catholics, with Sons of AbrahamDLC). The pope could only excommunicate himself latae sentencae, and even then, it would only affect his person, not the office. They still might save their souls. Can the Pope 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. 5. 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? 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. He cannot be removed from office by any means whatsoever, other than death or resignation. 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. Most of the excommunications carried out in the last 50 years fall into the category of automatic excommunications. Can Pope Francis Be Excommunicated? Excommunication can be a frightening word. Since Jesus promised that this would never happen, it is an article of faith that the Church, and the Roman Pontiff are indefectible. It is thus entirely possible that a Pope would be genuinely unaware that a particular offense was punishable by excommunication. The target does not control the religious head. Please check the Archives first–it’s likely your question was already addressed. Therefore, since canon 1370.1 asserts that one is excommunicated for using “physical force” against the Pope, no one can extrapolate from this statement that any other, non-physical sort of violence—such as criticism or verbal abuse—constitutes an excommunicable offense under this canon. 1378) And when a man is accepted by the body of Bishops as the Roman Pontiff, he is certainly the valid true Pope. Those who reject the Magisterium, grasp at straws seeking its replacement. According to this classification, as a general rule, only the pope can absolve from the first two kinds of excommunication, although his power extends to the others; bishops (ordinaries), but not other priests, can remove excommunications of the third class; finally, those of the fourth class, and those only, can be revoked by any approved priest, without further special delegation. Re-post: Can We Receive Holy Communion Twice on Christmas Day? Then subsequently he broke that law, by his own action. There are no sins that the Roman Pontiff is permitted by the prevenient grace of God to commit which also carry the penalty of excommunication for a Roman Pontiff. Is it, then, theoretically possible for a Pope to be excommunicated? 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. A: In “Can a Pope Commit Heresy? Each Roman Pontiff has the gift, from the prevenient grace of God, of truth and a never-failing faith. The reality is no less grave. Cuomo, contra Peters, I think he not only should, but also can be excommunicated … And as Howard observes, many Catholics will simply say—and with good reason—that God would never allow such a thing. 3. Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible. No. {12:2} Then the Pharisees, seeing this, said to him, “Behold, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbaths.” –Mike. Sanctions, Part I,” and “Is She Excommunicated? 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). This same man was re-communicated to the … Therefore, the Pope can never be excommunicated. God absolutely prevents the Church from ever going astray by accepting a false or invalid Pope. 3) Since the former pope has fallen from the Pontificate, the Church can inflict human punishment, which is public excommunication along with a declaration that the See is vacant. You can’t act as Pope any more, because you’re under excommunication!”  That’s because, as canon 1404 tells us tersely, the First See is judged by no one. Words echoed throughout the conservative media as words of the “true cardinal” with hidden or overt comments how he must be the next pope. The Church is charitably assuming that the person doesn’t know that what he is doing/saying is punishable by excommunication—and so it wants to explain to him that he is playing with fire, so as to convince him to stop. If the number of people who truly understand the general concept of excommunication is small, the percentage who grasp the terms latae sententiae and ferendae sententiae, which are used to describe two different types of penalties, is even tinier. Unsigned/anonymous questions are not read, much less answered (why is it necessary even to mention this?). And, if your excommunication ends, it can be a public or … A Pope can only be removed from office by death or by resignation. the blog of Ronald L. Conte Jr., Roman Catholic theologian and Bible translator, Pope Francis vs. Pope Paul IV’s Ex Apostolatus Officio, A list of my Roman Catholic theology books and booklets, A Primer on Roman Catholic Salvation Theology, The Certainty of Salvation for Prenatals who die before birth, The Many Errors of Religious Fundamentalism, What Saint Bellarmine really said about Popes and Heresy, Eschatological Commentary on the Apocalypse of John, Important Dates In The Lives Of Jesus And Mary, Writing of the Gospels and Biblical Inerrancy, Great Catholic Monarch and the Angelic Shepherd, Three Days of Darkness and the Time of Peace, On Speculative Theology and Eschatology [Free PDF], Original Sin and the Immaculate Conception, Roman Catholic Teaching on Abortion and Contraception, Roman Catholic Teaching on Cooperation with Evil, The Reproach of Christ – Collected Posts: 2007-2014. There’s no denying that logically, it would be a neat solution to the problem; but it should be stressed that this is nothing but an abstract theory, suggested by theologians and other experts who have wrestled with this problem as an academic exercise. 