A papal renunciation occurs when the reigning pope of the Catholic Church voluntarily steps down from his position. As the reign of the pope has conventionally been from election until death, papal renunciation is an uncommon event. Before the 21st century, only five popes unambiguously resigned with historical certainty, all between the 10th and 15th centuries. Additionally, there are disputed claims of four popes having resigned, dating from the 3rd to the 11th centuries. Additionally, a few popes during the saeculum obscurum were "deposed", meaning driven from office by force; the history and canonical question here is complicated. The development of canon law has been in favor of papal supremacy, leaving no recourse to the removal of a pope involuntarily; the most recent pope to resign was Benedict XVI, who vacated the Holy See on 28 February 2013 at 19:00 UTC. He was the first pope to do so since Gregory XII in 1415. Despite its common usage in discussion of papal renunciations, the term abdication is not used in the official documents of the church for renunciation by a pope.
In the Catholic Church, in the Latin Rite, the official laws on all matters are codified in the Latin edition of the 1983 Code of Canon Law which regulates papal renunciations in Canon 332 §2, where it states:Si contingat ut Romanus Pontifex muneri suo renuntiet, ad validitatem requiritur ut renuntiatio libere fiat et rite manifestetur, non vero ut a quopiam acceptetur. Which in English, would be:If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone; this corresponds to Canon 221 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, which in Latin is: Si contingat ut Romanus Pontifex renuntiet, ad eiusdem renuntiationis validitatem non est necessaria Cardinalium aliorumve acceptatio. And in English, would be:If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is not required for validity that the resignation is accepted by the Cardinals or by anyone else. Both the 1983 Code and the 1917 Code make explicit that there is no particular individual or body of people to whom the pope must manifest his renunciation.
This addresses a concern raised in earlier centuries by 18th-century canonist Lucius Ferraris, who held that the College of Cardinals or at least its Dean must be informed, since the cardinals must be certain that the pope has renounced the dignity before they can validly proceed to elect a successor. In 1996, Pope John Paul II, in his Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici gregis, anticipated the possibility of resignation when he specified that the procedures he set out in that document should be observed "even if the vacancy of the Apostolic See should occur as a result of the resignation of the Supreme Pontiff"; the Catholic Encyclopedia notes the obscure renunciations of Pontian and Marcellinus, the postulated renunciation of Liberius, that one catalogue of popes lists John XVIII as resigning office in 1009 and finishing his life as a monk. During the saeculum obscurum several popes were "deposed" or coerced into renunciation by political and military force. John X is considered to have been deposed by some, but he seems to have died in prison before his successor Leo VI was elected anyway.
As another example, consider the story of John XII, Leo VIII, Benedict V. John XII had been invalidly deposed by the Emperor Otto in 963. Leo VIII was set up as an antipope by Otto at this time. However, John XII won back his rightful place in 964; when John XII died in 964, Benedict V was elected. However, Otto wanted Leo VIII put back on the papal throne and, using military might, forced Benedict to abdicate that same summer. Leo VIII is considered the legitimate pope until his death in 965, thus having been both an antipope and a valid pope. Benedict V never again attempted to claim the papacy, did not contest the election of John XIII after Leo VIII, so his abdication is considered valid though some treated him as the valid pope until his death; the first unquestionable papal renunciation is that of Benedict IX in 1045. Benedict had previously been deposed by Sylvester III in 1044, though he returned to take up the office again the next year, the Vatican considers Sylvester III to have been a legitimate pope in the intervening months.
In 1045, having regained the papacy for a few months, in order to rid the church of the scandalous Benedict, Gregory VI gave Benedict "valuable possessions" to resign the papacy in his favour. Gregory himself resigned in 1046 because the arrangement he had entered into with Benedict could have been considered simony. Gregory was followed by Clement II, when Clement died, Benedict IX returned to be elected to the papacy for a third time, only to resign yet again before dying in a monastery, he thus reigned as pope for three non-consecutive terms, resigned three separate times. A well-known renunciation of a pope is that of Celestine V, in 1294. After only five months of pontificate, he issued a solemn decree declaring it permissible for a pope to resign, did so himself, he lived two more years as a hermit and priso
The Byzantine Papacy was a period of Byzantine domination of the Roman papacy from 537 to 752, when popes required the approval of the Byzantine Emperor for episcopal consecration, many popes were chosen from the apocrisiarii or the inhabitants of Byzantine-ruled Greece, Syria, or Sicily. Justinian I conquered the Italian peninsula in the Gothic War and appointed the next three popes, a practice that would be continued by his successors and be delegated to the Exarchate of Ravenna. With the exception of Pope Martin I, no pope during this period questioned the authority of the Byzantine monarch to confirm the election of the bishop of Rome before consecration could occur. Greek-speakers from Greece and Sicily replaced members of the powerful Roman nobles in the papal chair during this period. Rome under the Greek popes constituted a "melting pot" of Western and Eastern Christian traditions, reflected in art as well as liturgy. After his invasion of Italy, the Gothic War, Emperor Justinian I forced Pope Silverius to abdicate and installed Pope Vigilius, a former apocrisiarius to Constantinople in his place.
