1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Excommunication

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by Kungfuzed, Jul 12, 2006.

  1. Kungfuzed

    Kungfuzed Student Nurse

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Messages:
    1,995
    Ratings:
    +278
    Does your religion practice excommunication? If so, what types of things do people get ex'ed for? Is there a trial? What do you think people should get permanently kicked out of church for?
     
  2. Bishka

    Bishka Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2005
    Messages:
    18,945
    Ratings:
    +1,494
    Yes. I'm not quite sure, since I've never been a bishop and don't know the rules.

    Yes, there is a trial of sorts.

    I know Kathryn, Jonny and Bryce would be able to answer this so much better for you. (From and LDS standpoint)
     
  3. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Messages:
    4,416
    Ratings:
    +656
    Yes, but excommunication in the Orthodox Church is rarely, if ever, permanent. It means exactly what the name suggests, being excluded from communion. This is almost always a temporary thing to prevent the person from taking communion unworthily rather than an exclusion from the Church forever. We do have a stronger and more permanent form of excommunication called an anathema but even this can be repented of and then the person can return to the communion. The only thing, then, that would result in a permanent exclusion would be a wilfull and unrepentant attitude of continuing serious sin and/or (more likely) heresy.

    James
     
  4. Linus

    Linus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2004
    Messages:
    1,211
    Ratings:
    +132
    I guess you could call it that. We usually refer to it as "dis-fellowshipping" or "withdrawing." And it only occurs if a member of the church is living in sin, recognizes it, and refuses to give up (or try to give up) the lifestyle.

    Any ongoing sin that the member refuses to take corrective action against. Like I said, if that person is commitinga sin, and is made aware of what he'she is doing but refuses to try and make a change, the would most likely be "kicked out."

    Not really in any formal sort of way. Usually the members will be informed about it and try to encourage the sinner to give up their persistent sin. We would rather see someone return to God than be withdrawn from us.

    Well with the church of which I am a member, they aren't "kicked out" permanently. They can return the momentthey decide to change their lives. But if no change is attempted to be made, then they are not allowed to worship with us. As for what they would be kicked out for... I would say that it would be pretty much any sin: constant lieing, stealing, murder, fornication, you name it, really.

    Don't get me wrong. People make mistakes. It's not like you tell a lie, someone else finds out about it, and then you are kicked out. But if you had a habit of lieing and you realized it but absolutely refused to even attempt to do anything about it, you would be likely to be around much longer. Man that sounds harsh...

    hope that helped
     
  5. Mr. Hair

    Mr. Hair Renegade Cavalcade

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2006
    Messages:
    413
    Ratings:
    +112
    No, among other things there's nothing to be excommunicated from and no one to do the excommunicating.
     
  6. BruceDLimber

    BruceDLimber Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2005
    Messages:
    5,175
    Ratings:
    +222
    Baha'is don't call it "excommunication," but an individual can be expelled for attempting to overturn the Baha'i administrative system set up in our scriptures and attempting to set himself up as "the" authority on what the Baha'i Faith does and does not teach. We call this covenant-breaking, and it is fortunately extremely rare! Also, a person can only be so termed by out world-level supreme elected administrative body, NOT by any other individual or group.

    Peace,

    Bruce
     
  7. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2004
    Messages:
    28,675
    Ratings:
    +2,659
    Sorry about the length...................

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excommunication

    Excommunication is a religious censure which is used to deprive or suspend membership in a religious community. The word literally means out of communion, or no longer in communion. In some churches, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the subject member or group. Censures and sanctions sometimes follow excommunication such as banishment, shunning or shaming depending on the group's religion, its religious community or, its broader religious community. This article studies excommunication and spiritual condemnation often associated with excommunication, but not the religious censures and sanctions that follow excommunication.

