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Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Fr. Bill Lynn

Dear Fr. Peter,
You did everything but answer the question. What is a brief definition of excommunication?
Fr. Bill Lynn

Brian John Schuettler Do you have a simple definiation of "excommunication"?

Peters: Yes. Excommunication is the most serious censure the Catholic Church imposes on her members. Excommunication has roots deep in ecclesiastical history, and it is still applied, in fact increasingly applied, today. But it's more than a penalty for past actions; it's really an urgent call to reform one's conduct in the future. Excommunication is classified as a "medicinal penalty" by the Church precisely because its main purpose is to bring about reform in the individual. Having certain actions punished by excommunication demonstrates that certain actions are gravely wrong in themselves and cause deep harm both to their perpetrators and to others.

Sandra Miesel

Ah, but what if a politician had herself had, performed, or facilitated an actual abortion? Some certainly have.

Ed Peters

"Father" Peter? I'm being demoted. As a canonist, I often get mail addressed to "Monsignor" Peters, occasionally even to "Bishop" Peters, but just "Father"? I'm miffed.

Sandra, right, in which case, though, they are liable to sanction for the abortion, not for their political activity. Of course.


Wow, Fr. Bill, never has one man squeezed so many basic errors into a post so small so well. =)

Christopher Malloy

Fr. Bill:

If a priest publicly preaches in favor of women's ordination (long after Ordinatio Sac) during a homily, is there any canonical measure that one may take? Whom ought one to contact if anyone (other than prayer)?


Carl Olson

"You are Peters, and upon this rock I will build my interpretation of canon law..." :-)

Ed Peters

I have to admit, that's pretty funny, Carl.


You said: "There are ways to cancel one's Church membership, but excommunication isn't one of them"

Out of curiosity, what are the ways by which one would go about canceling their Church membership?

Ed Peters

The "formal act of defection".

Brian John Schuettler

Presumbably you are defecting to the Enemy.

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