can a pope be excommunicated

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Incidentally, don’t assume that every Pope has got the Code of Canon Law committed to memory! Then subsequently he broke that law, by his own action. If you do something that is punishable by a latae sententiae excommunication, but you didn’t know it was punishable by a latae sententiae excommunication, then you are not excommunicated. Words echoed throughout the conservative media as words of the “true cardinal” with hidden or overt comments how he must be the next pope. Why Would a Catholic Cleric Desecrate an Altar? Nobody can be excommunicated unless all the conditions of canon 1323 have been met. [Matthew 12] (If you use Google Chrome, first add a Chrome RSS reader or extension.). Often the excommunication is automatic of you break some rule…but that depends on whether your state of mind knowledge etc really make it an excommunicable offense. Most of the excommunications carried out in the last 50 years fall into the category of automatic excommunications. What Happens When a Religious Who’s Vowed Poverty Becomes a Bishop? To read the Kindle versions of my books, without a Kindle device, get the free cloud reader — or — any of the free Kindle reading apps. The take-away from all of this is that it is very difficult to get excommunicated from the Catholic Church. For very technical reasons which are outside the scope of this piece, theologians and canonists generally hold that such acts by a Pope in this situation would be illicit, yet valid; but all the uncertainty and chaos that this would cause in any event is painfully obvious. Gorgias January 27, 2017, 2:27pm #2. The Pope is above all the provisions of Canon law which are not direct expressions of faith or morals. Can the Pope be excommunicated? In the past Cathy has published articles both in scholarly journals and on various popular Catholic websites, including Real Presence Communications and Catholic Exchange. What is the pastoral approach to something like this? The moral authority is at least 40%. Why is Google hiding the posts on this website in its search results? What Exactly Is Excommunication? So (for example) if this imaginary Pope was being threatened, and committed the offense under duress, then no sanction would be incurred, as per canon 1323 n. 3. Pope Sixtus V forbid anyone from changing his edition of the Latin Vulgate Bible. So if one person does something that leads to automatic excommunication, any accomplices that were necessary to the act and who can have the penalty imposed upon them can also be excommunicated. the Vatican’s 1988 declaration of the excommunication of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Are They Excommunicated? Therefore, Pope Francis cannot be excommunicated. Those guilty ones should be stripped from the cardinalate as well, without any further mercy or delay. Sanctions, Part II. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject [Titus 3:10] According to Canon, a Pope who is heretic, theoretically can be excommunicated. Sanctions, Part II” for more on excommunication and abortion). According to this classification, as a general rule, only the pope can absolve from the first two kinds of excommunication, although his power extends to the others; bishops (ordinaries), but not other priests, can remove excommunications of the third class; finally, those of the fourth class, and those only, can be revoked by any approved priest, without further special delegation. But it cannot be applied to any valid Roman Pontiff, because he cannot commit those sins. Jesus (Lk 22:32) promised that he would pray for Peter and his successors, so that their faith would not fail, and so that each Pope would then turn and confirm the faith of the body of Bishops (implying that their faith, as a body, will not fail). But for the sake of argument, let’s say that a Pope commits some crime punishable by latae sententiae excommunication, and he fulfills all the conditions of canon 1323. Sanctions, Part III. Papal critics: “Let us explain to you why Pope Francis is wrong.” These conditions were addressed in greater detail in both “Am I Excommunicated? The Virus and the Bishops: Twisting a Vatican Document to Further an Agenda. Armed with all this information, let’s now apply it to a hypothetical situation involving a Pope, and see what conclusions we can reach. He can never be cut off from the Church by some offense or some sin, and thereby lose his authority and office. Here a bigger sin is committed. The indefectibility of the Church therefore guarantees that he is the true valid Pope. Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you. It can’t get much simpler than that. If an invalid Pope or antipope were ever accepted by the body of Bishops, the Church would have defected, which is not possible. If you understand the whole point of excommunicating somebody, you can appreciate that the notion of getting excommunicated “by accident” is perfectly ridiculous, as it makes no theological or canonical sense at all. How could a sick person possibly be subjected to medical treatment, if he doesn’t even know that he’s sick, and doesn’t realize that the treatment is taking place? Please check the Archives first–it’s likely your question was already addressed. 1398 and 1329.2; see “Is She Excommunicated? Too many people think that excommunication is some sort of a cudgel, with which the Catholic Church beats its errant members—but far from it! But since the Pope’s faith cannot fail, he cannot commit apostasy, heresy, or schism, and so he cannot be excommunicated by reason of any of those sins. If the person persists anyway, he obviously will not be able to claim ignorance of the law later on. This canon provides a whole list of situations, any one of which will render a person not liable to a penalty. Each Roman Pontiff has the gift, from the prevenient grace of God, of truth and a never-failing faith. They are included in the law in order to integrate discipline with doctrine. These are sacrilege, breaking the seal of the confessional and giving … Pope Saint John Paul II made a law that there can be no more than 120 Cardinal electors. For John this was a serious blow to his ability to rule the country as it absolved the King's subjects from their oaths of alliegance, gave the Barons reason to revolt and allowed the King of France to invade England to remove John from power. The fact is, we don’t know what God would do. Any ruler can ask for another ruler of the same religious denomination to be excommunicated if: 1. The target did not recently have an excommunication lifted. The penalty is designed to encourage repentance and can … The Church in the last 50 years—beginning with, uh, Pope John Paul II and especially intensified ... Gov. No. His excommunication thus occurred ipso facto, without the Vatican doing a thing; but because many Catholic clergy and laypeople were involved in various ways with Lefebvre and his Society of St. Pius X, and because there was a lot of confusion about the legality of what he was doing, the Vatican wisely made a formal pronouncement on the matter, so as to clarify Lefebvre’s status as a Catholic bishop in a public, official way. Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible. That’s why, as we saw in “Was Theologian Hans Küng Ever Excommunicated?” church officials will in many cases officially warn a Catholic who is engaging in some excommunicable activity that his conduct constitutes an excommunicable offense. Q: There are certain enumerated acts which trigger automatic, latae sententiae excommunication. It even looks disturbing written out on paper: E.x.c.o.m.m.u.n.i.c.a.t.i.o.n. The Reproach of Christ now features guest posts by: Francisco Figueroa. To minimize the possibility of them gathering somewhere and electing an antipope after pope Francis resigns or dies. In other words, the excommunication is written into Canon Law. Excommunication can be a public process, like the Pope did with the Mafia, or it can be private. * Pope Francis vs. Pope Paul IV’s Ex Apostolatus Officio. We only know that He has promised that the forces of evil will not prevail over His Church; how He wishes to go about protecting the Church is of course entirely up to Him. 4. They may do it anyway, but the number of people that will follow them would be significantly lower if they are excommunicated and stripped from cardinalate. Recently a series of stories burbled through the mainstream media suggesting that Nancy Pelosi has been excommunicated or denied Communion by the Vatican. But as we’ve just seen, if a Pope were to be excommunicated latae sententiae, nobody in the Vatican has the authority to make a declaration like this. If an ordinary layperson is excommunicated, this might not be relevant; but in the case of a Pope it would be relevant indeed, as a Pope obviously holds the ecclesiastical office par excellence! This being said, it is extremely misleading to say that a latae sententiae penalty is “automatic.”  That’s because, as we’ve just seen, all the conditions outlined in canon 1323 must first be in place for the penalty to be effected. This fact cannot be emphasized enough—in part because the world seems to have more than its share of hyper-scrupulous Catholics who fret that they may somehow have been excommunicated accidentally, without realizing exactly what happened or why. St. Paul was the first Apostle to use excommunication in order to correct an errant member of the Corinthian Catholic community who gave scandal (1 Corinthians 5:1-13). Was Theologian Hans Küng Ever Excommunicated? Thus excommunication is meant to be helpful—just like medicine. 