Is Excommunication and Exorcisms considered sacraments?

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This topic contains 40 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  LARobert 5 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #1859

    James
    Member

    Greetings!

    I seem to be bothered by this question, but are Excommunication and Exorcisms considered sacraments? I know there are the 7 main ones, but are these thought as Rites rather that sacraments?

    #8981

    Andres Ortiz
    Keymaster

    You are correct – they are rites, not sacraments. A sacrament is a visible sign of an invisible truth – it’s a tangible sign of God’s grace being given to us. Excommunication is certainly not a sacrament since it bars someone from the communion of believers – there is no grace in that. An exorcism is a casting out of demons or demonic possession – it’s not necessarily a grace received so much as an evil departing.

    #8982

    James
    Member
    "Jon":1k3r7ptx wrote:
    Excommunication is certainly not a sacrament since it bars someone from the communion of believers – there is no grace in that.[/quote:1k3r7ptx]
    So if one were to be Excommunicated from the Church, they would not be part of the communion of believers? What if that person still believes Jesus as the salvation of man?
    #8983

    LARobert
    Participant

    The first and most important point that should be made is that exommunication, be it pronounced by the Church or not is something someone does to themselves. If someone does something worthy of the penalty, they are excommunicated or barred from the reception of communion. They remain a Catholic, just as any baptized Catholic does who has not made a formal declaration that they renounce the Faith.

    The rites surrounding excommunication are usually reserved for someone who has made statements or preformed actions that clearly show their rejection of a moral or dogmatic teaching of the Church in a public manner, and who’s public actions would lead to the loss of Faith among others.

    Example One: A Catholic goes to the Justice of the Peace to marry disregarding the laws of the Church, and treats marriage as a simple contract that can be broken. By doing so with no good reason, they are excommunicated even if no official statement or rite is preformed. They can be restored to communion by approaching the pastor of their local parish and having the marriage reconciled with God’s law and the Church if they plan to remain married. There are however some exceptions. In England the law used to be (and still may be) that a Civil Marriage must take place to be legal, and a Religious Marriage is optional (according to the State) Here the Church allows for a civil marriage to satisfy the State, and then the couple is married in the Church.

    Example Two: A bishop ordains new bishops without the permission of the Pope (Papal Mandate) and when there is no grave need. If there was no grave need for a new bishop being ordained, with a situation making it impossible for the Pope’s permission or communication with the Vatican both the ordaining and ordained bishop are excommunicated, and they would not have the excommunication lifted until they straightened out the situation with the Pope, or someone the Pope delegates to judge the case.

    As the subject of Martin Luther came up on another thread. Luther was given several chances to explain his new doctrines, including being invited to do so before the Council of Trent. He was promised safe conduct to and from the Council. He steadfastly refused. It seems from his own history he should never have become a priest, as he made a vow to enter monastic life when he was frightened during a thunder storm. Vows such as his made out of fear are not held to be valid, as they are made under diress. The Book Young Luther, by the renound Psychotherapist Erik Erikson is a good read about the instability of Martin Luther. His doctrines changed radically throughout his lifetime. He was given to physical and verbal fits where he would lash out at others, and would use very blue language, some of the excommunications that Luther and Lutherans wrote to Calvinists and Calvin and his followers against Luther and Lutherans would shock most who regard them as holy and “Godly” men. Even so Luther up to the moment of his death could have been received back into the Church by a simple confession to a priest or even a statement of contrition.

    #8987

    Andres Ortiz
    Keymaster
    "James":35qqp14w wrote:
    "Jon":35qqp14w wrote:
    Excommunication is certainly not a sacrament since it bars someone from the communion of believers – there is no grace in that.[/quote:35qqp14w]
    So if one were to be Excommunicated from the Church, they would not be part of the communion of believers? What if that person still believes Jesus as the salvation of man?[/quote:35qqp14w]
    What I meant was more along the lines of what LARobert wrote: barred from reception of the Eucharist. Essentially this is akin to being cut off from the rest of the community in a symbolic and spiritual way.
    #8988

    LARobert
    Participant

    I’d like to add to my posting above, even someone who is excommunicated is not held to be relieved of his or her duties before God. One would still have the obligation to worship God, (ie assist at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days, say ones daily prayers, etc.) Excommunication is one of the penalties that can be placed on an individual or group, as is interdict and other canonical penalties. Much easier than in the Early Church. If you read the story of Ananias and Saphorah, as the Scriptures tell us Ananias was struck dead for his lie to the Holy Ghost, by telling untruths to the Apostles, he had lied to God.

