Friday, 22 November 2013


Interdiction is class of ecclesiastical punishments all having in common a ban on certain sacred matters. An interdict can be applied in general to persons or places, or individuals or to whole populations. Interdicts can be temporary or permanent. An interdict is an ecclesiastical censure that can exclude a person or a district from participating in most sacraments of the Church. A king and his whole kingdom can be placed under an interdict.

If a place is under interdict its churches are closed; no marriages can take place, burial in holy ground is denied; confessions are not heard, and no absolutions are given; no baptisms and no confirmations are undertaken; the sick are not anointed, and hospitals such as they might have been would not be open; last rites are not given. The very souls of the people affected by the interdict would be in peril of being sent to Hell and eternal damnation were they to die in these circumstances. In medieval times interdicts were an extremely serious matter to individuals as life was short, and a visitation by the angel of death and his reaping of their bodies and souls could come almost at any time.

In a sense an Interdict is the excommunication of a district, a person, a community or a whole nation, imposed by the Pope, in which he might demand that all bishops to withdraw from the district, community or nation. Christianity would cease to function in such an area or nation until the Interdict were lifted.

The Grim Reaper

Interdict - Wikipedia

Boudinhon, A. (1910). Interdict.

F. Lucii Ferraris (1782) Prompta Bibliotheca canonica, juridica, moralis, theologica ... 
Volume 5  pp 63-74:  Interdictum

Last rites - Wikipedia

Anointing of the Sick - Wikipedia
Gans, L. (1908). Ecclesiastical Censures.

Boudinhon, A. (1909). Ecclesiastical Discipline.

See also


Famous Interdictions

Pope Innocent III


Pope Innocent III placed the whole kingdom of Norway under interdict in October 1198. king Sverrir Sigurðarson forged letters to show that the interdict had been lifted. However, he and his subjects remained under interdict until his death in 1202.

Innocent III. suspended it over France (1200), because king Philip Augustus had cast off his lawful wife and lived with a concubine


Guillaume aux Blanches Mains in 1172 in the name of Pope Alexander III placed the Kingdom of England under an interdict.

Pope Innocent III also placed the whole of the kingdom of England under an interdict, which lasted five years, from 1208 to 1213. He had done that after king John had refused to accept Stephen Langton, the pope's personal friend and nominee, as archbishop of Canterbury.


Sverre of Norway - Wikipedia

Frances Andrews; Brenda M. Bolton; Christoph Egger; Constance M. Rousseau (2004). Pope, church, and city [electronic resource]: essays in honour of Brenda M. Bolton. BRILL. pp. 77–. ISBN 90-04-14019-0.

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