1370) A priest who in confession solicits another to violate the sixth commandment (can. 3. At the same time, Howard is right that humanly speaking, there is nothing physically stopping a Pope from committing an excommunicable offense, like embracing heresy (c. 1364.1) or being directly involved in procuring an abortion (cc. Perhaps the most gripping story of excommunication is that of the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV, who was excommunicated three times by Pope Gregory VII. Bishops, priests and distributors of Communion, take note: Failure to excommunicate Pelosi if she does not repent would be a huge public scandal that would undermine the credibility of the Roman Catholic Church. And just as it’s impossible for a sick person to undergo medical treatment without knowing it, it is likewise impossible for a Catholic to be excommunicated without knowing it. Unfortunately, there’s more. Can Pope Francis Be Excommunicated? Ronald L. Conte Jr. And his disciples, being hungry, began to separate the grain and to eat. Another one gave up his voting rights before the conclave, again for sins of the flesh. But those cardinals who rebel, can and must be excommunicated. I will stick with the Ipso Facto scenario. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. And, if your excommunication ends, it can be a public or … So every Pope accepted by the body of Bishops must be the valid Pope. I don’t believe the current pope has excommunicated anyone. {12:4} how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? This opens up options for ex-Catholic friends to find ways to help each other get excommunicated. The Church is founded on the Rock that is Peter and his successors. After all his attacks, he dared to say, whoever is against the pope is not catholic. One can be excommunicated automatically or formally. In the wake of Pope Francis’ letter to the president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization for the Jubilee Year of Mercy dated Sept. 1, 2015, there has been much discussion about abortion and the penalty of excommunication. Those who reject the Magisterium, grasp at straws seeking its replacement. Excommunication is meant to send an urgent message to a Catholic that by his actions, he has taken himself outside the fold of the Church, and needs to cease those actions and come back. 1378) He acts freely and with full knowledge, without fear or coercion; he is well aware that he will be excommunicated as a result… and he does it anyway. The concept was addressed in “Am I Excommunicated? Sanctions, Part I,” and “Is She Excommunicated? Sarah is even worse. Excommunication is a sanction that deprives a Catholic of all participation in the common blessings of the society of the Church. Excommunication can be a frightening word. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. That is very dangerous. Is there a process? I just read the recent lecture of cardinal Burke. Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated new bishops without the mandate of the Holy Father, in violation of canon 1382, and was well aware that his action was punishable by excommunication latae sententiae—yet he did it anyway. August 17, 2020 at 7:41 AM 3) Since the former pope has fallen from the Pontificate, the Church can inflict human punishment, which is public excommunication along with a declaration that the See is vacant. He was not guilty of violating the law, and he is above Church law. Edited for … But so few people actually understand this! When it is applied, it’s considered “permanent” insofar as it’s up to the excommunicated party to take the necessary steps to resolve the situation. Therefore, the Pope can never be excommunicated. Many Popes have been highly educated theologians, but that doesn’t necessarily make them legal experts. c. 1314). It would seem that this kind of ecclesiastical mayhem is the very sort of thing that Christ assures us He will prevent from happening. Thus if he were to commit an excommunicable offense, and then continue about his papal business as if nothing had happened, there is nobody on earth who has the authority to say, “Wait a minute, Your Holiness! committed a grave offense that caused you to be spiritually separated from the Church and the community of the faithful Imagine a Pope who had been excommunicated latae sententiae, but was blithely ignoring that fact, continuing to select new diocesan bishops, accept episcopal resignations, create new dioceses, remove high-ranking officials from office, canonize saints, etc. Pope Francis is Our Holy Father, Supreme Head of the whole Church, Father and Teacher of all Christians, and Supreme Pontiff. And if so, what would happen, and how would it work? The target does not control the religious head. Excommunication is the harshest penalty the church can apply. This is a dogma of the First Vatican Council. Probably the biggest problem here is that these two Latin terms are simply untranslatable into English. He need not change or dispense the law first. An excommunicated individual can still hold office - removal from office is a separate disciplinary action. {12:5} Or have you not read in the law, that on the Sabbaths the priests in the temple violate the Sabbath, and they are without guilt? Thus, there’s already a mechanism in place by which it’s highly unlikely that excommunication can be abused. John of St. Thomas explains that this final declaration (declaration of deprivation) must also come from a general council. A few eventchains can also lead to exco… {12:2} Then the Pharisees, seeing this, said to him, “Behold, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbaths.” The requester can pay the piety cost 2. 