    In the early Church many people held off on baptism until near death, they believed, but did not become incorporated into the Body of Christ because the penalties imposed for sin where very harsh compaired to today. Various sins would be punished by the Early Bishops and the Apostles by being removed from the Liturgy with the Catechumens after the Liturgy of the Word and before the Liturgy of the Eucharist. If you assist at an Eastern Rite Liturgy, the deacon still chants, “All Catechumens depart” three times after the Gospel and Sermon… Penalties such as not being able to receive the Holy Eucharist sometimes for years or up until one was on their deathbed where also imposed. So the modernday practice of excommunication, with the possiblity of returning to the good graces of the community by the simple action of going to confession and renouncing ones errors are quite liberal compaired to the standards early Catholics had to face from the times of the Apostles through the first few centuries of the Church’s existance.

    #8990

    James
    Member
    "LARobert":u690attx wrote:
    It seems from his own history he should never have become a priest, as he made a vow to enter monastic life when he was frightened during a thunder storm.[/quote:u690attx]
    Luther grew up in a time were people believed in superstitions such as witchcraft and so-forth. It was also believed during this time period that God wasn’t a kind and loving God but a God of punishment and eternal damnation to the sinful. So during that day when he was caught in the storm and was almost struck by lightning, he had a legitimate excuse to be afraid. He thought that the only way to save himself was to become a monk.
    #8991

    LARobert
    Participant

    James, your answer is tainted by falsehoods about what people believed and what the Church is alleged to have taught in the time of Luther. The idea that it was taught that God was not a kind and loving God is an excuse made up by enemies of the Catholic Church. Once again, I’d refer you to Erikson’s book on Luther which covers many of the psychiatric issues Luther had. He had problems with Scruples, ie that even when he had confessed his sins, and been absolved he was still unsure of God’s forgiveness. He imposed on himself such penances as cleaning out the latrine in the Augustinian Monastic house he lived in.

    The fact is that the Catholic Church had centuries before condemned the ideas of Marcion and others who equated the God of the Old Testament as being an Evil Punishing God. Before Luther we had men like St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Dominic who without denying penance, and our need for reformation of our souls, preached in union with the Church that God would supply the graces we needed for our salvation. Calvin, Luther and the rest taught that mankind was so reprobate that there was nothing he could do to save himself. It was the Catholic Church that taught even in these dark days you speak of, that God has seen in mankind something of worth, as it was God who created us, and that while fallen, due to the stain of original sin, there was something good in us His creation and justice demanded that we be given hope and grace.

    As for superstition, and witchcraft, we need not look to the Middle Ages, they remain with us, and they pre-dated the times of Luther.

    #8993

    James
    Member

    Thank you for your opinion and your knowledge LARobert <img src=” title=”Smile” /> I’ve been taught that you have a right to your own opinion and I am entitled to mine and I don’t wish to argue with you because of this reason. I also don’t want to argue because I’ve read many posts on this website with some man named Ron and those conversations never went anywhere. This person always argued and complained about the Catholic faith and I do not wish to do the same.

    #8995

    Andres Ortiz
    Keymaster
    "James":1user50t wrote:
    I also don’t want to argue because I’ve read many posts on this website with some man named Ron and those conversations never went anywhere. This person always argued and complained about the Catholic faith and I do not wish to do the same.[/quote:1user50t]
    James, thanks for all your questions – it’s nice to have someone with such a positive attitude here. The difference between you and Ron is that you haven’t appeared to come here with your sole mission to bash the Catholic Church and convert us all to something else. It appears you have genuine questions and are truly seeking God. That’s exactly what this board is for and you are very welcome here to keep pressing and asking questions. I take no offense to you. God bless!
    #8996

    LARobert
    Participant

    James:

    Ron came here with the intent of attacking what he thought was the Catholic Faith. He remains in my prayers, as much of what he attacked was not even Catholic teaching, but a parody of the Faith. There are many like him who spread falsehoods about the Church, and twist the teachings of the Church based on quoting out of context, and what their ministers or teachers have taught them.

    Asking questions is different than what Ron came here to do. While I don’t run this board, Jon, and others on this board are good resources if you want to know what the Church really teaches.

    I tend to be longwinded in my replies, and if I don’t know something, I look it up prior to answering.

    You are in my prayers, ask away….

    #8997

    James
    Member

    I would like to know a little more on Exorcisms. The only ones I’ve seen are the ones in the media. I know that they exaggerate everything but is there truth behind it?

    #8998

    LARobert
    Participant

    Keep asking good questions, I’ll take some time to answer when I get a chance, and I am confident in the others on the board too. While I hope you stick around and continue to ask questions, I’d also like to reccomend http://www.catholicscomehome.org as a good resource.

    Here is a prayer composed by St. Thomas Aquinas for those seeking the truth.

    O creator past all telling, you have appointed from the treasures of your wisdom the hierarchies of angels, disposing them in wondrous order above the bright heavens, and have so beautifully set out all parts of the universe.

    You we call the true fount of wisdom and the noble origin of all things. Be pleased to shed on the darkness of mind in which I was born, The twofold beam of your light and warmth to dispel my ignorance and sin.

