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Vernalee wrote:

Hi, guys —

Sorry if my question isn't welcome here, but I don't know who else to ask.

  • If I write my bishop to get excommunicated, [can he/will he] tell my family?
  • What about my priest?

I've been a comfortable non-Christian for many years now, but I don't wish to break my family's hearts, and I know I'll still be going to church with them often as well as during the holidays. My church is also rather small, where people know each other, and I wouldn't want people to recognize me as an outsider (or to see the priest watching me from across the room).

I simply no longer want to be included in the numbers.

If anyone can answer me, I thank you immensely.


  { Since I don't wish to be included, if I ask my bishop to excommunicated me, can he tell my family? }

Eric replied:

Vernalee —

No, even if the bishop knew your family, he wouldn't tell them.

I'm not sure why you are bothering to write your bishop to get excommunicated; you are already excommunicated under Canon 1364.

Canon 1364 §1. Without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ Canon 194, §1, n. 2, an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication; in addition, a cleric can be punished with the penalties mentioned in ⇒ Canon 1336, §1, nn. 1, 2, and 3.

§2. If contumacy of long duration or the gravity of scandal demands it, other penalties can be added, including dismissal from the clerical state.

There is not much of a point in writing the bishop. There is nothing more he can do to excommunicate you. There is even a serious risk that he might pray for you and you may end up converting back to Catholicism.

  • You wouldn't want that, would you?


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