4. Sanctions, Part II,” but briefly, no Catholic is subject to any penalty if he is under the age of 16; was ignorant that his action was a violation of the law; was forced to commit the crime, or committed it under fear; acted in self-defense or in the defense of another; or lacked the use of reason (as is the case with mentally ill, mentally handicapped, and senile persons). Therefore, the Roman Pontiff and the body of Bishops each have the gift of a never-failing faith from Jesus, by the Holy Spirit. It is a dogmatic fact that Pope Francis is the valid Roman Pontiff. This type of excommunication is of the eternal moral law, not merely of Canon law. A. Excommunication is the Church’s most severe penalty, imposed for particularly grave sins. Again, the answer is yes, because the Constitution used the terms active and passive election, which mean, respectively, being able to vote and being able to be elected. None of the content of this website may be reproduced, either in whole or in part, without the advance written permission of the author. When (and How Much) Can a Bishop Tax a Parish. So it is indeed correct to say that Pius XII’s Constitution explicitly allows an excommunicated cardinal to be validly elected pope. After all he wrote against the pope , he now claims the papalatry is not needed, i.e. 5. Does not sound like there is an excommunication on the horizon by the Pope. Some Canons are direct expression of teachings, even infallible teachings, on faith and morals. mpartyka October 7, 2008, 10:29pm #1. It therefore seems reasonable to surmise that rumors would swirl, and confusion would quickly spread, both within and without the Church! etc. Sanctions, Part III,” and “Canon Law and the SSPX”). etc. The pope actually doesn’t personally excommunicate many. This is particularly the case when the Christian faithful need to know that an authority figure in the Catholic Church is no longer in communion with the Church, and should be avoided. Pope Francis can’t be excommunicated. Luckily, there are only three acts that a pope can commit and that lead to excommunication latae sententiae which can only be lifted by the pope (who cannot do it, if he is excommunicated). Does there exist any set of circumstances under which the Church could excommunicate or otherwise depose the Pope and elect a new one? And it is a well-known historical fact that in centuries past there have been some pretty outrageous Popes, who have said and done all sorts of sinful, scandalous things during their lives. Period. Cathy Caridi, J.C.L., is an American canon lawyer who practices law and teaches in Rome. But for the sake of argument, let’s say that a Pope commits some crime punishable by latae sententiae excommunication, and he fulfills all the conditions of canon 1323. Can a Pope Commit Heresy? If the number of people who truly understand the general concept of excommunication is small, the percentage who grasp the terms latae sententiae and ferendae sententiae, which are used to describe two different types of penalties, is even tinier. If the works of God seem foolish to you, who is the fool — God or you? {12:3} But he said to them: “Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him: The Church is charitably assuming that the person doesn’t know that what he is doing/saying is punishable by excommunication—and so it wants to explain to him that he is playing with fire, so as to convince him to stop. Have Pro-Abortion Politicians Excommunicated Themselves? I put it as simple as possible. I don’t say they must be anathematized (although in past centuries it would be considered too). All rights reserved. c. 331). The whole purpose of medicine is to make a sick person get better; and similarly, the whole purpose of medicinal penalties like excommunication is to prompt the return of a Catholic who has done something to cut himself off from the Church. Therefore, since canon 1370.1 asserts that one is excommunicated for using “physical force” against the Pope, no one can extrapolate from this statement that any other, non-physical sort of violence—such as criticism or verbal abuse—constitutes an excommunicable offense under this canon. This same man was re-communicated to the … Recently a cardinal was stripped from cardinalate for sins of the flesh. (‘Heresy’ Defined),” we discussed the fact that the Code of Canon Law contains no direct, specific answer to the question of whether a Pope could fall into heresy. Refusing First Holy Communion to Children Who Are Ill-Prepared, Ecclesia Supplet: Making Invalid Sacraments Valid, Invalid Baptisms and Unaccountable Clergy. Some of these acts could conceivably be performed by a Pope; for instance, it seems a Pope could help procure an abortion. According to the Code of Canon Law of 1917, the excommunications reserved to the Apostolic See were grouped in three categories, those reserved 1. simply, 2. in a special manner, 3. in a most special manner (each solvable by the Pope and by those priests the Pope had delegated the faculty to absolve for precisely that degree); and below the excommunications reserved to the bishop (which … This typically means that the Byzantine Emperor can never be excommunicated. 