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What Does It Mean That Father Bryce Was Excommunicated In 'Chucky' Season 2?
Father Bryce in "Chucky" Season 2 is excommunicated from the Church, but what does that mean, exactly?
After spending the majority of “Chucky” Season 2 as a villain, Father Bryce finally got on the side of the angels in Episode 7. His reward for finally believing the kids and recognizing the evil within Chucky? Excommunication from the Catholic Church.
[Spoiler Alert: Spoilers ahead for "Chucky" Season 2, Episode 7, "Goin' to the Chapel."]
When Chucky’s allies and enemies alike congregate at the Incarnate Lord Catholic reformatory school, they all agree to exorcise the soul out of the “Good Chucky” doll so that a vacant vessel is available for Chucky Prime, who is sharing a body with Nica Pierce. It’s certainly a complicated situation, but for Father Bryce, his job is simple. Contact the Vatican, speak with the Pope and get permission to perform an exorcism on what is undoubtedly an honest-to-goodness evil possession.
That conversation ends with him being personally excommunicated from the Catholic Church by the Pope himself (as evidenced by the good Father addressing the person on the other line as "Your Holiness"). Despite how quickly it happened for Father Bryce, the truth is that Catholic excommunication is a process that doesn’t come about lightly — even if someone presents a completely bonkers story about possessed dolls directly to the Pope.
According to New Advent’s Catholic Encyclopedia, excommunication is reserved for the most unique of cases and is not done lightly. Although it was abused in the past and doled out willy-nilly, today it is considered the most severe penalty the Vatican — the seat of the Catholic Church — can hand down. In short, an excommunicated person is no longer able to partake in the spiritual and societal aspects of the Church, including Holy Communion.
It’s worth noting, though, that even in extreme cases like Father Bryce’s, excommunication is not permanent. In fact, it is not considered a punishment or a way to bring justice to a situation that doesn’t have it either. Excommunication is always to be thought of by Catholics as a medicinal method. In other words, it's a way for someone to reflect on their wrongdoings and seek repentance and absolution. If they repent and go through the other necessary steps, the Pope or whoever hands them an excommunication can indeed reverse it or set them on a path to rejoin the Church.
While the Pope can certainly hand down excommunications and, in many cases, is the one to do so, Bishops and other higher-ups in the Church can as well. Priests, however, cannot excommunicate people in their parish.
So, someone in Father Bryce’s position would certainly face an uphill battle if they wished to get back in the Church’s good graces and have standing within it once again. However, it becomes a moot point in “Chucky” given that Father Bryce does not survive the exorcism process. Fortunately, though, everything seems to have worked out for most of our heroes. But, if you know anything about the “Chucky” franchise, you’ll know … You can’t keep a Good Guy down.