List of people excommunicated by the Catholic Church

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This is a list of some of the more notable people excommunicated by the Catholic Church. It includes only excommunications acknowledged or imposed by a decree of the Pope or a bishop in communion with him. Latae sententiae excommunications, those that automatically affect classes of people (members of certain associations or those who perform actions such as directly violating the seal of confession[1] or carrying out an abortion),[2] are not listed unless confirmed by a bishop or ecclesiastical tribunal with respect to certain individuals.

In Roman Catholic canon law, excommunication is a censure and thus a "medicinal penalty" intended to invite the person to change behavior or attitude that incurred the penalty, repent, and return to full communion.[3] Excommunication severs one from communion with the Church; excommunicated Catholics are forbidden from receiving any sacrament and refused a Catholic burial, but are still bound by canonical obligations such as attending Mass or fasting seasonally. Excommunicated Catholics, however, are barred from receiving the Eucharist or from taking an active part in the liturgy (reading, bringing the offerings, etc.).[4] They are still Catholics per se, but are separated from the Church.

1st century[edit]

2nd century[edit]

3rd century[edit]

4th century[edit]

5th century[edit]

6th century[edit]

  • St Columba was excommunicated in 562 by the synod of Teltown for allegedly praying for the winning side in an Irish War. The excommunication was later held to be an abuse of justice and the bishops in question removed their charge.[10]
  • The sons of Conall mac Domnaill by St Columba some time in the late 6th century, due to their persecution of churches [10]
  • Theodore of Mopsuestia by the Second Council of Constantinople

7th century[edit]

8th Century[edit]

9th Century[edit]

10th century[edit]

11th century[edit]

  • Michael Cerularius, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, in 1054. The legal validity of this excommunication has been questioned as it was issued by legates of Pope Leo IX after the Pope's death. It was declared lifted on December 7, 1965.[17]
  • Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor was excommunicated 4 times in the 11th century (and would later be excommunicated a fifth time in the 12th century). He was excommunicated by Pope Gregory VII three separate times, and once more by Pope Urban II. The first was on 22 February 1076 over the Investiture Controversy. This excommunication was lifted on 28 January 1077 after Henry's public show of penitence known as the Road to Canossa. His second excommunication by Gregory was on 7 March 1080, and the third was in 1084 or 1085. Urban II excommunicated Henry in 1088.
  • Harold II, King of England, for perhaps politically motivated reasons by Pope Alexander II in order to justify the invasion and takeover of the kingdom by William the Conqueror in 1066.[18]
  • Bolesław II the Generous, Duke of Poland, was excommunicated in 1080 after murdering the bishop Saint Stanislaus of Kraków.
  • Philip I of France, king of France, for repudiating his marriage and remarrying, by Hugh, Archbishop of Lyon and later reaffirmed by Pope Urban II.
  • Bishops in France, under orders of Benedict VIII, excommunicated feudal barons who had seized property belonging to the monastery of Cluny in 1016 [19]
  • The bishop of Autun excommunicated Cluniac monks in his diocese who took over the monastery of Vezelay without his permission; the excommunication was removed after they left the diocese [19]
  • In 1031 the council of Limoges in France excommunicated feudal barons in the diocese of Limoges who were conducting private warfare between themselves in the midst of widespread famine and pestilence that was killing off a large portion of the peasantry. The famine and pestilence were thought to be punishments from God for grave sins being committed close to the millennium anniversary of Christ's death and resurrection. The members of the council dashed their candles to the ground in unison after calling out 'As these lights are extinguished before your eyes, so let their joy be extinguished before the angels.' [19]

12th century[edit]

13th century[edit]

14th century[edit]

15th century[edit]

16th century[edit]

17th century[edit]

18th century[edit]

19th century[edit]

20th century[edit]

21st century[edit]

  • 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.[69]
  • 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.[70]
  • 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.[71] 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 José 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.[72][73] 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.[74] Disagreement with the Archbishop's view of the supposed excommunication was expressed also by other bishops.[75][76]
  • Sr. Margaret McBride, a nun, for allowing an abortion.[77] 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.[78][79] 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.[80] 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.[81]
  • Fr. Roy Bourgeois (also laicized and dismissed from the Maryknoll Fathers) for participating in the attempted ordination of a woman.[82]
  • Fr. Robert Marrone, by Bishop Richard Gerard Lennon of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland in Cleveland, Ohio 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.[83]
  • Fr. Simon Lokodo, The Minister for Ethics and Integrity in Uganda, was excommunicated from the Catholic Church by Pope Benedict XVI[84] when he entered politics in violation of Canon Law 285.3[85][86]
  • 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.[87][88][89]
  • Fr Greg Reynolds of Melbourne, Australia was excommunicated in 2013 for continuing to celebrate Mass when not permitted, advocating the attempted ordination of women, and promoting same-sex marriage.[90]
  • Fr. Jose Mercau in 2014 as part of the Catholic Church sexual abuse cases scandal.[91][92]
  • In February 2018 Fr Ezinwane Ibo, a Nigerian priest working on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia, incurred an automatic excommunication for breaking the seal of the confessional.[93]
  • On Christmas Eve, 2019, three hermits named Father Stephen de Kerdrel, Sister Colette Roberts and Brother Damon Kelly living in Scotland were excommunicated after accusing Pope Francis of heresy in an online statement.[94]

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External links[edit]