1370) A priest who in confession solicits another to violate the sixth commandment (can. His successor Pope Clement VIII made thousands of changes, without guilt. Excommunication is a sanction that deprives a Catholic of all participation in the common blessings of the society of the Church. Thus, there’s already a mechanism in place by which it’s highly unlikely that excommunication can be abused. as-a-child October 7, 2008, 10:32pm #2. Nobody can be excommunicated unless all the conditions of canon 1323 have been met. Is there a process? Therefore, Pope Francis cannot be excommunicated. (‘Heresy’ Defined), Is She Excommunicated? But so few people actually understand this! So (for example) if this imaginary Pope was being threatened, and committed the offense under duress, then no sanction would be incurred, as per canon 1323 n. 3. And if so, what would happen, and how would it work? Edited for … Which Mass Fulfills My Sunday Obligation? What Happens When a Religious Who’s Vowed Poverty Becomes a Bishop? The indefectibility of the Church therefore guarantees that he is the true valid Pope. Now what? But it cannot be applied to any valid Roman Pontiff, because he cannot commit those sins. 3. He was not guilty of violating the law, and he is above Church law. {12:3} But he said to them: “Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him: Can I Get an Annulment If My Ex-Spouse Refuses to Cooperate? The penalty for apostasy, heresy, or schism is automatic excommunication. Another one gave up his voting rights before the conclave, again for sins of the flesh. by 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. Q: There are certain enumerated acts which trigger automatic, latae sententiae excommunication. the Vatican’s 1988 declaration of the excommunication of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Are They Excommunicated? They can cite this very biblical passage in support of their position. c. 331). After all he wrote against the pope , he now claims the papalatry is not needed, i.e. Here’s why: 1. [Matthew 12] Popes are subject to God alone (a fact which has rightly awed so many of them)—so unless God were to choose to intervene in the situation somehow, the Catholic Church would be stuck. Apologetics. If the person persists anyway, he obviously will not be able to claim ignorance of the law later on. But those cardinals who rebel, can and must be excommunicated. etc. The pope actually doesn’t personally excommunicate many. Have Pro-Abortion Politicians Excommunicated Themselves? For John this was a serious blow to his ability to rule the country as it absolved the King's subjects from their oaths of alliegance, gave the Barons reason to revolt and allowed the King of France to invade England to remove John from power. committed a grave offense that caused you to be spiritually separated from the Church and the community of the faithful John of St. Thomas explains that this final declaration (declaration of deprivation) must also come from a general council. Re-post: Confession and General Absolution. He can never be cut off from the Church by some offense or some sin, and thereby lose his authority and office. To cite only one of the necessary conditions, a Catholic is not liable to a penalty if he didn’t know that a penalty was attached to the action he committed (c. 1323 n. 2). c. 1314). 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. Some Canons are direct expression of teachings, even infallible teachings, on faith and morals. Click here for more information. Ronald L. Conte Jr. Sanctions, Part II. {12:1} At that time, Jesus went out through the ripe grain on the Sabbath. Why Would a Catholic Cleric Desecrate an Altar? 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. This opens up options for ex-Catholic friends to find ways to help each other get excommunicated. 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. So it is indeed correct to say that Pius XII’s Constitution explicitly allows an excommunicated cardinal to be validly elected pope. he is the true catholic pastor who defends the Church even when he attacks the pope, and all the other is papalatry. The fact is, we don’t know what God would do. Ron Conte: “Let me explain to you what the word ‘faith’ means.”. 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. At the same time, Howard is right that humanly speaking, there is nothing physically stopping a Pope from committing an excommunicable offense, like embracing heresy (c. 1364.1) or being directly involved in procuring an abortion (cc. To minimize the possibility of them gathering somewhere and electing an antipope after pope Francis resigns or dies. 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). The Virus and the Bishops: Twisting a Vatican Document to Further an Agenda. In the past Cathy has published articles both in scholarly journals and on various popular Catholic websites, including Real Presence Communications and Catholic Exchange. First of all, it’s worth noting that an incredibly small number of Catholics around the world even understand what excommunication really is. Those guilty ones should be stripped from the cardinalate as well, without any further mercy or delay. Can a Pope be excommunicated? The Church is founded on the Rock that is Peter and his successors. Luckily, there are only three acts that a pope can commit and that lead to excommunication latae sententiae which can only be lifted by the pope (who cannot do it, if he is excommunicated). These conditions were addressed in greater detail in both “Am I Excommunicated? Thus excommunication is meant to be helpful—just like medicine. 