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A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

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CENSURE, ECCLESIASTICAL

A penalty by which a baptized person, gravely delinquent and obstinate, is deprived of certain spiritual benefits until he gives up his obstinacy. The Church's right to inflict censure follows from her existence as a perfect society, and the main purpose of censures is corrective. three main kinds of censures are imposed by Church law: excommunication, interdict, and suspension. Some censures take effect as soon as some grave external sin (such as professing heresy) is committed. Others take effect only on being personally imposed. Moreover, a person can be absolved from his sin through a good confession,m and yet have the censure remain until removed by legitimate authority. But in the case of censure which prevents the reception of the sacraments, the censured person cannot be absolved from the sins until he or she has first been absolved from the censure.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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