Justinian's successors would continue the practice for over a century. Although the Byzantine troops that captured Italy called themselves Romans, many inhabitants of the city had a deep seated mistrust of Greeks, Hellenistic influence more generally. Before long, the citizens of Rome petitioned Justinian to recall Narses, declaring that they would rather still be ruled by the Goths. Anti-Byzantine sentiment could be found throughout the Italian peninsula, reception of Greek theology in Latin circles was more mixed; the continuing power of appointment of the Byzantine emperor can be seen in the legend of Pope Gregory I writing to Constantinople, asking them to refuse his election. Pope Boniface III issued a decree denouncing bribery in papal elections and forbidding discussion of candidates for three days after the funeral of the previous pope; this abated factionalism for the next four successions, each resulting in quick elections and imperial approval. The prestige of Gregory I ensured a gradual incorporation of Eastern influence, which retained the distinctiveness of the Roman church.
Pope Boniface III was likely of Greek extraction, making him the "Easterner on the papal throne" in 607. Boniface III was able to obtain an imperial proclamation declaring Rome as "the head of all the churches", a decree Phocas intended as much to humiliate the Patriarch of Constantinople as exalt the pope. Phocas had a gilded statue of himself erected on a monumental column in the Roman Forum only three weeks after Boniface III's consecration, in 609 by iussio authorized the conversion of the Pantheon into a Christian church, the first pagan Roman temple so converted. Boniface III himself attempted to outdo Phocas's efforts to Christianize the site, collecting twenty-four cartloads of martyr bones from the Catacombs of Rome to enshrine in the temple. A 610 synod ruled that monks could be full members of the clergy, a decision that would massively increase the hordes of Greek monks about to flee to Rome as the Slavs conquered much of the Balkan coast. At this time Salona in Dalmatia, Prima Justiniana in Illyricum, peninsular Greece and Crete were under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Rome, Constantinople was one of "the last places to which one could turn for refuge in the early seventh century".
Another wave of monastic refugees, bringing with them various Christological controversies, arrived in Rome as the Sassanid Empire ravaged the eastern Byzantine possessions. The following Muslim conquests of the seventh century in effect reversed the "avalanche of ascetics to the East" and the "brain drain of ascetic emigrations to the Holy Land" that followed the Gothic invasions of 408–410. Although the immigrating monastics were small in number, their influence was immense: "Amidst an atmosphere that warmly welcomed them, the small force of monks and clerics who came to Rome at this time would combine their zeal for Chalcedon, their intellectual acumen and higher learning, the spiritual authority of the Roman church and the Papacy to mobilize the battle and win the war against the last of the great Christological controversies to confront the church." It was regarded as mandatory of a pope-elect to seek the confirmation of his appointment from Constantinople before consecration resulting in lengthy delays, due to the difficulty of travel, the Byzantine bureaucracy, the whims of the emperors.
Disputes were theological. When Greek Pope Theodor
Pope Anicetus was the Bishop of Rome from c. 157 to his death in 168. According to the Annuario Pontificio, the start of his papacy may have been 153. Anicetus opposed Gnosticism and Marcionism, he welcomed Polycarp of Smyrna to Rome, to discuss the controversy over the date for the celebration of Easter. His name is Greek for unconquered. According to the Liber Pontificalis, Anicetus was a Syrian from the city of Emesa. According to St. Irenaeus, it was during his pontificate that the aged Polycarp of Smyrna, a disciple of St. John the Evangelist, visited Rome to discuss the celebration of Passover with Anicetus. Polycarp and his Church of Smyrna celebrated the crucifixion on the fourteenth day of Nisan, which coincides with Pesach regardless of which day of the week upon this date fell, while the Roman Church celebrated the Pasch on Sunday—the weekday of Jesus's resurrection; the two did not agree on a common date, but St. Anicetus conceded to St. Polycarp and the Church of Smyrna the ability to retain the date to which they were accustomed.