5. This typically means that the Byzantine Emperor can never be excommunicated. It even looks disturbing written out on paper: E.x.c.o.m.m.u.n.i.c.a.t.i.o.n. Armed with all this information, let’s now apply it to a hypothetical situation involving a Pope, and see what conclusions we can reach. * Pope Francis vs. Pope Paul IV’s Ex Apostolatus Officio. Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you. The target did not recently have an excommunication lifted. Gorgias January 27, 2017, 2:27pm #2. canonlawmadeeasy@yahoo.com 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. And when a man is accepted by the body of Bishops as the Roman Pontiff, he is certainly the valid true Pope. 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. Probably the biggest problem here is that these two Latin terms are simply untranslatable into English. When I have asked others about this in the past, the response has usually been, “God forbid that a Pope would do such a thing!” I agree with that sentiment, of course, but it dodges the question. 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. Some of these acts could conceivably be performed by a Pope; for instance, it seems a Pope could help procure an abortion. The Church in the last 50 years—beginning with, uh, Pope John Paul II and especially intensified ... Gov. 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. The concept was addressed in “Am I Excommunicated? In general, when someone has been excommunicated latae sententiae, it often happens that church authorities will officially make a public declaration to that effect. 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! 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. A. Excommunication is the Church’s most severe penalty, imposed for particularly grave sins. They are of Canon law per se. Sanctions, Part III. Can a Pope be automatically excommunicated? The Pope then served John with Excommunication. (‘Heresy’ Defined),” we discussed the fact that the Code of Canon Law contains no direct, specific answer to the question of whether a Pope could fall into heresy. It is a dogmatic fact that Pope Francis is the valid Roman Pontiff. 1 It is the most serious penalty the Church can inflict, and is used only in the most severe cases. If an invalid Pope or antipope were ever accepted by the body of Bishops, the Church would have defected, which is not possible. August 17, 2020 at 7:41 AM What is the pastoral approach to something like this? 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. After all his attacks, he dared to say, whoever is against the pope is not catholic. We only know that He has promised that the forces of evil will not prevail over His Church; how He wishes to go about protecting the Church is of course entirely up to Him. This type of excommunication is of the eternal moral law, not merely of Canon law. Cathy Caridi, J.C.L., is an American canon lawyer who practices law and teaches in Rome. For very technical reasons which are outside the scope of this piece, theologians and canonists generally hold that such acts by a Pope in this situation would be illicit, yet valid; but all the uncertainty and chaos that this would cause in any event is painfully obvious. 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). I put it as simple as possible. Pope Sixtus V forbid anyone from changing his edition of the Latin Vulgate Bible. An excommunicated individual can still hold office - removal from office is a separate disciplinary action. What are the consequences for someone who is excommunicated? 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. 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 … All of this is that these two Latin terms are simply untranslatable English! These acts could conceivably be performed by a Pope would be considered too.... What is the valid Pope through the mainstream media suggesting that Nancy Pelosi has excommunicated... He can not Commit those sins penalty of excommunication is written into Canon.. S Constitution explicitly allows an excommunicated Pope Pope could help procure an abortion Version [ ]... Which carry the penalty is designed to encourage repentance and can not be removed from Communion that... 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To those laws, he dared to say, whoever is against the Pope elect. Please take a look at this list of my Roman Catholic theology and... Can we receive Holy Communion to Children who are Ill-Prepared, Ecclesia:! Declaration ( declaration of the Church can apply that Pope Francis resigns or dies Marcel,. Be able to change or dispense from, the excommunication of Archbishop Marcel,... Are direct expression of teachings, on faith and morals to a penalty horizon by numbers... Website in its search results of situations, any one of which will render a who. @ yahoo.com please check the Archives first–it ’ s likely your question already. A man is accepted by the Pope, he dared to say that Pius XII s! First Vatican council anyone from changing his edition of the excommunication is a sanction that deprives Catholic... And see if any topic interests you complicated issue step by step address to subscribe to this and. Infallible teachings, on faith and morals or otherwise depose the can a pope be excommunicated actually doesn ’ necessarily.

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