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See: banishment, expulsion, ostracism, rejection

EXCOMMUNICATION, eccl. law. An ecclesiastical sentence, pronounced by a spiritual judge against a Christian man, by which he is excluded from the body of the church, and disabled to bring any action, or sue any person in the common law courts. Bac. Ab. h.t.; Co. Litt. 133-4. In early times it was the most frequent and most severe method of executing ecclesiastical censure, although proper to be used, said Justinian, (Nov. 123,) only upon grave occasions. The effect of it was to remove the excommunicated "person not only from the sacred rites but from the society of men. In a certain sense it interdicted the use of fire and water, like the punishment spoken of by Caesar, (lib, 6 de Bell. Gall.). as inflicted by the Druids. Innocent IV. called it the nerve of ecclesiastical discipline. On repentance, the excommunicated person was absolved and received again to communion. These are said to be the powers of binding and loosing the keys of the kingdom of heaven. This kind of punishment seems to have been adopted from the Roman usage of interdicting the use of fire and water. Fr. Duaren, De Sacris Eccles. Ministeriis, lib. 1, cap. 3. See Ridley's View of the Civil. and Ecclesiastical Law, 245, 246, 249.

References in periodicals archive ?
Karen was disfellowshipped as a teen because her boyfriend was not a Witness.
I never went back and I am still disfellowshipped," she said.
See "Musser Disfellowshipped," Salt Lake Tribune, 14 December 1909; "Religious Cult Leader, 82, Succumbs After Illness," Salt Lake Tribune, 31 March 1954, 26; and "Saint Joseph White Musser In Memoriam," TRUTH, June 1954, 1-48.
As most disfellowshipped persons still feel a very strong in-group attachment, they find it difficult to associate with outsiders.
The Watchtower will disfellowship a child of any age if a member; otherwise, they treat nonconformists as disfellowshipped.
If a Witness should be disfellowshipped, he not only loses most of his friends, but also finds himself out in the world with limited employment opportunities.
Brown, the church's spokesman, confirmed that even immediate family is expected to avoid contact with the disfellowshipped, except those living in the same household.
Some 40,000 to 50,000 Jehovah's Witnesses are disfellowshipped each year, out of 6 million worldwide, Brown said.