The controversy was to grow heated in the following centuries. The Christian historian Hegesippus visited Rome during Anicetus's pontificate; this visit is cited as a sign of the early importance of the Roman See. St. Anicetus opposed the Gnostics and Marcionism; the Liber Pontificalis records that St. Anicetus decreed that priests are not allowed to have long hair. According to Church Tradition, St. Anicetus suffered martyrdom during the reign of the Roman Co-Emperor Lucius Verus, but there are no historical grounds for this account. 16, 17 and 20 April are all cited as the date of his death, but 20 April is celebrated as his feast day. Before 1970, the date chosen was 17 April; the Liber Pontificalis states. List of popes Quartodeciman Campbell, Thomas Joseph. "Pope St. Anicetus". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Duff, Eamon. Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes, Yale University Press, 2001, p. 13. ISBN 0-300-09165-6 Maxwell-Stuart, P. G. Chronicle of the Popes: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Papacy from St. Peter to the Present, Thames & Hudson, 2002, p. 19.
ISBN 0-500-01798-0. Anicetus in the Ecumenical Lexicon of Saints Collected works of Migne Patrologia Latina
Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I known as Saint Gregory the Great, was Pope of the Catholic Church from 3 September 590 to 12 March 604 AD. He is famous for instigating the first recorded large-scale mission from Rome, the Gregorian Mission, to convert the then-pagan Anglo-Saxons in England to Christianity. Gregory is well known for his writings, which were more prolific than those of any of his predecessors as Pope; the epithet Saint Gregory the Dialogist has been attached to him in Eastern Christianity because of his Dialogues. English translations of Eastern texts sometimes list him as Gregory "Dialogos", or the Anglo-Latinate equivalent "Dialogus". A Roman senator's son and himself the Prefect of Rome at 30, Gregory tried the monastery but soon returned to active public life, ending his life and the century as pope. Although he was the first pope from a monastic background, his prior political experiences may have helped him to be a talented administrator, who established papal supremacy. During his papacy, he surpassed with his administration the emperors in improving the welfare of the people of Rome, he challenged the theological views of Patriarch Eutychius of Constantinople before the emperor Tiberius II.
Gregory sent missionaries to England. The realignment of barbarian allegiance to Rome from their Arian Christian alliances shaped medieval Europe. Gregory saw Franks and Visigoths align with Rome in religion, he combated against the Donatist heresy, popular in North Africa at the time. Throughout the Middle Ages, he was known as "the Father of Christian Worship" because of his exceptional efforts in revising the Roman worship of his day, his contributions to the development of the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, still in use in the Byzantine Rite, were so significant that he is recognized as its de facto author. Gregory is one of the Latin Fathers, he is considered a saint in the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Anglican Communion, some Lutheran denominations. After his death, Gregory was canonized by popular acclaim; the Protestant reformer John Calvin admired Gregory and declared in his Institutes that Gregory was the last good Pope. He is the patron saint of musicians, singers and teachers.
The exact date of Gregory's birth is uncertain, but is estimated to be around the year 540, in the city of Rome. His parents named him Gregorius, which according to Ælfric of Abingdon in An Homily on the Birth-Day of S. Gregory, "... is a Greek Name, which signifies in the Latin Tongue, in English, Watchful...." The medieval writer who provided this etymology did not hesitate to apply it to the life of Gregory. Ælfric states, "He was diligent in God's Commandments."Gregory was born into a wealthy patrician Roman family with close connections to the church. His father, who served as a senator and for a time was the Prefect of the City of Rome held the position of Regionarius in the church, though nothing further is known about that position. Gregory's mother, was well-born, had a married sister, Pateria, in Sicily, his mother and two paternal aunts are honored by Orthodox churches as saints. Gregory's great-great-grandfather had been Pope Felix III, the nominee of the Gothic king, Theodoric. Gregory's election to the throne of St Peter made his family the most distinguished clerical dynasty of the period.
The family owned and resided in a villa suburbana on the Caelian Hill, fronting the same street as the former palaces of the Roman emperors on the Palatine Hill opposite. The north of the street runs into the Colosseum. In Gregory's day the ancient buildings were in ruins and were owned. Villas covered the area. Gregory's family owned working estates in Sicily and around Rome. Gregory had portraits done in fresco in their former home on the Caelian and these were described 300 years by John the Deacon. Gordianus was tall with light eyes, he wore a beard. Silvia was tall, had a round face, blue eyes and a cheerful look, they had another son whose fate are unknown. Gregory was born into a period of upheaval in Italy. From 542 the so-called Plague of Justinian swept through the provinces of the empire, including Italy; the plague caused famine and sometimes rioting. In some parts of the country, over 1/3 of the population was wiped out or destroyed, with heavy spiritual and emotional effects on the people of the Empire.
