- Interdict (Roman Catholic Church)
Roman Catholic Church, the word interdict (in’tér-dikt) usually refers to an ecclesiasticalpenalty. Interdicts may be "real", "local" or personal. A personal interdict pertains to one or more persons. A "real" or "local" interdict, which is no longer a part of canon law, suspends all public worshipand withdraws the church's sacramentsin a territory or country. [American International Encyclopedia, J.J. Little Co., New York 1954, Vol VIII] A local interdict against a country was to it the equivalent of excommunicationagainst an individual. It would cause all the churches to be closed, and almost all the sacraments not to be allowed (i.e. preventing marriage, confession, anointing of the sick, and the eucharist). Certain exceptions allow for baptism, anointing of the sick, and sacraments on Christian holidays.
Interdiction was used by the
Popeduring the Middle Agesas a way to influence rulers. For example, Pope Innocent IIIplaced the kingdom of Englandunder an interdict for five years between 1208 and 1213 after King John refused to accept the pope's appointee Stephen Langton as Archbishop of Canterbury. Pope Gregory XIplaced the city of Florenceunder interdict in March 1376 during the War of the Eight Saints, while Pope Paul Vplaced the Republic of Veniceunder interdict in 1606 after the civil authorities jailed two priests. [ [http://www.seattlecatholic.com/article_20040921.html Seattle Catholic - The Venetian Interdict of 1606-1607 ] ] Rome itself was placed under interdict by Pope Adrian IVas a result of a rebellion led by Arnold of Brescia.
An interdict can also be a penalty against a specific individual or group. It is like excommunication in that the person is barred from receiving the
sacramentsand participating in public worship, but it does not bar the person from continuing to hold and exercise ecclesiastical office. For a lay member of the church, it is basically equivalent to excommunication, though with the implication that they remain Catholic.
Certain offenses incur an automatic ("
latae sententiae") interdict:
* Physical violence against a
bishop(canon 1370 §2)
* Attempting to preside over or concelebrate in Mass while being a
deaconor lay person (canon 1378 §2 1°)
* Hearing and/or attempting to absolve confessions while being a deacon or lay person (canon 1378 §2 2°)
* Falsely accusing a
priestof soliciting adulterywhile in confession (canon 1390 §1)
* Attempting to marry while having a perpetual
vowof chastity(canon 1394 §2)
Other offenses may incur an interdict:
* Public incitement against the
Apostolic Seeor the local ordinary(canon 1373)
* Promoting or directing a prohibited association (canon 1374)
* The crime of
In 1909, the town of
Adriain Italy was placed under interdict for 15 days after a local campaign against the move of a bishop. [ [http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0403714.htm CNS STORY: Holding public figures accountable to church: centuries of precedent ] ]
Maltabetween 8 April 1961and 4 April 1969the leadership of the Malta Labour Party, readers, advertisers and distributors of Party papers as well as its voters were interdicted over the Party's continuous verbal attacks on the Church hierarchy following the failure of the Integration with Britain campaign as well as Labour's membership of organisations the Church considered to be communist. [cite web | title= The Unholy War | work=Malta Today, | url=http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/2005/10/09/pix/interdett.pdf | accessmonthday=March 13 | accessyear=2005] Previously, between 1930 and 1933 interdiction was imposed on the Constitutional Party and Labour. In both cases, the Nationalist Party won elections while its opponents were interdicted. ["Church and State in Malta", Jon P. Mitchell [http://www.springerlink.com/index/x7t5535503100444.pdf] ]
René Henry Gracidaof Corpus Christi, Texas interdicted a Catholic politician in the late 20th century for supporting legal abortion; the unnamed individual died while under interdict. [ [http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=32440 Catholic World News : US bishop imposed interdict on pro-abortion politician ] ]
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