    Roman Catholic Church

    Excommunication is the most serious ecclesiastical penalty for Roman Catholics. While under censure, the excommunicate is barred from participating in the Church's communal life. The outward sign of this loss of community involves a prohibition of the person participating in liturgy, i.e., receiving the Eucharist or the other Sacraments. Certain other rights and privileges normally resulting from membership in the church are revoked, such as holding ecclesiastical office. Excommunication is intended to be a "medicinal" penalty intended to seriously motivate the offender to repent. In the Roman Catholic Church excommunication is usually terminated by repentance, confession, an act of profession of the Creed, and then absolution. Offenses which incur excommunication must be absolved by a local ordinary (bishop or vicar general) or a priest whom the local ordinary designates. According to The Catholic Encyclopedia, the excommunicant is still considered Christian as the "baptismal watermark" is held to be indelible.
    The Roman Catholic Church has an extensive history of the uses of excommunication, especially during the Middle Ages. Popes and archbishops used excommunication as a weapon against high ranking officials and kings who fell out of favor with the Catholic Church. Perceived abuse of this power, along with some other factors, led to the rise of the Protestant Reformation. With the rise of the idea of separation of church and state excommunication no longer has any civil effect.

    Eastern Orthodox Communion

    In the Orthodox Church, excommunication is the exclusion of a member from the Eucharist. It is not expulsion from the Church. This can happen due to minor reasons like not having confessed within that year or be imposed as part of a penitential period. It is generally done with the goal of eventually restoring the member to full communion. The Orthodox Church does have a means of expulsion, by pronouncing anathema, but this is reserved only for acts of serious and unrepentant heresy. Even in that case, the individual is not "damned" by the Church but is instead left to his own devices. But, according to some theological sects, the person who receives anathema by the Church, is condemned to Hell and will be unable to rot in their grave.

    Anglican Communion

    [edit]

    Church of England

    The Church of England does not have any specific canons regarding how or why a member can be excommunicated, though there are canons regarding how those who have been excommunicated are to be treated by the church. Excommunication is seen as an extreme measure, and very rarely used. For example, a clergyman was excommunicated in 1909 for having murdered four parishioners
    [edit]

    Episcopal Church of the USA

    The ECUSA is, of this writing, in the Anglican Communion, and shares many canons with the Church of England which would determine its policy on excommunication. No central records are kept regarding excommunications, since they happen so rarely. In May 2000, a man was excommunicated for "continued efforts to attack this parish and its members" who had been publishing highly critical remarks about the church and some of its members in a tiny local paper, many of them about the pro-homosexual stance the church had taken.
    [edit]

    Calvin's view on excommunication

    In John Calvin's Institutes of The Christian Religion, he said (4.12.10):
    For when our Saviour promises that what his servants bound on earth should be bound in heaven, (Matthew 18: 18), he confines the power of binding to the censure of the Church, which does not consign those who are excommunicated to perpetual ruin and damnation, but assures them, when they hear their life and manners condemned, that perpetual damnation will follow if they do not repent. [Excommunication] rebukes and animadverts upon his manners; and although it ... punishes, it is to bring him to salvation, by forewarning him of his future doom. If it succeeds, reconciliation and restoration to communion are ready to be given. ... Hence, though ecclesiastical discipline does not allow us to be on familiar and intimate terms with excommunicated persons, still we ought to strive by all possible means to bring them to a better mind, and recover them to the fellowship and unity of the Church: as the apostle also says, "Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother" (2 Thessalonians 3: 15). If this humanity be not observed in private as well as public, the danger is, that our discipline shall degenerate into destruction. Some Reformed churches today do not make use of excommunication (or church discipline in its lesser forms), though it is often still required by their constitutions.
    [edit]
     
  8. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2004
    Messages:
    28,675
    Ratings:
    +2,659
    Part2
    Anabaptist tradition

    When believers were baptized and taken into membership of the church by Anabaptists, it was not only done as symbol of cleansing of sin but was also done as a public commitment to identify with Jesus Christ and to conform one's life to the teaching and example of Jesus as understood by the church. Practically, that meant membership in the church entailed a commitment to try to live according to norms of Christian behavior widely held by the Anabaptist tradition.
    In the ideal, discipline in the Anabaptist tradition requires the church to confront a notoriously erring and unrepentant church member, first directly in a very small circle and, if no resolution is forthcoming, expanding the circle in steps eventually to include the entire church congregation. If the errant member persists without repentance and rejects even the admonition of the congregation, that person is excommunicated or excluded from church membership. Exclusion from the church is recognition by the congregation that this person has separated himself or herself from the church by way of his or her visible and unrepentant sin. This is done ostensibly as a final resort to protect the integrity of the church. When this occurs, the church is expected to continue to pray for the excluded member and to seek to restore him or her to its fellowship. There was originally no inherent expectation to shun (completely sever all ties with) an excluded member, however differences regarding this very issue led to early schisms between different Anabaptist leaders and those who followed them.
    [edit]

    Amish

    Jakob Ammann, founder of the Amish sect, believed that the shunning of those under the Bann should be systematically practiced among the Swiss Anabaptists as it was in the north and as was outlined in the Dordrecht Confession. Ammann's uncompromising zeal regarding this practice was one of the main disputes that led to the schism between the Anabaptist groups that became the Amish and those that eventually would be called Mennonite. Recently more moderate Amish groups have become less strict in their application of excommunication as a discipline. This has lead to splits in several communities, an example of which is the Swartzedruber Amish who split from the main body of Old Order Amish because of the latter's practice of lifting the ban from members who later join other churches. In general, the Amish will excommunicate baptized members for failure to abide by their Ordnung as it is interpreted by the local Bishop if certain repeat violations of the Ordnung occur.
    Excommunication among the Old Order Amish results in shunning or the Meidung, the severity of which depends on many factors, such as the family, the local community as well as the type of Amish. Some Amish communities cease shunning after one year if the person joins another church later on, especially if it is another Mennonite church. At the most severe, other members of the congregation are prohibited almost all contact with an excommunicated member including social and business ties between the excommunicant and the congregation, sometimes even marital contact between the excommunicant and spouse remaining in the congregation or family contact between adult children and parents.
    [edit]

    Mennonites

    In the Mennonite Church excommunication is rare and is carried out only after many attempts at reconciliation and on someone who is flagrantly and repeatedly violating standards of behavior that the church expects. Occasionally excommunication is also carried against those who repeatedly question the church's behavior and/or who genuinely differ with the church's theology as well, although in almost all cases the dissenter will leave the church before any discipline need be invoked. In either case, the church will attempt reconciliation with member in private, first one on one and then with a few church leaders. Only if the church's reconciliation attempts are unsuccessful, the congregation formally revokes church membership. Members of the church generally pray for the excluded member.
    Some regional conferences (the Mennonite counterpart to dioceses of other denominations) of the Mennonite Church have acted to expel member congregations that have openly welcomed non-celibate homosexuals as members. This internal conflict regarding homosexuality has also been an issue for other moderate denominations, such as the American Baptists and Methodists.
    The practice among Old Order Mennonite congregations is more along the lines of Amish, but perhaps less severe typically. An Old Order member who disobeys the Ordnung (church regulations) must meet with the leaders of the church. If a church regulation is broken a second time there is a confession in the church. Those who refuse to confess are excommunicated. However upon later confession, the church member will be reinstated. An excommunicated member is placed under the ban. This person is not banned from eating with their own family. Excommunicated persons can still have business dealings with church members and can maintain marital relations with a marriage partner, who remains a church member.
    [edit]

