Saturday, January 08, 2011

Bell, book, and candle

"Bell, book, and candle" refers to a method of excommunication (ex: out) which the catholic used to do for an extraordinary sin.
Imagine how harsh this must have been! If you were a devout catholic for an, to be told with such overbearing gravity that you now are separated, thrown out, not just from your church and probably all your friends and family, but also from God's grace and redemption. Wow.

This ceremony involved a bishop, with 12 priests, reciting an oath on the altar:
We separate him, together with his accomplices and abettors, from the precious body and blood of the Lord and from the society of all Christians; we exclude him from our Holy Mother, the Church in Heaven, and on earth; we declare him excommunicate and anathema; we judge him damned, with the Devil and his angels and all the reprobate, to eternal fire until he shall recover himself from the toils of the devil and return to amendment and to penitence.
After reciting this the priests would respond "So be it!" The bishop would ring a bell to evoke a death toll, close a holy book to symbolize the excommunicant's separation from the church, and snuff out a candle or candles, knocking them to the floor to represent the target's soul being extinguished and removed from the light of God.


It does allow for a way back in, but I'll bet anything that this was not an easy thing to do.

3 comments:

Kent McManigal said...

It's so sad when people allow a superstition to have that much power over their lives. It's so much more liberating to watch the silly ritual and laugh at the foolishly solemn morons trying to perform their magic. Anyone should be able to see it for what it is and ignore the adherents.

Philocalist said...

It's one of many things that seem to fly in the face of humanity, where the Catholic Church is concerned, both as am institution and on a more personal level of the Catholic priest.
Take a look at what being left 'in limbo' really means ... it's disgraceful to the point of obscenity!

eolake said...

I haven't read up on this. Not sure I can stomach it.

I heard that witchfinders sometimes would pack ice on the face and heart area of the women they were burning, so they would enjoy the torture longer...