Wednesday, July 1, 2015


The Deacon's Bench Blog and his use of Wikipedia tell us who has been excommunicated in the 21st Century. Of course in the various culture wars, some Catholics want all politicians and elected officials who are Catholic excommunicated if they don't place into political policies the teachings of the Church. The post-Catholics on the Supreme Court who are social engineers and redefined what civil marriage is are a case in point, not to mention Nancy Pelosi and Joe Bidon amongst other notorious post-Catholics. But this is the good deacon's list:
I’ve seen that question a lot lately, as people have wondered on social media why certain Catholic Supreme Court Justices—along with prominent Catholic politicians—haven’t yet been publicly excommunicated, either for their position on abortion or their stance on same-sex marriage.
Good question. I have no idea. That’s above my pay grade. Public excommunication, at any rate, seems to be a relatively rare phenomenon.

But I was curious about just whom the Church had excommunicated.

This, of course, is why God made Wikipedia. The good people at Wikipedia have compiled a list of recent formal excommunications, which might be of interest:

21st century 

  • Members of multiple organizations in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska were excommunicated by Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz in March 1996 for promoting positions he deemed “totally incompatible with the Catholic faith”.The organizations include Call to Action,Catholics for a Free ChoicePlanned Parenthood, the Hemlock Society, the Freemasons, and the Society of St. Pius X. The Vatican later confirmed the excommunication of Call to Action members in November 2006.
  • The Community of the Lady of All Nations for heretical teachings and beliefs after a six-year investigation. The declaration was announced by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on September 12, 2007.
  • Fr. Dale Fushek (also laicized by Pope Benedict XVI 02/2010) and Fr. Mark Dippre. Former Priests were issued a Decree of Excommunication by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted for operating “an opposing ecclesial community” in direct disobedience to orders to refrain from public ministry.
  • Fr. Marek Bozek (since laicized by Pope Benedict XVI), and the lay parish board members of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in St. Louis, Missouri in December 2005 were declared guilty of the ecclesiastical crime of schism by then-Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke. Their excommunication was ratified by the Vatican in May 2008. Four of the parish board members have since reconciled with the Church.
  • Both the doctors and the mother of the nine-year-old victim in the 2009 Brazilian girl abortion case were said by Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho of Olinda and Recife to have incurred an automatic excommunication. The victim had an abortion after being raped and impregnated by her stepfather. The National Conference of Bishops of Brazil contradicted Sobrinho’s statement: it declared that, in accordance with canon law, the girl’s mother was not in fact excommunicated and that there were no grounds for stating that any of the doctors involved were in fact excommunicated.Disagreement with the Archbishop’s view of the supposed excommunication was expressed also by other bishops.
  • Sr. Margaret McBride, a nun, for allowing an abortion. McBride later reconciled with the Church and is no longer living in a state of excommunication.
  • In October 2012, the newspapers El Observador and El País reported that all the Catholics who promoted the abortion law in Uruguay were excommunicated. The newspaper Urgente24, in spite of a headline stating that what it called the “abortionist lawmakers” were excommunicated, explained in the body of the article that automatic excommunication applied only to someone who directly carried out an abortion. The bishops website also explained that excommunication would automatically apply, under Canon Law 1398, only to anyone carrying out an abortion, and not to lawmakers.
  • Fr. Roy Bourgeois (also laicized and dismissed from the Maryknoll Fathers) for participating in the ordination of a woman.
  • Fr. Robert Marrone, by Bishop Richard Gerard Lennon of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland in ClevelandOhio for violating the terms of his leave of absence. Marrone set up a worshipping community (the Community of St. Peter’s) in a vacant warehouse and outside of a Catholic building or church after St. Peter’s Parish in Cleveland was closed (it has since been reopened), in defiance of the bishop .
  • Fr. Simon Lokodo, The Minister for Ethics and Integrity in Uganda, was excommunicated from the Catholic Church by Pope Benedict XVI when he entered politics in violation of Canon Law 285.3
  • Fr. Roberto Francisco Daniel, known by local community as “Father Beto”, by Bishop Caetano Ferrari, from Bauru, Brazil. Daniel was excommunicated because he refused a direct order from his bishop to apologize for or retract his statement that love was possible between people of the same sex. The priest also said a married person who chose to have an affair, heterosexual or otherwise, would not be unfaithful as long as that person’s spouse allowed it.
  • Fr Greg Reynolds of Melbourne, Australia was excommunicated in 2013 for continuing to celebrate Mass when not permitted, advocating the ordination of women, and promoting same-sex marriage
You can read a more complete list here.


Anonymous said...

Well Father, excommunication is meant to be used when a Catholic commits an act that is so grievous that Holy Mother Church uses this tool of mercy to encourage that person to repent and change. Would good is this tool when these people don't believe they are sinning? I realize that can't deter the Church from doing what is just and merciful. Let's not kid ourselves Father, the majority of people who identify as Catholic are anything but Catholic. The vast majority of people identifying as Catholic ,through no fault of their own, the blame falls clearly at the fault of the clergy and religious who have betrayed the Faith for the last 50 years, don't know or love the Church. How sad that for the last 50 years popes, bishops, priests, nuns and brothers have betrayed Christ and HIS Church by sins of omission and commission. The result was made crystal clear with the decision of the Supreme Court on gay "marriage". The Church is the only organization on earth that possesses the fullness of truth and grace because the Church is the Body of Christ. Unless the Church clearly, with charity, but without compromise, returns to teaching and preaching the Truths of the Faith the slide into irrelevancy will continue.

Much has been made of the prediction of Cardinal George. It's obvious he was wrong. His successor has nothing to fear from the government. And yes that's a shame. The world has suddenly fallen in love with the pope and the Catholc Church, why is that? Is the pope confirming the brethren in the Faith with regard to marriage? The last synod produced nothing but scandal and confusion. He causes nothing but confusion by daily imprudent statements. He knows the confusion he is causing. So it comes as no surprise that a person identifying as Catholic is the one to defy Christ and say that gay "marriage" is something good and a right. Excommunication will do nothing, not while confusion reigns in the Church.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, the Church has become such a joke that I don't think ppl care if they incurre excommunication anymore

Anonymous said...

I would say Anthony Kennedy should be high on the list. "Thanks" to him, we lost our chance to overturn Roe v Wade in 1992 (Planned Parenthood V Casey), and then later he overturned sodomy laws and now he is the "savior" of same-sex marriages.

And how about Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, who presided over same-sex marriages recently? (Not to mention, reportedly has a live-in girlfriend).

Ironically, it was a Catholic (Kennedy) responsible in large part for our cultural demise. Oh, it would have been more understandable if it has been an Episcopalian doing so, especially in light of news this past Monday that their general convention in Utah has authorized same-sex marriage rites---easily passing with 129 bishops yes, 26 no....

Anonymous said...

I have long argued that in being so reluctant to use excommunication in a time of such huge dissent and heterodoxy, the Church is passively contributing to and encouraging the spread of that heterodoxy. It does so in two ways; 1) by furthering scandal when someone blatantly, repeatedly opposes Church authority and teaching and continues to get away with it (and with being identified as a Catholic); and 2) by suggesting that the dissent is of no concern when it comes to salvation (e.g., we don’t want to turn the Eucharist into a public battleground over abortion,” a reason that I’ve actually seen priests and bishops put forward). This reluctance is, at best, false charity when one remembers that excommunication is designed to rehabilitate a heretic in danger of losing his soul as well as warn/deter others in the Church who might follow the heretic’s example. Latae sententiae excommunication, in being under the radar, keeps the bishops from having to do something unpleasant and controversial among parishoners (and, speaking cynically, their money--see Georgie Weigel on bishops as administrators/managers rather than pastors). But it achieves neither of excommunication’s goals well and possibly, in some circumstances, not at all. How does being excommunicated without knowing it do you any good spiritually? Even if you know it, the lack of a formal pronouncement may mean that it doesn’t sink in--it just comes across as some Latin procedural gobbledygook.

With that out of the way, I’ve analyzed the list and will give you, in my next post, “the rest of the story.”

To be continued . . .

Anonymous said...

Here’s my analysis and the rest of the story, available to anyone who can use Google:

1) Most of the listed excommunications relate to schism rather than heresy, especially if you include the ordination of women--the commonality being the idea of priests (actual or putative) or ecclesial communities operating outside the hierarchy’s control (and, I must cynically note, getting monies that don’t find their way into Church coffers). This was the reason for excommunication given (if you do a bit of digging) in paragraphs 1,2,3,4,8,9, and 12.

2) Three cases (paragraphs 5, 6, and 7) expressly involved abortion. All were latae sententiae, and in case of paragraph 5, there was formal disagreement over whether even latae sententiae excommunication had occurred, further weakening (I argue) its deterrent and rehabilitative impact. In paragraph 7, the bishops walked back newspaper declarations about the reach of latae sententiae excommunication, likewise weakening it further. Several cases in paragraph 1, but not all, obviously involved abortion: these are the only ones for which formal excommunication was announced for someone because of abortion (despite ~3000 abortions per day being performed for the past generation in the U.S. alone).

3) Four cases total (paragraphs 5, 6, 7, and 8) were latae sententiae (if Paragraph 5 was even that).

4) Two cases involved homosexuality. Paragraph 11 certainly involved statements challenging the Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality, but is couched in phrases suggesting disobedience/schism (refusing a direct order from bishop). Paragraph 10 involves a priest who was militantly _against_ homosexuality, ironically. Given the dating of the various articles, I can’t tell whether this excommunication was pronounced simply because he entered politics, as the paragraph claims, which wouldn't speak well of the Church if other priests are allowed to continue in political positions, or because he illegally/unjustly persecuted the gay community after gaining office, which would be more defensible.

5) Only three paragraphs (1, 5, and 7) clearly involved laity, along with possibly paragraph 2, depending on the exact status of the community. Thus, at least two-thirds of the cases involved disobedient clergy, either secular or regular, further contributing to my argument/criticism that schism and not heresy is the big concern.

Thus, this list shows how milquetoast the Church has been on excommunication, to the detriment of souls in its care. I think it’s damning how you can stay in the institutional Church and promote dissent on a topic involving millions of deaths without consequence (e.g., Kerry, Pelosi, Sibelius, Biden), but if you do anything to draw money away, you get hit with a formal excommunication.

Square, Uncool Catholic said...

Getting excommunicated might have meant something to the "Catholics" who have political and ecclesiastical power, but that has long since passed. Those with the political muscle just don't care and those with the ecclesiastical muscle are beholden to their political buddies and appear (I am not judging--just observing) yes, APPEAR to be more concerned with keeping the money coming in than doing what is right. The time for excommunications is so far in the past now that if a bishop were to start exercising that power, he would simply be laughed at in the press and ignored by the politicians and judges he targets.

I suspect that when the Final Judgment comes, many Catholics will be shocked to find not only that they died outside the state of grace, but they died outside of the Church. It is fearful to think of the accountability of those priests and bishops who failed to warn them.

I've reached the point where my only hope of justice and decency is in the next life. It has become crystal clear that we are moving further and further away from it on this earth. My hope is in God. As far as life on earth goes,


Angry Augustinian said...

Square, "I've reached the point where my only hope of justice…is in the next life."
That has always been our only hope of justice…unless someone thinks that the justice handed out at the Supreme Court or the Bibb County courthouse is the same justice spoken of by Amos, Isaiah, and the NT. That is why the foolishness of the progressives is so laughable…and dangerous…they do not believe in God's justice, only in man's. That hasn't been working out so well, now, has it?
A Poem:
God's plan made a hopeful beginning
But, man ruined the Image by sinning.
We know that this story
Will end in Christ's Glory,
But, at present, the other side's winning.