5. His successor Pope Clement VIII made thousands of changes, without guilt. By his words or deeds, contrary to those laws, he is thereby dispensed. Well, there would be an immediate procedural roadblock in such a case, because unlike every other Catholic on the planet, a Pope has no hierarchical superior on earth (cf. A: In “Can a Pope Commit Heresy? Likewise, if he honestly didn’t know that a certain action technically constituted an excommunicable offense, he would not incur the sanction (c. 1323 n. 2, as already noted above). Is it, then, theoretically possible for a Pope to be excommunicated? According to Scripture, a heretic definetly can be excommunicated. And as Howard observes, many Catholics will simply say—and with good reason—that God would never allow such a thing. Can a Pope be automatically excommunicated? We are all much more at home with the way this category of penalties works, as it basically mirrors the legal procedures of modern countries. by They still might save their souls. Click here for more information. Therefore, Pope Francis cannot be excommunicated. he is the true catholic pastor who defends the Church even when he attacks the pope, and all the other is papalatry. Still, we saw that we can rest assured Christ will never abandon the Church to error, as He said to Peter in Matthew 16:18-19: And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Re-post: Confession and General Absolution. Biblia Sacra Vulgatæ Editionis Conte editore 2009, Catholic Public Domain Version [paperback]. Ron Conte: “Let me explain to you what the word ‘faith’ means.”. canonlawmadeeasy@yahoo.com The pope could only excommunicate himself latae sentencae, and even then, it would only affect his person, not the office. My guess is that, were a Pope to abuse his free will in this way, God would short-circuit the dilemma by striking him dead before the theoretical problem became a real dilemma. Those teachings bind the Pope, but these are not per se of the law. What about ferendae sententiae penalties? They can cite this very biblical passage in support of their position. The 1983 Code of Canon Law attaches the penalty of automatic excommunication to the following actions: Apostates, heretics, and schismatics (can. as-a-child October 7, 2008, 10:32pm #2. He cannot be removed from office by any means whatsoever, other than death or resignation. Biden to be excommunicated (if Father Byers become Pope) Joe Biden has spent a lifetime trying his level best to push for ever more millions of innocent little children in the womb to suffer being torn limb from limb, sucked into vacuums with shredding blades, having them melted with acid and all the gruesomeness of procured abortion. The target does not control more cardinals than the requester (for Catholics, with Sons of AbrahamDLC). –Howard. Anything that the Pope is able to change or dispense from, the Pope is not held to obey. A list of my Roman Catholic theology books and booklets. God absolutely prevents the Church from ever going astray by accepting a false or invalid Pope. Pope Francis has been accepted by the body of Bishops as the Roman Pontiff. It means they are barred from taking communion at Holy Mass. When I have asked others about this in the past, the response has usually been, “God forbid that a Pope would do such a thing!” I agree with that sentiment, of course, but it dodges the question. Let’s walk our way through this complicated issue step by step. And when a man is accepted by the body of Bishops as the Roman Pontiff, he is certainly the valid true Pope. Thus any discussion of such an extreme scenario provides us with a good reminder that ultimately, when push comes to shove, we Catholics should place all our trust not in the Code of Canon Law… but in God Himself. Now try to reconcile this hypothetical chaotic situation within the Church, with Our Lord’s words to Peter in Matthew 16, quoted earlier. Sanctions, Part I,” but in a nutshell, excommunication is categorized as a medicinal penalty in the Code of Canon Law (c. 1312.1 n. 1). Re-post: Can We Receive Holy Communion Twice on Christmas Day? There’s no denying that logically, it would be a neat solution to the problem; but it should be stressed that this is nothing but an abstract theory, suggested by theologians and other experts who have wrestled with this problem as an academic exercise. And there’s nothing automatic about that—on the contrary, it’s a safe bet that most Catholics who commit crimes punishable by latae sententiae excommunication are not actually excommunicated as a result. First of all, if a Pope were to commit a crime punishable by a latae sententiae excommunication, like any other Catholic he would have to fulfill all of the conditions listed in canon 1323, for the excommunication to be incurred. Can I Get an Annulment If My Ex-Spouse Refuses to Cooperate? 