CDF, Declaration of Nullity of a Decree Declaring a Latae Sententiae Excommuncation, 1993.

The following is the entire declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the case of the so-called “Hawaii five” – as expressed in the case of one of the five, Patricia Morley. I [Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger] note that this document has received wide publication already and is therefore not in the least confidential:

On July 3, 1991, Mrs. Patricia Morley had recourse to this Congregation against the Decree of the Bishop of Honolulu issued May 1, 1991.

His Excellency, the Most Reverend Joseph Anthony Ferrario, with aforesaid Decree, declared Mrs. Morley excommunicated on the grounds that she had committed the crime of schism and thus had incurred the latae sententiae penalty as provided for in c. 1364, §1 of the Code of Canon Law.

This Congregation has examined carefully all the available documentation and has ascertained that the activities engaged in by the Petitioner, though blameworthy on various accounts, are not sufficient to constitute the crime of schism.

Since Mrs. Morley did not, in fact, commit the crime of schism and thus did not incur the latae sententiae penalty, it is clear that the Decree of the Bishop lacks the precondition on which is founded.

This Congregation, noting all of the above, is obliged to declare null and void the aforesaid Decree of the Ordinary of Honolulu.

CDF, 1993, Decree.