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Excommunication is an institutional act of religious censure used to deprive, suspend, or limit membership in a religious community or to restrict certain rights within it, in particular receiving of the sacraments. The term is often historically used to refer specifically to Catholic excommunications from the Catholic Church.  During the Middle Ages, formal acts of public excommunication were sometimes accompanied by a ceremony wherein a bell was tolled, the Book of the Gospels was closed, and a candle snuffed out — hence the idiom "to condemn with bell, book, and candle.[1]"

Bellairs Corpus

References

  1. Wikipedia: Excommunication

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