Politically, although the Western Roman Empire had long since vanished in favour of the Gothic kings of Italy, during the 540s Italy was retaken from the Goths by Justinian I, emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire ruling from Constantinople. As the fighting was in the north, the young Gregory saw little of it. Totila sacked and vacated Rome in 546, destroying most of its population, but in 549 he invited those who were still alive to return to the empty and ruined streets, it has been hypothesized that young Gregory and his parents retired during that intermission to their Sicilian estates, to return in 549. The war was over in Rome by 552, a subsequent invasion of the Franks was defeated in 554. After that, there was peace in Italy, the appearance of restoration, except that the central government now resided in Constantinople. Like most young men of his position in Roman society, Saint Gregory was well educated, learning grammar, the sciences and law, excelling in all. Gregory of Tours reported that "in grammar and rhetoric... he was second to none...."
St. Peter's Basilica
The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, or St. Peter's Basilica, is an Italian Renaissance church in Vatican City, the papal enclave within the city of Rome. Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter's is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world. While it is neither the mother church of the Catholic Church nor the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, St. Peter's is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic shrines, it has been described as "holding a unique position in the Christian world" and as "the greatest of all churches of Christendom". Catholic tradition holds that the Basilica is the burial site of Saint Peter, chief among Jesus's Apostles and the first Bishop of Rome. Saint Peter's tomb is directly below the high altar of the Basilica. For this reason, many Popes have been interred at St. Peter's since the Early Christian period, there has been a church on this site since the time of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great.
Construction of the present basilica, which would replace Old St. Peter's Basilica from the 4th century AD, began on 18 April 1506 and was completed on 18 November 1626. St. Peter's is famous for its liturgical functions; the Pope presides at a number of liturgies throughout the year, drawing audiences of 15,000 to over 80,000 people, either within the Basilica or the adjoining St. Peter's Square. St. Peter's has many historical associations, with the Early Christian Church, the Papacy, the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-reformation and numerous artists Michelangelo; as a work of architecture, it is regarded as the greatest building of its age. St. Peter's is one of the four churches in the world that hold the rank of Major Basilica, all four of which are in Rome. Contrary to popular misconception, it is not a cathedral. St. Peter's is a church built in the Renaissance style located in the Vatican City west of the River Tiber and near the Janiculum Hill and Hadrian's Mausoleum, its central dome dominates the skyline of Rome.
The basilica is approached via St. Peter's Square, a forecourt in two sections, both surrounded by tall colonnades; the first space is the second trapezoid. The façade of the basilica, with a giant order of columns, stretches across the end of the square and is approached by steps on which stand two 5.55 metres statues of the 1st-century apostles to Rome, Saints Peter and Paul. The basilica is cruciform in shape, with an elongated nave in the Latin cross form but the early designs were for a centrally planned structure and this is still in evidence in the architecture; the central space is dominated both externally and internally by one of the largest domes in the world. The entrance is through entrance hall, which stretches across the building. One of the decorated bronze doors leading from the narthex is the Holy Door, only opened during jubilees; the interior is of vast dimensions. One author wrote: "Only does it dawn upon us – as we watch people draw near to this or that monument, strangely they appear to shrink.
This in its turn overwhelms us."The nave which leads to the central dome is in three bays, with piers supporting a barrel-vault, the highest of any church. The nave is framed by wide aisles. There are chapels surrounding the dome. Moving around the basilica in a clockwise direction they are: The Baptistery, the Chapel of the Presentation of the Virgin, the larger Choir Chapel, the altar of the Transfiguration, the Clementine Chapel with the altar of Saint Gregory, the Sacristy Entrance, the Altar of the Lie, the left transept with altars to the Crucifixion of Saint Peter, Saint Joseph and Saint Thomas, the altar of the Sacred Heart, the Chapel of the Madonna of Column, the altar of Saint Peter and the Paralytic, the apse with the Chair of Saint Peter, the altar of Saint Peter raising Tabitha, the altar of St. Petronilla, the altar of the Archangel Michael, the altar of the Navicella, the right transept with altars of Saint Erasmus, Saints Processo and Martiniano, Saint Wenceslas, the altar of St. Jerome, the altar of Saint Basil, the Gregorian Chapel with the altar of the Madonna of Succour, the larger Chapel of the Holy Sacrament, the Chapel of Saint Sebastian and the Chapel of the Pietà.
