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Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. SPECIAL PROMOTION FOR NEW MONTHLY DONATIONS! Thank you and God bless.

Did John Paul II excommunicate a lot of people?

Question:

How many people has John Paul II excommunicated? A friend of mine is trying to portray him as a fanatic who is excommunicating people left and right.

Answer:

John Paul II has never excommunicated anyone during his reign as pope. There have been people during his reign who have incurred what is called a latae sententiae or automatic excommunication, such as the radical modernist Fr. Tissa Balasuriya, who committed heresy, and the radical traditionalist Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who excommunicated himself by consecrating bishops without a papal mandate. Both of these offenses incur latae sententiae excommunication under canon law.

There has never been a case where John Paul II excommunicated anyone directly, but he has issued or approved notices that certain individuals, including the ones mentioned above, have themselves incurred latae sententiae excommunication by their actions.

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