The same day that Pope Bergoglio inaugurated the “Jubilee of Mercy”, on the 8th of December, the President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, said that criticism of Francis could include the penalty of automatic excommunication by virtue of canon 1370: ”A person who uses physical force against the Roman Pontiff incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See”, an anathema that the bishop of San Rafael Mendoza (Argentina) had already suggested for the person of Dr. Antonio Caponnetto, by letter dated on the 22nd of April, 2014, based on the canons 1373 and 1347 “by stubborn attitude of public defiance”, and “as regards of the Holy Father Francis, preceding Popes, and other members of the hierarchy of the Church” .
More than promoting world evangelization, Archbishop Fisichella, noted for his unique personal management sense of excommunication, started another argument in 2009 regarding the anathema made by the archbishop of Olinda and Recife in relation to the case of an abortion performed on a 9 year old girl.
The excommunication, also called anathema, is a censorship or medicinal penalty for which you exclude someone from the communion of the faithful and other inseparable effects together, especially if it is imposed with the formalities described in the Roman Pontifical. It is the most serious of ecclesiastical penalties, as it deprives of all the great benefits to the person that gets punished with it. The excommunication latae sententiae automatically applies to whom “it incurs” in very serious crimes such as apostasy, heresy or schism (canon 1364) and abortion, among others.
In the times of our Lord Jesus Christ, excommunication was verified in two different forms in Judaism, which could be called “official” and “unofficial” excommunications.
In the first case, the sentence was handed down by a religious court and implied that the one being excommunicated was treated rigorously, as the Jews could not contact the person punished with it, neither could that person participate in any form of official Jewish cult, having being forbidden to enter the Temple or the Synagogue.
In the case of an unofficial excommunication, it was pronounced by the Scribes or by the Doctors of the Law; this punishment was intended to expire after thirty days. This excommunication was not as rigorous as the one issued by a court. The person punished in this way had the right to take part in the official cult in either case.
We can see in the Gospel according to S. Matthew how our Lord Jesus Christ has arranged and prepared for the penalty of excommunication when we read the following words: “But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother. And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand. And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican”.
According to the teachings of Jesus Christ the primitive Church proclaimed the truth and fought everything that opposed it. Following the Lord’s command, the Apostles refuted the errors against the deposit of faith, following the example of the Lord who “fought so hard against the heresies of Israel at that time, such as that of the Pharisees.”
The preaching of the Gospel was altered or denied by heretical doctrines from the beginning. Our Lord had already announced that: “many false prophets shall rise, and shall seduce many.” (Mt 24:11; cf. 7.15 to 16; 13,18-30.36-39).
Paul excommunicated Hymenaeus and Alexander, “whom I have delivered up to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme” (1 Tim. 1, 20). The meaning and purpose of excommunication is the salvation of the soul and stands out even more clearly in 1 Cor. 5, 5, where Paul excommunicates a public sinner: “To deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Council of Elvira reaffirmed the practice of canonic excommunication for those who held doctrines contrary to orthodoxy.
Certain particularly grave sins incur excommunication, the most severe ecclesiastical penalty, which impedes the reception of the sacraments and the exercise of certain ecclesiastical acts, and for which absolution consequently cannot be granted, according to canon law, except by the Pope, the bishop of the place or priests authorised by them. In danger of death any priest, even if deprived of faculties for hearing confessions, can absolve from every sin and excommunication.
Excommunication is an ecclesiastical law that excludes the notorious and obstinate sinner from communion or union of the faithful, although remaining in union with the Church by virtue of his baptism.
The current Code of Canon Law (CIC) also considers the ecclesiastical excommunication latae sententiae in the following cases:
Apostasy, heresy and schism: canon 1364.
Desecration of the Eucharist: reserved to the Holy See, canon 1367.
Physical violence against the Roman Pontiff: reserved to the Holy See, canon 1370.
Absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue: reserved to the Holy See, canon 1378.
Ordination of a bishop without apostolic mandate: reserved to the Holy See, 1382.
Violation of the sacramental seal of confession: reserved to the Holy See, canon 1388.
Abortion: canon 1398.
Capturing or disclosure by technical means, of what is said in confession: Decree to safeguard the dignity of the sacrament of Penance 1988.
The atempted ordination of a woman: general decree of December 19, 2007.
The mania of many who want to change precisely that which Jesus did immutable, is a disease as old as the Church itself, with the difference that those who condemn today the faithful (who lawfully resist the attempts of those who seek to destroy the doctrine of the Church), would like to admit the publicly condemned divorce by Jesus, or to allow the marriage of persons of the same sex, or to bless premarital sex, or to agree for the ordination of women and ignore on purpose, the standards and truths, the teachings and traditions that the Church cannot change because it has no authority to do so: ” But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema”.
[Translation by Miguel Tenreiro. Original post]