dismissal ipso facto

(Latin: ipso facto, by the fact itself)

Signifies that a religious who has been guilty of certain overt acts is thereby considered to be lawfully cut off from membership in his or her religious society or institute. As opposed to dismissal after a trial, dismissal ipso facto is automatic. The major superior with his chapter or council has only to make a declaration of the fact of guilt in the manner prescribed by the constitution of the religious society in question, and, as a measure of prudence, preserve the proofs of guilt in the archives of the said society. The following, committed by a religious of either sex, effect dismissal ipso facto: public apostasy from the Catholic Faith; flight with a person of the opposite sex (even without intention to marry); attempted marriage, even civil. These acts are incompatible with the religious state and the religious institution as such. Dismissal ipso facto is, therefore, only a legitimate means used by a religious society to protect itself by expelling the unfit.

New Catholic Dictionary

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