Deliver Such an One unto Satan

Scripsi in epistola: Ne commisceamini fornicariis: non utique fornicariis hujus mundi, aut avaris, aut rapacibus, aut idolis servientibus: alioquin debueratis de hoc mundo exiisse. Nunc autem scripsi vobis non commisceri: si is qui frater nominatur, est fornicator, aut avarus, aut idolis serviens, aut maledicus, aut ebriosus, aut rapax, cum ejusmodi nec cibum sumere. Quid enim mihi de iis qui foris sunt, judicare? nonne de iis qui intus sunt, vos judicatis? nam eos qui foris sunt, Deus judicabit. Auferte malum ex vobis ipsis.

1. Cor. v. 9-13.

Because N., at the suggestion of the devil, disregarding through apostasy the Christian promise which he made in baptism, does not fear to lay waste the Church of God, to plunder the Church’s goods, and violently to oppress Christ’s poor; therefore we, anxious, lest he perish through pastoral neglect, for which we may have to give account at the tremendous judgment before the Chief Shepherd our Lord Jesus Christ, according to the terrible threat which our Lord himself utters: If thou shalt not have announced to the unrighteous his unrighteousness, his blood will I require at thy hand; we admonish him canonically, for the first, second, third, and also the fourth time to convince him of his wickedness, inviting him to amendment, satisfaction, and penance, and taking hold of him with paternal affection. But he himself, Oh sorrow! spurning wholesome admonitions, puffed up with a spirit of pride, disdains to make satisfaction to the Church of God, which he has injured. Well are we informed by the teachings of the Lord and of his apostles, what we ought to do in respect to prevaricators of this sort. For the Lord says: If thy hand or thy foot cause thee to offend, cut it off, and cast it from thee. And the apostle says: Take away the evil one from among you. And again: If he, who is called a brother, is a fornicator, or covetous, or a server of idols, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, with such a one not so much as to eat. And John, best-beloved disciple of Christ, forbids to salute such an impious man, saying: Receive him not into the house, nor say to him, God save you. For he that saith to him, God save you, communicateth with his wicked works. Therefore fulfilling the precepts of the Lord and of his apostles, we cut off from the body of the Church with the sword of excommunication a rotten limb, that can not be healed, that does not bear medicine, lest the remaining limbs of the body be infected with so deadly a disease as with poison. Therefore because he has despised our admonitions and frequent exhortations, because, having been for the third time, according to the Lord’s precept, called, he has disdained to come to amendment and penance, because he has neither considered his own fault, nor confessed it, nor by sending an embassy alleged any excuse, nor asked forgiveness, but, the devil hardening his heart, perseveres in the wickedness begun, as the apostle says: According to his own hardness and impenitent heart he treasures up to himself wrath against the day of wrath: therefore, by the judgment of Almighty God, Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit, and of blessed Peter the prince of the apostles, and of all the Saints, also by the authority of our own mediocrity, and by the power, divinely placed in us, of binding and loosing in heaven and in earth, we do separate him, with all his accomplices and favorers, from the perception of the precious Body and Blood of the Lord, and from the fellowship of all Christians, and we exclude him from the limits of holy mother Church in heaven and in earth, and we pronounce him to be excommunicated and anathematized; and we adjudge him condemned with the devil and his angels and all the reprobate to eternal fire: until he may recover himself from the snares of the devil, and return to amendment and penance, and make satisfaction to the Church, which he has injured: delivering him to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of judgment.

And all answer, “Be it done, be it done, be it done.”

When this is done, both the pontiff and the priests ought to throw down to the ground the burning candles which they hold in their hands. Then let a letter be sent to the priests through the parishes, and also to neighboring bishops, containing the excommunicate’s name and the cause of excommunication.

— Roman Pontifical, Ordo excommunicandi et absolvendi.

Author: Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organised the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Personal queries should be directed to me at eccentricbliss dot com.

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