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Alexandra wrote:

Hi, guys —

I just asked a question but I thought of another one that I've been struggling with.
I hope that's alright.

I read about how in Canon Law there are automatic excommunications for heresy and schism, but
I don't really understand when these excommunications are applied.

  • For example, if a person held a heretical view about something, and knew the Church teaching was different, and still held on to their own view, I understand they have sinned, but are they also excommunicated, through an automatic excommunication?
  • Or is it only if they teach their view publicly, and if so, how public does it have to be?
  • If they simply mentioned it to someone, are they excommunicated?
  • What if they doubted their Catholic faith and seriously considered joining another church (but didn't), have they committed schism, or do they commit schism only if they actually join that other church?

Also, Is someone excommunicated for heresy:

  • if they deny any Church teaching, or
  • if that only applies to certain doctrines.

It's been really hard to find an answer on this and I'd greatly appreciate any help.

Thank you!


  { Can you help explain to me when, if any, these excommunications in Canon law are applied? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Alexandra —

Your question really falls outside the scope of our mission.

Nevertheless, I searched the database and this posting may help; it's a 2-page posting that's lengthy but good.

Hope this helps,


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