excommunication


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excommunication,

formal expulsion from a religious body, the most grave of all ecclesiastical censures. Where religious and social communities are nearly identical it is attended by social ostracism, as in the case of Baruch Spinoza, excommunicated by the Jews. In Christianity the Roman Catholic Church especially retains excommunication; the church maintains that the spiritual separation of the offender from the body of the faithful takes place by the nature of the act when the offense is committed, and the decree of excommunication (or anathemaanathema
[Gr.,=something set up; dedicated to a divinity as a votive offering], term that came to denote something devoted to a divinity for destruction. In the Bible, the term is herem.
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) is a warning and formal proclamation of exclusion from Christian society. Those who die excommunicate are not publicly prayed for; but excommunication is not equivalent to damnation. Excommunications vary in gravity, and in grave cases readmission may be possible only by action of the Holy See. Excommunicates are always free to return to the church on repentance. Protestant churches have generally abandoned excommunication.

Excommunication/Apostasy

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Apostasy is the renunciation, either through words or actions, of a religious faith. One who commits apostasy is declared apostate, or excommunicated, by the church or religious institution. This means the person may no longer receive access to God by receiving communion or other sacraments. It is similar to the Amish practice of "shunning," although shunning means the apostate is completely ignored, even in civil intercourse. The object is the same. Wayward apostates are placed "outside the camp" to convince them of the error of their ways so they will eventually return. Biblical support for the practice is found in Paul's letters to the Corinthians, but it in fact preceded the Christian New Testament.

The term is first found in the Greek Septuagint version of scripture, used in various apocryphal books as well as in Joshua and Jeremiah. But it was commandeered early in the Christian era, first applied to no less a luminary than the apostle Paul himself in Acts 21:21. Paul turned the tables on his accusers when he wrote to the Thessalonians. In an apocalyptic passage later echoed by the author of 2 Peter, Paul assured Christians that the "apostasy" or rebellion must come first, before the return of the Lord. Since it certainly wasn't his own apostasy he was referring to, he was, in effect, calling his accusers apostate themselves.

Excommunication

 

exclusion from a religious community, widely used in the past as a punitive measure by Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Judaism, and certain other religions.

Excommunication was used by churches for political purposes, particularly for the struggle against popular and revolutionary movements. Among those excommunicated by the Russian Orthodox Church were S. T. Razin, E. I. Pugachev, and L. N. Tolstoy; the Catholic Church excommunicated Jan Hus and Giordano Bruno; the Jewish rabbis excommunicated B. Spinoza. In 1949 and 1959 the Vatican announced the excommunication of Catholics who were taking part in the communist movement or cooperating with it.

References in periodicals archive ?
There remain some who have never accepted the excommunication as valid.
Hypocrisy and irrationality reign here as they have in the excommunication of Pitsillides.
The sanction of excommunication can only be lifted if the woman confesses the abortion, also known as reserved sin under the present discipline of the Church, to a bishop who can grant absolution himself or authorize a priest to absolve her.
Robert Gahl, a moral theologian at the Pontifical Holy Cross University in Rome, said the planned consecration incurs automatic excommunication for both Williamson and Faure.
Excommunication was prevalent during the middle ages, but is hardly heard of in modern times when society has more liberal outlook on matters concerning faith.
in particular, makes a substantial case that there were no legitimate grounds for raising the excommunication on the side of either the pope or the four excommunicated bishops.
In fact the public invocation of excommunication against McBride, described by a colleague as "the moral conscience of the hospital," rallied the faithful to her side rather than striking a blow for the pro-life cause.
Benedict angered Jewish leaders and many Catholics by lifting the excommunication of Williamson and three others in a bid to heal a 20-year-old schism within the church.
He was one of four ultra-traditionalist bishops whose excommunications were lifted by Benedict in an attempt to heal a schism in the Church that began when they were ordained in 2008 without papal permission.
The Holocaust denier is at the heart of a storm of controversy that hit the Vatican after Pope Benedict XVI revoked his excommunication this month.
It also said the pope had not known about Bishop Williamson's views when he agreed to lift his excommunication and that of three other bishops on January 21.
Such sins, which can only be dealt with by the Pope, acting through the tribunal, bring automatic excommunication from the Church.