|This article is part of the series:|
|Legislation and Legal System of the Catholic Church|
|WikiProject Canon Law|
Canon 1324 of the Code of Canon Law, according to which penalties prescribed in canon law must be diminished or replaced by a penance. The canon does not automatically remove the penalty completely except in cases of latae sententiae (automatic) excommunication.
Cases to which the canon applies 
The diminution or replacement of the penalty must be applied if the offence was committed by:
- Someone with imperfect use of reason
- Someone temporarily lacking the use of reason because of drunkenness or some similar mental disturbance
- Someone who, while not altogether losing the use of reason, acts in the heat of passion, without having deliberately provoked that passion
- Someone not yet sixteen years old
- Someone who acts out of grave fear, necessity or serious inconvenience when the act is intrinsically evil or tends to harm souls (if the act committed in these circumstances is not intrinsically evil or harmful to souls, then there is no penalty)
- Someone who acts in lawful self-defence but without due moderation (if due moderation was used, then there is no penalty)
- Someone who reacts against grave and unjust provocation by another
- Someone who erroneously but culpably thought the circumstances mentioned in parenthesis above under numbers 5 and 6 existed, circumstances that according to canon 1323 exempt from all penalty
- Someone who was inculpably unaware that a penalty was attached to the law or precept against which he offended
- Someone who acted with grave but not full imputability
In the circumstances listed above latae sententiae (automatic) excommunications do not apply.
A judge may diminish or replace a prescribed penalty also in view of other circumstances that reduce the gravity of the offence.
Claimed applications 
Excommunication of Marcel Lefebvre 
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre argued that his ordination of four bishops on 30 June 1988 (the Ecône consecrations) in contravention of a direct order from Pope John Paul II was "by reason of necessity or grave inconvenience" and was not an intrinsically evil act or one that tended to the harm of souls, and that therefore he was not subject to the penalty of excommunication. He claimed that his action was necessary because the traditional form of the Catholic faith and sacraments would become extinct without traditionalist clergy to pass them on to the next generation. He called the ordinations "opération survie" - "Operation Survival", citing in his defense canons 1323 and 1324 of the Code of Canon Law.
Abortion on a minor in Brazil 
In 2009, Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho was reported to have excommunicated (or rather declared excommunicated, since the canon law invoked imposes the excommunication automatically), the mother and doctors of a 9-year-old girl for carrying out an abortion on the girl's twin fetuses, after she was raped by her own stepfather, something that had been happening since she was six years old. The affair shocked the Brazilian government and provoked disgust from President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
The Bishop of Gap, France quoted a canonist who maintained that the circumstance of grave fear, envisaged in canon 1324, meant that the automatic excommunication did not apply to the mother of the girl.
- Canon 1324 of the Code of Canon Law
- Canon 1323
- Ertelt, Steven (2008-03-05). "Brazil Catholic Church Excommunicates Doctors Who Did Abortion on Little Girl". Lifenews.com. Retrieved 2009-03-07.
- Mgr di FALCO, évêque de Gap, sur l’excommunication au Brésil