Catholic Apologists and Excommunication

The deeper you dig into the mire of Catholicism the more gems you discover.  Here is one I would like to share with you about how all the “layman” Catholic apologists of YouTube fame, the Web and elsewhere should be “bound in the fetters of excommunication” as they are violating one of their papal decrees.  A decree that is still on the books that forbids public and private disputatations (i.e. debates) with heretics on the Catholic faith.  This law of the Catholic land being given by decree of Alexander IV (1254-1261) in “Sextus Decretalium”, Lib. V, c. ii.  We read:

We furthermore forbid any lay person to engage in dispute, either private or public, concerning the Catholic Faith. Whosoever shall act contrary to this decree, let him be bound in the fetters of excommunication. [Online source]

So, the next time you are earnestly contending for the faith once delivered unto the saints with a Roman Catholic, you might want to point this little tidbit out to them and see how they react. 

15 thoughts on “Catholic Apologists and Excommunication

  1. Many friends of Roman Catholics deny that the Romans are commanded to basically listen only to the Magisterium. Most Romans don’t know enough of their own doctrine to know what the Magisterium have said nor what the Bible says.


  2. Dear Heavenly Father;
    How our hearts ache for our Roman Catholic family members and friends. It is so difficult to penetrate all of the layers of false teaching to reach their hearts. Many of our Catholic friends don’t fully understand the doctrine of the church – they don’t realize the weight of the chains of works righteousness that are enslaving them. Father God, it is so very difficult to talk with the Catholics around us. Oh God, we beg that your Holy Spirit would move in a supernatural way in the Catholic Church. Father 500 years ago you used your servant Martin Luther penetrate the Gibraltar-like dominance of the Catholic church. Father, please raise up men and women in Rome and throughout the church – remove the scales from their eyes that they might see the truth of Your word. Father, often they refuse what we have to say as believers they have been trained and indoctrinated by their leadership to disregard any spiritual information except for what comes from the church. Father we beg that by Your Holy Spirit you would do an “inside job” that 500 years after the reformation that you would bring true revival and regeneration among Catholics in this world.

    We beg this in Jesus name


  3. According to a Roman Catholic who reads my blog, this decree is;

    “that sort of restriction actually went out with Vatican II. It is not Dogma, but a Discipline open to change, and it did. It falls under the same category of how Catholics could not attend Protestant religious services before Vatican II, but that has changed. It is not a cornerstone of the Faith or anything.”.

    Any thoughts on this Brother Michael?


  4. Vivator – Nice diversionary tactic. Yet I will say in that being a heretic according to Rome is a good thing for those she speaks well of are on their way to the lake of fire.

    Matthew – They might say that as Catholic apologists always play the chameleon to suit their purposes yet they are still wrong because this was a papal, infallible decree never annulled. And how could something that is infallible ever be annulled or removed from the books? That would mean the Papacy/Magisterium is wrong and we “know” Rome is never wrong.

    Amen Habakkuk.


  5. Yes, but only “heretics” to the Roman Catholic system. According to the Word of God which supersedes the Roman Catholic system, it is the pope and all of his blind teachers who are the true heretics for what they teach is false teaching ranking up there along with Islam, Buddhism, and even paganism.


  6. brother Michael wrote:

    Hope your wife is doing well. Blessings to you both.

    She is doing great praise God!

    Thank you for asking, friend.

    – Jeff H


  7. Amen to your prayer, Habakkuk.
    We do need to remember to pray for the RCC and for God to open eyes.
    There does not seem to be much openness to anything other than Catholicism, at least that is the case with my brother and sister-in-law.
    I have been presenting the gospel to them, begging my brother to search for himself what the RCC teaches and compare that to the bible.
    He told me —don’t worry, all is good if it is what you truly believe. God will work it all out in the end. My sister-in-law replied with condescending remarks and animosity. I guess I did not realize the RCC teaches a kind of universalism? I don’t remember ever being taught that, but I left it when in college many years ago.
    Did not receive a Christ’s Mass card from them this year…guess I’m off the list.