At the heart of the basilica, beneath the high altar, is the Confessio or Chapel of the Confession, in reference to the confession of faith by St. Peter, which led to his martyrdom. Two curving marble staircases lead to this underground chapel at the level of the Constantinian church and above the purported burial place of Saint Peter; the entire interior of St. Peter's is lavishly decorated with marble, architectural sculpture and gilding; the basilica contains a large number of tombs of popes and other notable people, many of which are considered outstanding artworks. There are a number of sculptures in niches and chapels, including Michelangelo's Pietà; the central feature is a baldachin, or canopy over the Papal Altar, designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The apse culminates in a sculptural ensemble by Bernini, containing the symbolic Chair of Saint Peter. One observer wrote: "St Peter's Basilica is the reason why Rome is still the center of the civilized world. For religious and architectural reasons it by itself justifies a journey to Rome, its interior offers a palimpsest of artistic styles at the
Pope Boniface IV
Pope Boniface IV was Pope from 25 September 608 to his death in 615. He is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church with a universal feast falling annually on 8 May. Boniface had served as a deacon under Pope Gregory I, like his mentor had made his house into a monastery; as Pope, he encouraged monks and monasticism. With permission of the Emperor, he converted the Pantheon into the Church of St. Mary and the Martyrs. In 610, he conferred with Mellitus, first bishop of London, regarding the needs of the English Church. Boniface was born in, his family was of Marsi origins according to the Liber Pontificalis. At the time of Pope Gregory I, he was a deacon of the Roman Church and held the position of dispensator, that is, the first official in connection with the administration of the patrimonies, he succeeded Boniface III after a vacancy of over nine months, awaiting confirmation from Constantinople. He was consecrated on either 25 August or 15 September in 608. Boniface obtained leave from the Byzantine Emperor Phocas to convert the Pantheon in Rome into a Christian church, on 13 May 609, the temple erected by Agrippa to Jupiter the Avenger and Mars was consecrated by the pope to the Virgin Mary and all the Martyrs.
It was the first instance at Rome of the transformation of a pagan temple into a place of Christian worship. Twenty-eight cartloads of sacred bones were said to have been removed from the Catacombs and placed in a porphyry basin beneath the high altar. In 610, the first Bishop of London, went to Rome "to consult the pope on important matters relative to the newly established English Church". While in Rome he assisted at a synod being held concerning certain questions on "the life and monastic peace of monks", and, on his departure, took with him to England the decree of the council together with letters from the pope to Lawrence, Archbishop of Canterbury, to all the clergy, to King Æthelberht of Kent, to all the English people in general; the decrees of the council now extant are spurious. The letter to Æthelberht is considered spurious by Hefele, questionable by Haddan and Stubbs, genuine by Jaffé. Between 612 and 615, the Irish missionary Columbanus living at Bobbio in Italy, was persuaded by Agilulf, King of the Lombards, to address a letter on the condemnation of the "Three Chapters" to Boniface IV.
He tells the pope that he is suspect of heresy for accepting the Fifth Ecumenical Council, exhorts him to summon a council and prove his orthodoxy. There is no record of a rejoinder from Boniface. Boniface had converted his own house into a monastery, where he died, he was buried in the portico of St. Peter's Basilica, his remains were three times removed — in the tenth or eleventh century, at the close of the thirteenth under Boniface VIII, to the new St. Peter's on 21 October 1603. Boniface IV is commemorated as a saint in the Roman Martyrology on 8 May. List of popes Bede. Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum. Mula, Stefano. Muhammad and the Saints: The History of the Prophet in the Golden Legend; the University of Chicago Press. P. 178. Retrieved 17 December 2014. Hefele, Karl Joseph von. Conciliengeschichte. III. Freiburg im Breisgau Herder. P. 66. William of Malmesbury. Gesta Pontificum Anglorum. I. Migne. P. 1465. Attribution: This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Oestreich, Thomas.
