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(108 words)

[German Version]

According to Catholic canon law, an apostate is one who totally renounces the Christian faith (CIC c. 751), thereby committing the most serious ecclesiastical offense, punishable by automatic excommunication (c. 1364 §1); if the offense is notorious, the offender may be forbidden church burial (c. 1184 §1, n. 1). Even after returning to the faith, an apostate is considered irregular and is therefore impeded from blessings (c. 1041, n. 2). Apostasy from the Christian faith invariably means apostasy from the Catholic faith as well (cc. 194 §1, n. 2; 694 §1, n. 1).


Cite this page
May, Georg, “Apostate”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 27 January 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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