  8. Matthew Johnston,

    Your R. Catholic friend is correct, Vatican II changed a lot of both social and theological issues, sure it is not perfect but it was a radical change from the Latin Mass. I was a Roman Catholic raised in Ireland, and lived thru the Latine Mass and changes.
    Fr. Robert


  9. Matthew Johnston – Ask the Catholic poster on your website to produce official proof that this doctrine was changed because generalities about Vatican II and its changing things will not suffice here. Yet this will be impossible because according to New Advent, the official Catholic encyclopedia, it clearly states that this decree is “still in force.” And this carries with it the weight of the following Papal certification: Nihil Obstat. May 1, 1909. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.


  10. I was myself a Benedictine monastic (UK) for several years back in my 20’s. Not too long after Vatican II, believe me Rome has changed! Sure they are still basically conservative from the Red Hats down, but there are also so many moderates now. They don’t even remember the stuff you are quoting, save if they have to for some reason. And a Imprimatur, etc. are not decrees, but just show the material is without Catholic non or false teaching, etc.


  11. Brother Michael, I hate to pop your bubble, so to speak, but the Catholic Church does not now nor never has taught that every little thing that the pope says is infallible and unchangeable.

    Additionally, even if we concede that the decree you quote is still in effect, if you continued to read the original source that you quoted, you would note that there are contexts and specific guidelines regarding application of the decree – generally speaking, the idea is that a priest or someone else with formal theological training is going to be better equipped to discuss and debate theology than Joe Schmoe on the corner. However, there is allowance for laymen to engage in discussion of theology – “There are numerous questions, somewhat connected with theology, which many laymen who have received no scientific theological training can treat more intelligently than a priest. In modern life, it frequently happens that an O’Connell or a Montalembert must stand forward as a defender of Catholic interests upon occasions when a theologian would be out of place.” Also, Thomas Aquinas wrote in the Summa Theologica that “it is lawful to dispute publicly with unbelievers, under certain conditions. To discuss as doubting the truth of the faith, is a sin; to discuss for the purpose of refuting error, is praiseworthy” (II-II, Q. x, a. 7).

    Also, as someone has already pointed out, an Imprimatur in a piece of writing merely states that the writing is free of doctrinal errors. It in no way declares the piece of writing to be dogmatic, infallible, or a papal decree or anything of the sort.

    Now, I am sure that you and your readers will find many ways to poke holes in what I have said, or to lob unpleasant accusations about the Catholic Church about, and that’s fine, I’m prepared for that. I simply could not just ignore this post.


  12. Stina R – First, their is no need for you to ponder whether or not you want to concede whether this decree is in force, as it is so raising the question is moot, especially from a layman (unless you are unsigned cleric).

    Secondly, the point of the decree is clear, it is to prevent individual Catholics with “no scientific theological training” to defend the Roman religion for in so doing they may well preach and teach against the official doctrines of Mother Rome. This being, to to use your own words, the average “Joe Schmoe on the corner” which includes the vast majority of Roman apologists encountered on the internet and elsewhere. The very same ones who are breaking this command and should be bound in the fetters of excommunication.

    Thirdly, this is a papal decree and no amount of apologetical card shuffling is going to change this and that it is to be held and enforced by the “church.” One day, I’m sure this will be so again.

    Fourthly, I love how Romanists will defend tooth and nail their pet Roman doctrines found no where in the Bible when decreed as doctrine by the Popes, yet when one is called into question, so often what one finds is theological back-peddling. Or, maybe better stated, buffet theology. That is, if one infallible decree by this Pope is not suited to one’s taste because they don’t like it, why not play the trump card and quote the words from another “church father” or Pope who says otherwise.

    Finally, no one is out to poke holes in arguments for poking holes sake, nor is one out to lob unpleasant accusations about the Catholic religion due to some personal vendetta. The truth is, that Rome does not preach the gospel, has not Jesus Christ, and is leading people to damnation. Even as I see in my own family as another one of my family members has died. A die-hard Romanist who knew not Jesus, the gospel or salvation, yet tomorrow I will hear damnable lies from some priest about how she is up in heaven because she was a good Catholic and went to Mass and did this and that. When in reality she was a dead sinner.

    This is why we write what we do so as to strive to lead people away from Rome and towards Jesus Christ for today could be the last day for any one of us.


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