Re: Excommunication

Question from Paul on 1/12/2008:

Hello Father Levis,

Could one be correct(and probably more precise)in saying that when one is excommunicated by the Catholic Church one is in a "state of damnation", or excommunication means that the soul is in a state of damnation?. - Granted this penalty is used by the Church to bring the sinner back into the fold and repent, if they choose to do so. But if one dies in a state of excomminication; however, only God knows if the soul will be saved?

Also, what are the sins already formally declared by the Church to put one in a state of excommunication?

I was told that even if a Bishop does not formally declare, lets say a person who directly procures an abortion is not excommunicated, it really does not matter, since the Church years ago states that this sin excommunicated the person(unless of course confessed and repented of)?

Also, for the excommunication of a public figure to be removed, is it not also required that the public figure (i.e., a Catholic politician who lets say endorses abortion and/or anti-lilfe laws) needs to also make a public declaration of his or her wrong thinking in order for the sin to be forgiven?

Thank you,


Answer by Fr. Robert J. Levis on 1/13/2008:

Paul, A very wide post! Church penalties are medicinal or corrective and vindictive or punitive according as they are primarily ordained for the betterment of the offender or as a punishment for his offense. Individual censures are excommunication, interdict, and suspension. An excommunication excludes a person from the communion of the faithful and carries with it certain other consequences. An interdict deprives the faithful of certain spiritual goods without their being denied communion with the church. Penalties are either "latae sententiae" or "ferendae sententiae" according as they are incurred by the commission of an offense, or must be inflicted by a judge. Hope this helps a bit. Fr.Bob Levis

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