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canonlaw
canonlaw, Canon Law expert
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 164
Experience:  Doctoral degree in Rome, Judge, Postulator for canonizations
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The archbishop of Honolulu issued a pastoral letter opposing

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The archbishop of Honolulu issued a pastoral letter opposing marriage equality and basing his argument upon 4 grounds such as protection of children. A friend sent the archbishop a letter disagreeing with the argument and therefore with the conclusion.
The response was a letter from the archbishop excommunicating him. Is this legal?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Canon Law Catholic Church
Expert:  canonlaw replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question!Well, sounds very awkward. Assuming that the letter contains, effectively, and according to canon law a formal declaration of excommunication (what seems very unlikely to me and I would need to make an accurate inspection of the text), this bishop would have acted against a general principle of penal law established in canon 1318:"A legislator [in this case this Bishop, as there is no an universal law that explicitly banish the supporters of marriage equality] is not to threaten latae sententiae penalties except possibly for certain singularly malicious delicts which either can result in graver scandal or cannot be punished effectively by ferendae sententiae penalties; he is not, however, to establish censures, especially excommunication, except with the greatest moderation and only for graver delicts". And of course, this issue of the new forms of marriage is not one of the graver delicts... But most of all the eventual excommunication cannot be valid (and thus cannot be legal) because one essential principle of penal canon law contained in this canon:Can. 1347 §1. A censure cannot be imposed validly unless the offender has been warned at least once beforehand to withdraw from contumacy and has been given a suitable time for repentance.You did not mention if has existed a previous communication from the bishop. If not, the excommunication cannot be considered valid and the faithful has the right to challenge that penalty according to law. The procedure is very technical and exceeds the simplicity of this site. Hope this would be suffice for you as a proper answer. Let me know if you would take vantage of the extra services offered by the site. Many regards
Expert:  canonlaw replied 1 year ago.
Can I still help you in any way? Thanks for answering and rating
Expert:  canonlaw replied 1 year ago.
I would love to complete the question

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