    Hutterites

    The separatist, communal, and self-contained Hutterites also use excommunication and shunning as form of church discipline. Since Hutterites have communal ownership of goods, the effects of excommunication could impose a hardship upon the excluded member and family leaving them without employment income and material assets such as a home. However, often arrangements are made to provide material benefits to the family leaving the colony such as an automobile and some transition funds for rent, etc. One Hutterite colony in Manitoba, Canada had a protracted dispute when leaders attempted to force the departure of a group that had been excommunicated but would not leave. About a dozen lawsuits in both Canada and the United States were filed between the various Hutterite factions and colonies concerning excommunication, shunning, the legitimacy of leadership, communal property rights, and fair division of communal property when factions have separated.
    [edit]
     
  9. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2004
    Messages:
    28,675
    Ratings:
    +2,659
    Pt 3
    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ("LDS Church"; see also Mormon) practices excommunication (as well as the lesser sanctions of disfellowshipping and probation) as penalties for those who commit serious sins.
    The decision to excommunicate a Melchizedek Priesthood holder is generally the province of the leadership of a Stake, which consists of several local wards. Excommunications occur only after a formal "church disciplinary council" (what was once called a "church court;" the change was apparently meant to avoid talking about guilt and instead focus on repentance).
    The procedure followed by a church disciplinary council is described in church handbooks and the Doctrine and Covenants Covenant 102:9-18. For a regular member, the bishop (leader of the ward) determines whether excommunication is needed. He does this in consultation with his two counselors, but there is no vote: the bishop makes the determination in a spirit of prayer. That decision is appealable to the stake leadership.
    A Melchizedek Priesthood holder, however, starts at the stake level. There, the stake presidency and Stake High Council handle matters. Six of the twelve members of the high council are assigned to represent the member in question to "prevent insult or injustice." The member is invited to attend, but the council can go forward without him. Again, the members of the high council consult with the stake president, but the decision about which discipline is necessary is the stake president's alone. Officially, it is possible to appeal this decision to the Church's world leaders.
    Additionally, the Church is led by a President, two counselors, and a Council of Twelve Apostles. If one of the Church's world leaders (including these fifteen) is accused of sin, this presidency takes the place of the stake president, and the apostles take the place of the stake high council. That decision is unappealable.
    Those who are excommunicated lose the right to take the sacrament and lose their church membership. Notices of excommunication may be made public--especially in cases of apostasy, where members could be misled--but the specific reasons for individual excommunications are typically kept confidential.
    Persons who have been excommunicated are welcome and encouraged to attend church meetings, but cannot participate in the meetings, cannot enter LDS temples, or wear temple garments. Excommunicated members may be re-baptized after a waiting period and sincere repentance, as judged by a series of interviews with church leaders.
    Excommunication is generally reserved for what are seen as the most serious sins, including committing serious crimes; committing adultery, polygamy, or homosexual conduct; apostasy, teaching false doctrines, or openly criticizing LDS leaders. In most cases, excommunication is a last resort, used only after repeated warnings.
    As a lesser penalty, Latter-day Saints may be disfellowshipped, which does not include a loss of church membership. Once disfellowshipped, persons may not take the sacrament or enter LDS temples, nor may they participate in other church meetings, though disfellowshipped persons may attend most LDS functions and are permitted to wear temple garments. For lesser sins, or in cases where the sinner appears truly repentant, individuals may be put on probation for a time, which means that further sin will result in disfellowshipment or excommunication.
    Some critics have charged that LDS leaders have used the threat of excommunication to silence or punish LDS researchers who disagree with established policy and doctrine, or who study or discuss controversial subjects. A notable case is the so-called September Six.
    However, LDS policy dictates that local leaders are responsible for excommunication, without influence from General Church leadership, arguing this policy is evidence against systematic persecution of scholars. In contrast, some claim that LDS leadership keeps watch on certain apostate groups such as Sunstone and the message boards at exmormon.org and report on speakers (and topics) to their local leaders. Apologists further suggest that some alleged excommunications never take place, or are used as a publicity stunt. They cite the case of Thomas Murphy, who they say only claimed he was threatened with excommunication or other disciplinary action because of his research of how DNA research challenges LDS teachings. (see Archaeology and the Book of Mormon). Recent evidence, such as witnesses at the meeting with the stake president and the letter requesting Murphy's attendance at the court, refute this claim that the disciplinary action was simply a publicity stunt.
    [edit]

    Jehovah's Witnesses

    Main article: Practices of Jehovah's Witnesses
    Jehovah's Witnesses practice something similar to excommunication—using the term "disfellowshipping" —in cases where a member violates requirements as understood by Jehovah's Witnesses.
    When a member confesses or is accused of a disfellowshipping offence a "judicial committee" of three to five local lay clergy called "Elders" is formed. This committee will investigate the case and determine guilt, and if the person is deemed guilty, the committee will determine if the person is repentant. Repentance is completely based upon evidence of repentance, which includes the attitude of being sorry and ‘works befitting repentance,’ as referred to in Acts 26:20 and 2 Corinthians 7:11, such as trying to correct the wrong, making apologies to any offended individuals, compliance with earlier committee directives.
    If the person is judged guilty and is deemed unrepentant, he or she will be disfellowshipped. If within 7 days no appeal is made, the disfellowshipping is made formal by an announcement at the next congregation Service meeting. Appeals are granted only if procedural errors are felt to have occurred that may have affected the outcome.
     
  10. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2004
    Messages:
    28,675
    Ratings:
    +2,659
    Pt 4
    Disfellowshipping is a severing of friendly relationships between all members of the Jehovah's Witnesses and the one disfellowshipped. Even family interaction is restricted to the barest of minimums such as presence at the reading of wills and providing essential elder care. The exception is if the disfellowshipped one is a minor and living at home, wherein such cases the parents are allowed to continue to attempt to convince the child of the value of the religion's ways and share in family activities.
    In other cases a member may be deemed to have abandoned the faith through attendance of religious services of other faiths, the expresion of disbelief in the approved doctrine, the acceptance of forbidden medical use of blood, or the acceptance of biological evolution. The resulting action called "disassociation" is said to be the wishes of the person who may or may not have been consulted. Disassociation has the same consequences as disfellowshipping.

    After a period of time, a disfellowshipped person may apply to be reinstated into the congregation. The original judicial committee will meet with him to determine repentance, and if this is established, the person will be reinstated into the congregation, but is prohibited from commenting at meetings or holding any privileges for a period set by the judicial committee. (Or, if the applicant is in a different area, the person will meet with a local judicial committee that will communicate with either the original judicial committee if available or a new one in the original congregation.)
     
  11. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2005
    Messages:
    29,863
    Ratings:
    +5,680
    Religion:
    LDS Christian
    Kungfuzed used to be LDS, Becky, so he actually probably knows about as much about the LDS policies on this subject as any of us.

    Actually, excommunication is not always permanent. My brother-in-law (my sister-in-law's husband) was excommunicated from the LDS Church for adultery. He has since been rebaptized. When he was rebaptized, his temple marriage was even back in force. He and my sister-in-law are still together.
     
  12. Green Gaia

    Green Gaia Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2004
    Messages:
    19,780
    Ratings:
    +1,927
    No... Although I've never heard of it happening, I can imagine there have been instances where someone was asked to leave a congregation because of improper behavior, for example. But again, I don't know of any time that has happened.
     
  13. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Messages:
    18,523
    Ratings:
    +1,380
    It's also worth mentioning that it takes a very long time. There are numerous attempts to work with an individual at every level of the Faith long before anyone gets declared a Covenant Breaker.

    The starting assumption is always that the individual is merely unaware of the meaning of his or her actions and just needs to be directed to whatever relevant Baha'i Writings there are for them to consider and try to understand on their own.
     
  14. Bishka

    Bishka Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2005
    Messages:
    18,945
    Ratings:
    +1,494
    Ahh, didn't know he was.
     
Loading...