"Pope Boniface IV". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. 2. New York: Robert Appleton. Endnotes: Duchesne, Louis. Liber Pontificalis. 1. P. 317. Gasquet, Francis Aidan. A Short History of the Catholic Church in England. P. 19. Gregorovius, Ferdinand, II, 104 Hunt, William; the English Church from Its Foundation to the Norman Conquest. 1. London & New York: Macmillan and Co. p. 42. Jaffé, Philipp. Regesta Pontificum Romanorum ab condita ecclesia ad annum 1198. I. Leipsic. P. 220. Langen, Joseph. Geschichte der Römischen Kirche. 2. P. 501. Mann, Horace K.. The lives of the popes in the early middle ages: The popes under the Lombard rule: St. Gregory I to Leo III, 590-795. I:1. Pp. 268-279. Mansi, Gian Domenico. Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio. X. p. 501. Paul the Deacon. "Book III: Chapter IV". History of the Lombards. Translated by Foulke, William Dudley. University of Pennsylvania. Pp. 36–37. Reumont, Alfred von. Geschichte der Stadt Rom. II. Berlin. Pp. 156, 165. Biography from CFPeople.org Saints. SQPN: Boniface IV Santiebeati: Boniface IV
Excommunication is an institutional act of religious censure used to deprive, suspend, or limit membership in a religious community or to restrict certain rights within it, in particular receiving of the sacraments. The term is historically used to refer to excommunications from the Catholic Church, but it is used more to refer to similar types of institutional religious exclusionary practices and shunning among other religious groups. For instance, many Protestant denominations, such as the Lutheran Churches, have similar practices of excusing congregants from church communities, while Jehovah's Witnesses, as well as the Churches of Christ, use the term "disfellowship" to refer to their form of excommunication; the Amish have been known to excommunicate members that were either seen or known for breaking rules, or questioning the church. The word excommunication means putting a specific group out of communion. In some denominations, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the group.
Excommunication may involve banishment and shaming, depending on the group, the offense that caused excommunication, or the rules or norms of the religious community. The grave act is revoked in response to sincere penance, which may be manifested through public recantation, sometimes through the Sacrament of Confession, piety or through mortification of the flesh. Within the Catholic Church, there are differences between the discipline of the majority Latin Church regarding excommunication and that of the Eastern Catholic Churches. In Latin Catholic canon law, excommunication is a applied censure and thus a "medicinal penalty" intended to invite the person to change behaviour or attitude and return to full communion, it is not an "expiatory penalty" designed to make satisfaction for the wrong done, much less a "vindictive penalty" designed to punish: "excommunication, the gravest penalty of all and the most frequent, is always medicinal", is "not at all vindictive". Excommunication can be either latae ferendae sententiae.
According to Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki, "excommunication does not expel the person from the Catholic Church, but forbids the excommunicated person from engaging in certain activities..." These activities are listed in Canon 1331 §1, prohibit the individual from any ministerial participation in celebrating the sacrifice of the Eucharist or any other ceremonies of worship. Under current Catholic canon law, excommunicates remain bound by ecclesiastical obligations such as attending Mass though they are barred from receiving the Eucharist and from taking an active part in the liturgy. "Excommunicates lose rights, such as the right to the sacraments, but they are still bound to the obligations of the law. They are urged to retain a relationship with the Church, as the goal is to encourage them to repent and return to active participation in its life; these are the only effects for those. For instance, a priest may not refuse Communion publicly to those who are under an automatic excommunication, as long as it has not been declared to have been incurred by them if the priest knows that they have incurred it.
On the other hand, if the priest knows that excommunication has been imposed on someone or that an automatic excommunication has been declared, he is forbidden to administer Holy Communion to that person.. In the Catholic Church, excommunication is resolved by a declaration of repentance, profession of the Creed and an Act of Faith, or renewal of obedience by the excommunicated person and the lifting of the censure by a priest or bishop empowered to do this. "The absolution can be in the internal forum only, or in the external forum, depending on whether scandal would be given if a person were absolved and yet publicly considered unrepentant." Since excommunication excludes from reception of the sacraments, absolution from excommunication is required before absolution can be given from the sin that led to the censure. In many cases, the whole process takes place on a single occasion in the privacy of the confessional. For some more serious wrongdoings, absolution from excommunication is reserved to a bishop, another ordinary, or the Pope.
These can delegate a priest to act on their behalf. Interdict is a censure similar to excommunication, it too excludes from ministerial functions in public worship and from reception of the sacraments, but not from the exercise of governance. In the Eastern Catholic Churches, excommunications is imposed only by decree, never incurred automatically by latae sententiae excommunication. A distinction is made between major excommunication; those on whom minor excommunication has been imposed are excluded from receiving the Eucharist and can be excluded from participating in the Divine Liturgy. They can be excluded from entering a church when divine worship is being celebrated there; the decree of excommunication must indicate the precise effect of the excommunication and, if required, its duration. Those under major excommunication