Saturday, 3 January 2009

What Every Roman Catholic Should Know about Self-Excommunication

This comes from ARCC Spot Light

Ed, a We Are Church (UK) supporter and members of the discussion group, comments, "Based on what we were taught by a wonderful Jesuit priest during a school retreat, I firmly believe that laughter is the best weapon. Whether the writer was in any way serious, this is so funny that it should be included on the blog, perhaps with a comment that "Satire can sometimes strain too hard to make its point.""

Most Catholics are familiar with Excommunication. It is a penalty imposed by Church authorities for having done serious things like abortions, heresies, schisms, and other crimes. The purpose is to seek repentance and protect the faithful. In days gone by it could be deadly as now-canonized saints like St. Joan of Arc, learned the hard way.

The two general types are
a) AUTOMATIC - the kind that happens just by doing the deed,


b) IMPOSED - the kind that needs to be issued, publically or secretly, by some Church official.

New on the Excommunication scene is the concept of Self-Excommunication (SEx)whereby one excommunicates oneself. There are apparently two different types of SEx:

a) Self Excommunication in the External Forum (SEx-EF) which occurs when a Church official declares that you have excommunicated yourself (even without your knowledge) or after a certain time period (30 days),


b) Self Excommunication in the Internal Forum (SEx-IF) whereby one excommunicates oneself by doing or believing the same thing as those who have been self excommunicated in the External Forum (SEx-EF). This latter category, (SEx-IF), can be further divided into:

ACTIVE (SEx-IF-Active) which includes those Catholics who are still active in the Church but support such things as the ordination of women, birth control, same sex unions, stemcell research, in-vitro fertilization, Obama for President, shared control of Church property, and more recently, active support for child sex-abuse victims (others to be added later),


PASSIVE (SEx-IF-Passive) which includes those Catholics who have just passively left the Church and moved on. (The third largest group of Christians in the US).

The above is offered as an observed description of this phenomenon and is not in any way official. A preliminary search finds no official reference in Church Law nor in past documents that deal directly with this, a gap soon to be filled no doubt by the Catholic media. Practically speaking, there is not much defense against the SEx-EF except to repent quickly if possible.

Those who fall into the SEx-IF-Active category would be well advise to keep a low profile and avoid going public, until such time as the Spirit calls you to be a more prophetic Christian.

It is obvious to many that our Church is in serious trouble, and that such machinations are only attempts to avoid the inevitable need for reform through accountability, openness, and participation of all. Please pray that the loving Spirit of God who dwells amongst us will prevail and help our poor Church.

1 comment:

  1. I'd really appreciate to streamline the self-excommunication procedures, or at least, a petition of such service.

    Im a practicing atheist, raised catholic (jesuits, opus dei. The excommunication interests me as a way to say f-you, don't count me in. I'd frame any official certificate that asses my non-affiliation status with the catholic (or any other) church.


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