1364) Desecration of the Eucharist (can. • King John of England, excommunicated in 1208 by Pope Innocent III after refusing to accept Cardinal Stephen Langdon as the pope's choice for Archbishop of Canterbury. John relented in 1213 and was restored to communion. Which Mass Fulfills My Sunday Obligation? Since Jesus promised that this would never happen, it is an article of faith that the Church, and the Roman Pontiff are indefectible. Secondly, Howard rightly mentions that certain crimes are punishable by latae sententiae excommunication. It is thus entirely possible that a Pope would be genuinely unaware that a particular offense was punishable by excommunication. {12:1} At that time, Jesus went out through the ripe grain on the Sabbath. There are no sins that the Roman Pontiff is permitted by the prevenient grace of God to commit which also carry the penalty of excommunication for a Roman Pontiff. Needless to say, it has never happened in the history of the Catholic Church that a Pope has been excommunicated, so there is no past precedent of any kind here. Therefore, they must be excommunicated for the good of the flock. 3. Unsigned/anonymous questions are not read, much less answered (why is it necessary even to mention this?). Nothing a valid Pope can say or do will cause him to be excommunicated, as every Pope is preserved from apostasy, heresy, and schism by the grace of God. In general, when someone has been excommunicated latae sententiae, it often happens that church authorities will officially make a public declaration to that effect. In cases involving punishments of this type, there is necessarily a lot of back-and-forth between the accused person and the official who imposes the penalty, so the accused is certainly well aware of what is happening to him, and why. Any other laws of the Church which carry the penalty of excommunication are of changeable dispensable discipline, not doctrine. The Pope then served John with Excommunication. If even one of these conditions applies to a Catholic (including a Pope!) The penalty for apostasy, heresy, or schism is automatic excommunication. Now what? You can’t act as Pope any more, because you’re under excommunication!”  That’s because, as canon 1404 tells us tersely, the First See is judged by no one. –Mike. So could the Church ever conceivably be headed by an excommunicated Pope? (‘Heresy’ Defined), Is She Excommunicated? who committed an excommunicable offense, he is not subject to the penalty, and cannot be excommunicated. An Italian Catholic priest who considers Pope Francis an antipope and claims to have supernatural communications with angels, saints and the Madonna has been excommunicated. Those two, along with some others, do not show they will walk out of the Church rather they stay and destroy the flock from inside. A ferendae sententiae excommunication is not incurred ipso facto, by virtue of the law itself; rather, it is imposed by church authorities, much like a judge in a civil court imposing a sentence on someone convicted of a crime (cf. But that doesn ’ t necessarily make them legal experts person who physically attacks the could... Went astray, the excommunication is the Church can apply was addressed in greater in! A man is accepted by the body of Bishops must be excommunicated unless all provisions... 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Spread, both within and without the Church could excommunicate or otherwise depose can a pope be excommunicated... Target did not recently have an excommunication on the Rock would be unaware... She excommunicated translator of the First Vatican council Tax a Parish fact is we. Hungry, began to separate the grain and to eat very difficult to get.... Recently have an excommunication lifted an excommunication on the horizon by the body of Bishops as the Roman.! Biblical passage in support of their position ways to help others are of changeable dispensable discipline, not.. Math – a blog about world hunger, by the body of as! Canon law was not guilty of violating the law in order to integrate discipline with doctrine consider a! Chrome, First add a Chrome RSS reader or extension. ) both “ Am can a pope be excommunicated excommunicated never such. Per se of the whole Church, Father and Teacher of all participation in the law First website in search... Deprives a Catholic ( including a Pope ; for instance, it can continue to help each other excommunicated! Liable to a penalty and “ is She excommunicated our Holy Father, Supreme Head the. Be no more than 120 cardinal electors simply untranslatable into English was stripped from Church... ; for instance, it can be abused headed by an excommunicated Pope cardinals than the (... Means that the Byzantine Emperor can never can a pope be excommunicated excommunicated unless all the provisions Canon!

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