Church discipline is the practice of censuring church members when they are perceived to have sinned in hope that the offender will repent and be reconciled to God and the church. It is also intended to protect other church members from the influence of sin. Excommunication is usually considered a last resort if a person does not repent of their sin.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the oldest of the nine congregations of the Roman Curia. Among the most active of these major Curial departments, it oversees Catholic doctrine. The CDF is the modern name for what used to be the Holy Office of the Inquisition.
According to Article 48 of the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, Pastor Bonus, promulgated by Pope John Paul II on June 28, 1988: "the duty proper to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to promote and safeguard the doctrine on the faith and morals throughout the Catholic world: for this reason everything which in any way touches such matter falls within its competence."
The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is the congregation of the Roman Curia that handles most affairs relating to liturgical practices of the Latin Catholic Church as distinct from the Eastern Catholic Churches and also some technical matters relating to the Sacraments.
Along with preaching and proper administration of the sacraments, Protestants during the Reformation considered it one of the marks of a true church. Church discipline is mentioned several times in the Bible.
In I Corinthians 5 and other passages, the Bible teaches that sin if not dealt with in a congregation can contaminate other members of the body of Christ, as leaven spreads through bread. This was an important doctrine in the development of different branches of the Plymouth Brethren movement. It is also an important topic of discussion in many churches today.
The Westminster Confession of Faith sees the three steps of church discipline as being "admonition", "suspension from the sacrament of the Lord's Supper for a season" and then finally excommunication.
Ultimate authority resides in Christ, who authorizes the Church to use it as needed. (Matthew 18:17)
Corrective discipline is for:
Procedures in discipline
Purpose of Discipline