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 often historically used to refer specifically to excommunications from the Catholic Church, but it is also used more generally 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 also 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 individual or group out of communion. In some denominations, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group. Excommunication may involve banishment, shunning, and shaming, depending on the group, the offense that caused excommunication, or the rules or norms of the religious community. The grave act is often 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.

In Matthew 18:15-17 Jesus says that an offended person should first draw the offender's fault to the offender's attention privately; then, if the offender refuses to listen, bring one or two others, that there may be more than a single witness to the charge; next, if the offender still refuses to listen, bring the matter before the church, and if the offender refuses to listen to the church, treat the offender as "a Gentile and a tax collector".

1 Corinthians 5:1-8 directs the church at Corinth to excommunicate a man for sexual immorality (incest). In 2 Corinthians 2:5-11, the man, having repented and suffered the "punishment by the majority" is restored to the church. Fornication is not the only ground for excommunication, according to the apostle: in 5:11, Paul says, "I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler - not even to eat with such a one."

In Romans 16:17, Paul writes to "mark those who cause divisions contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned and avoid them." Also, in 2 John 1:10-11, the writer advises believers that "whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house , neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

Within the Catholic Church, there are differences between the discipline of the majority Latin Church regarding excommunication and that of the Eastern Catholic Churches.

This page was last edited on 24 May 2018, at 07:10.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excommunication under CC BY-SA license.

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