South African Archbishop: Excommunicate abuser priests


The archbishop of Johannesburg, South Africa, has called for the immediate excommunication of Catholic priests who have sexually abused minors. Archbishop Buti J. Tlhagale was preaching at the ordination of four priests in the Archdiocese of Johannesburg on Oct. 27.

The archbishop said that in canon law the “procurement of abortion by a priest, or with the assistance of a priest, brings about an automatic excommunication latae sententiae to the priest.” He said also that if a priest gets married while still under his vows, this too brings about automatic excommunication.

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Latae sententiae is the Latin phrase used in church law meaning that a sentence is triggered by the action itself. It applies automatically when a serious church law has been contravened.

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