John Nolan said...

Excommunication 'ferendae sententiae' is rare. Excommunication 'latae sententiae' assumes an automatic penalty but there are so many loopholes in Canon Law that it is difficult to maintain that any such excommunication actually was incurred. This includes those reserved to the Holy See. Archbishop Levebvre and the bishops he consecrated may or may not have incurred automatic excommunication, and Pope Benedict's lifting of those excommunications may not have been necessary, although it served to remove all doubt.

In any case, the penalty is meaningless if applied to schismatics who have already broken away from the Church. Ergo, the SSPX is not schismatic.

Disenthralled said...

I can still remember the first time I saw a bishop. I was a little boy of 7, attending my brother's confirmation ceremony. The bishop (an auxiliary) came in and the church was awash with incense and organ music, pomp and ceremony. The Old Rite was still in use. I looked at the bishop, a tall man (everyone was tall to me then) as he walked slowly forward with his crosier. I was so impressed. I knew, I just knew, he must be a very holy man.

Well, that bishop went on to greener pastures a few years later and became an outspoken advocate of progressivism and everything gay. It took many years before I realized how mistaken and naive I was as a 7 year old boy.

I think most of the folks in the pews, to some degree, still make the same naive mistake. Many of these men are not holy. Many of these men are not your friends. Many of these men tolerate being in the same room with you, because you fill the collection basket. And many of these poor folks will take whatever blubber-blabber they say as gospel, because they want to believe that this bishop is a good man.

If our bishops had been good men…if our bishops had cared one iota about the integrity of the faith…if our bishops truly cared about the family, they would have used their powers of excommunication boldly three decades ago before what was once abominable became the norm.

Do I sound bitter? Sorry. I'm not really. I just can't believe how so many Catholics are as foolish as a seven year old.

Angry Augustinian said...

Archbishop Auza, the Papal Nuncio to the UN, openly endorsed the UN Sustainable Development goals in toto. These goals include "reproductive rights," "family planning," and birth control initiatives. The Pope knows this. So, spin it folks...

"And though this world with Devils filled
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear for God hath willed
His strength to triumph through us
The Prince of Darkness grim
We tremble not for him
His rage we can endure
For, lo, his doom is sure
One little word shall fell him."

gob said...

My wife and I had 8 children Gene. How many do you have? (Tell me all about your "abstinence".)

Anonymous said...

Jackie Kennedy (Onassis) was excommunicated!!!! Well, be-low me down! I HAD to look THAT up. Apparently it was for the fact that Aristotle Onassis was a baptized non-Catholic who had been divorced. I had never heard this.

Regarding whether public figures should be excommunicated when they support political or social causes contrary to Faith and Morals: although very sorry for the scandal caused by these so-called Catholics I'm not sure excommunication is the answer. I often wish we had clearer statements from our bishops to counter them, and I think the bishops have done a good job this time making sure Catholics understand the Church's teaching on the same sex "marriage" decision. I do think bishops should contact and speak privately to public figures who make public statements against Church teaching, asking them not to take Communion when they come to Mass. But at that point, if the public figure continues to do so, well, they are accountable for that sacrilege.

Anonymous 2 said...


“That has always been our only hope of justice…unless someone thinks that the justice handed out at the Supreme Court or the Bibb County courthouse is the same justice spoken of by Amos, Isaiah, and the NT.”

If our only hope of justice is in the next world and the thunderous condemnations of the OT Prophets you mention are inapplicable to this world, then what on earth (pun intended) are you getting so exercised about always?

My hunch is that you don’t really believe what you say and, provided you could spin the Prophets and other Scriptures your own way, you would be quite happy to have your particular understanding of biblical justice imposed by the State. Am I wrong?

Anonymous 2 said...


