Three Louisiana Segregationists Excommunicated from Roman Catholic Church

Apr. 16, 1962 - Three segregationists have been excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church for attempting to “provoke” opposition to integration of church schools. The sentence of excommunication was published today on the orders of the Most Rev. Joseph Francis Rummel, Archbishop of New Orleans for 27 years. It marked his first use of this most serious of church penalties. Those affected are Leander H. Perez Sr., president of the Plaquemines Parish Council; Jackson G. Ricau, executive director of the South Louisiana Citizens Councils; and Mrs. B.J. Gaillot Jr., head of Save Our Nation, Inc. In Rome, a Vatican spokesman said that Archbishop Rummel had no choice but to excommunicate those who openly proclaim their dissent from the church and refuse to accept the guidance of their pastors on questions of principle and doctrine. The excommunicated individual cannot benefit from the prayers the Church offers on behalf of its members, receive communion, or marry in the church. However, he does not cease to be a Christian since his baptism can never be effaced. The censure can end only when the offender confesses and repents of his sin.

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