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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. 1. What is the meaning of the Latin words "ferendae sententiae" that are found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Code of Canon Law?

A. 1. The Latin phrase "Ferendae Sententiae" usually refers to an excommunication. The phrase means that the sentenced is to be passed at a later time. So if a penalty of excommunication is supposed to be imposed on someone because of what he/she has done, that person will not be excommunicated until such time as he/she has been informed that he is officially excommunited. A "sentence (excommunication) to be passed" means a "Ferendae Sententiae" in the expression "Ferendae Sententiae excommunication."

Canon Law # 1314 says, "Generally, a penalty is ferendae sententiae, so that it does not bind the guilty party until after it has been imposed; if the law or precept expressly establishes it, however, a penalty is latae sententiae, so that it is incurred ipso facto when the delict is committed."

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