    You make eloquent the tongues of children. Then instruct my speech and touch my lips with graciousness. Make me keen to understand, quick to learn, able to remember; make me delicate to interpret and ready to speak. Guide my going in and going forward, lead home my going forth.

    You are true God and true man, and live forever and ever.

    St Thomas Aquinas, 1225-74

    #8999

    James
    Member

    The website that you have posted is wonderful and helpful. Thank you <img src=” title=”Smile” />

    #9000

    LARobert
    Participant

    [quote:106wf8hj]I would like to know a little more on Exorcisms. The only ones I’ve seen are the ones in the media. I know that they exaggerate everything but is there truth behind it?[/quote:106wf8hj]
    The question is kind of broad, could you refine it?

    Are you asking do Catholics believe that persons can be posessed by the devil and his minions? Answer Yes

    Are you asking do Catholics believe that we have been given the power to expel the devil and his minions from those posessed in the name of Jesus? Answer Yes

    Are you asking about exorcisms themselves? There we can start from the simple use of Holy Water to drive away the devil and his minions from our home when they are present and wish to tempt us, all the way to the formal Rite of Exorcism found in official Rituals of the Church.

    If you are asking about the condition of the soul of those posessed, by in large those posessed are not found to be guilty of the acts they preform while posessed, as they normally do not bring posession on themselves.

    Another website that may be of use to you is the Catholic Encyclopedia, at
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/index.html

    #9001

    James
    Member
    "LARobert":lrzznpko wrote:
    Are you asking about exorcisms themselves? There we can start from the simple use of Holy Water to drive away the devil and his minions from our home when they are present and wish to tempt us, all the way to the formal Rite of Exorcism found in official Rituals of the Church.[/quote:lrzznpko]
    Can anyone preform an Exorcism if they believe one is possesed or must they call a local priest? If a Protestant or one not of Christianity believes that a loved one is possesed, does a priest have the right to dismiss them and not preform the rite for them?
    #9004

    LARobert
    Participant

    While a priest can out of charity or love of the person and God preform an exorcism on someone who is not a Catholic, the Catholic Church does not claim jurisdiction or authority over non-catholics.

    I worked with a young girl who told this story of her chilhood. She lived in the Phillipines, her father is a very anti-Catholic Protestant Minister. While living in the islands his mission was to “convert Cathoics to Christianity.” She tells the story of how she began to exibit signs of demonic posession, her father and ministers from her Sect tried to preform an exorcism, with no success. Finally they went to the local Catholic parish priest, who using the Roman Ritual for exorcism was successful in casting out the unclean spirits. She and her family are still Protestants to this day and her father is “Pastor” of a little Church with about 25 people today.

    Anyone may say the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, or preform a simple exorcism, or prayer to remove the influence of the devil from the area or persons. It is best to consult one’s local priest if there are difficulties, or there seems to be a true full posession.

    The Devil is the Father of lies, he can easily confound someone, knowing what we have done in the past, Satan can (speaking through a posessed person) make public hidden sins from our past. Sometimes people who exibit signs of posession are in fact mentally or physically ill. Someone who has rabies may foam at the mouth, or sometimes epileptics may have a fit (seizure) and it can be mistaken by people who do not know better to be a sign of posession. Because of this when a difficult case is brought to the local parish priest if after investigation to rule out a mental or physical disorder, there appears to be a true case of posession, the case will be taken to the Local bishop who will authorize the exorcism, and usually appoint at least one priest who has experience with exorcisms and an assistant who are known for holiness, prayerful lives, and physically fit for the task. The priest(s) usually fast and pray prior to the exorcism, go to confession, and generally prepare themselves. There are usually other assistants to help protect the posessed person, as they can flail around or may need to be held down for their own protection. A nurse or doctor are usually nearby. While these hard cases are not the standard, or usual case I’d rather have someone who knew what they where doing, than try something like this myself.

    #9005

    James
    Member
    "LARobert":2btvji91 wrote:
    I’d rather have someone who knew what they where doing, than try something like this myself.[/quote:2btvji91]
    I would like to have someone else do it too. I would be too afraid of what might happen if I would try and, in a worst case scenario, failed to relieve the person of demonic possession.
    #9008

    Andres Ortiz
    Keymaster
    "James":27fw8y1r wrote:
    "LARobert":27fw8y1r wrote:
    I’d rather have someone who knew what they where doing, than try something like this myself.[/quote:27fw8y1r]
    I would like to have someone else do it too. I would be too afraid of what might happen if I would try and, in a worst case scenario, failed to relieve the person of demonic possession.[/quote:27fw8y1r]
    And there’s the risk of becoming possessed yourself by the demon.
    #9009

    James
    Member

    What would happen if you did get possessed? More specifically, what are the physical, emotional, and spiritual effects? After being possessed by a demon, does one’s relation with Christ be affected as well?

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