When the "bell, book, and candle" ritual was still used by the Catholic church, was it used in all ferendae sententiae excommunications?

1 Answer 1


The Pontificale Romanum rubrics for the Ordo Excommunicandi distinguish three types of excommunication:

  1. Minor
    "A minor excommunication is contracted by mere participation with the excommunicate, and from such a simple Priest can absolve without a sworn statement;"
    "Minor excommunicatio contrahitur per solam participationem cum excommunicato, et a tali potest simplex Sacerdos absolvere absque juratoria cautione;"
  2. Major
    is one "which the Bishop promulgates by a reading a written decree"
    "quam Pontifex per sententiam scriptam legendo promulgat"
  3. Anathema
    is said when "the solemn excommunication for graver offenses must be done"
    "solemnis excommunicatio pro gravioribus culpis fieri debet"

The anathema is the one that includes candles.

  • Thank you! What is the difference between a minor excommunication and a regular mortal sin? It sounds like either removes the sinner from a state of grace and must be absolved by a priest?
    – Someone
    Commented Nov 16, 2023 at 5:10
  • 1
    @Someone Excommunication is the most severe ecclesiastical censure ("A penalty by which a baptized person, gravely delinquent and obstinate, is deprived of certain spiritual benefits until he gives up his obstinacy."). Mortal sin is the loss of sanctifying grace. Not all mortal sins are excommunicable offenses.
    – Geremia
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 0:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .