Friday, September 15, 2017

Sunday Sermon, September 10 -- On Excommunication (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

"If he refuses to listen even to the Church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector."

We consider the doctrine of excommunication. Jesus himself not only gives the Church the right to excommunicate, but even mandates excommunication in certain cases of obstinate grave sin. To treat a brother like "a Gentile," is nothing less than to excommunicate him.

What is excommunication? It's much more than simply not being allowed to receive communion. Many cannot receive communion, but they are not thereby excommunicated. Excommunication means cutting a person off from the whole Body of Christ - he is no longer in communion with the Church. When a man has been excommunicated, the Church no longer even prays for him - he is not even permitted to attend the Mass.

However, excommunication has never meant that a person is condemned to hell. Excommunication refers to the relation of a man to the Church on earth, it is not a claim about what might happen to a man's soul after death. Indeed, we do not judge the man's soul, and we trust that God is continually offering the grace necessary for his conversion and salvation.

Excommunication is a medicinal act - it's medicine. The Church (Pope Francis included) excommunicates people so as to call them to conversion. Ultimately, excommunication is all about salvation.




Listen online [here]!



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