No need to spin it. The Holy See’s steadfast opposition to such measures as abortion and artificial birth control and its rejection of an overweening focus on population control are very clear from Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si and will surely be reiterated by Pope Francis when he addresses the UN in September. There is doubtless a benign explanation why the Papal Nuncio did not mention this opposition again in his endorsement.

Did you check under the bed tonight?

Unknown said...

HEY!! I'm excommunicated. Alas, I am not yet famous enough to have my name included on such a list.


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes, Flavious you are excommunicated not as something punitive but to encourage you to reconcile to the full communion of the Catholic Church. Not even the SSPX are in the same category at Orthodoxy, although Pope Francis may find a way to reconcile even the east, who knows. But until then or when you return to the full communion of the Church I won't be able to post your comments any longer. God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Jackie Kennedy Onassis had a Catholic funeral---the late Archbishop Philip[ Hannan conducted her graveside service at Arlington (Cemetery). Yes, she married Onassis but in an Orthodox ceremony---the Orthodox Church does allow for remarriage after divorce, at least in certain circumstances.

As for the excommunication or at least discipline list (Canon 915), well, among the late ones who should have had it were Teddy Kennedy (pro choice and same-sex marriage), Mario Cuomo (pro choice on abortion), Geraldine Ferraro (pro-choice). among the living who should be on the VERBOTEN list:

John Kerry, Secretary of State (from Massachusetts, so no explanation required)
Terry McCauliffe, governor of Virginia (who is pro-choice and same-sex marriage)
Tim Kaine, senator from Virginia (supports same-sex marriage)
Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York (pro-choice and not only endorses same-sex marriage, has presided at such ceremonies).
Joe Biden, the vice president (who "prematurely" endorsed same-sex marriage on a Sunday talk show---even before Obama publicly did).
Anthony Kennedy, Supreme Court Justice (for declaring unconstitutional traditional morality laws on marriage and sodomy, and by one vote stopping a repeal of Roe V Wade in 1992)

I think the bishop of Springfield (Ill) has taken disciplinary action against very liberal Senator Dick Durbin of that state.

In 2004, at least some of the bishops of the Atlanta Province (Georgia and the Carolinas) issued a letter asking pro-choice politicians to refrain from communion. Atlanta's then-archbishop signed it, but I don't think all the province's bishops did so. At least for the short term, the statement won't have much impact because there are so few Catholic politicians in the state---come up here to the State Capitol when our Legislature is in session, and judging by the "chaplain of the day", you would swear that 90 percent of our state is Baptist! (Chaplain of the day gives the opening prayer each day of the session up here.)

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Accd to Pew, Georgia is 79% Christian and 3% non-Christians. "Nones" are 18%.

They also say Georgia is 9% Catholic, which is more than I would have expected.

Interestingly enough, the age distribution for Mainline Protestants is:
18-29 16%
30-49 29%
50-64 29%
65+ 26%

The groups with the highest percentage in the youngest (18-29 years) range are:
Muslims 44%
Nones 35%
Buddhist 34%
Hindu 34%
Orthodox 26%

Φλάβιος said...

That was sudden...

Anonymous said...

Bella Dodd in 1952 testified on Capitol Hill.She said they (communist party) sent over 1,000 young men to the seminary during the 1930's.She testified to working with 4 cardinals while in the communist party.Read her book " School of Darkness".Given just her testimony and her statement 'In 15 you will not recognize the Catholic Church or American society',a lot of confusion is cleared up.

Anonymous said...

The Catholic Supreme Court justices that vote for abortion and same sex marriage should be Publicly Excommunicated for the public scandal that they cause the Church. If public figures can defy the Church teachings and receive the Holy Communion it makes the rest of us common Catholics look silly. It looks like there is one set of rules for the masses and another set of rules for the elite. Let being Catholic mean something, not oh it does not matter if the Justices tell the rest of us that what the Church teaches does not matter, they do not need to practice their faith in the "Public Square"