NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo – excommunication? Can. 915?

Prof. Ed Peters, canonist (whom I still think is wrong about a question concerning Mass obligations – but I digress), has posted something instructive about catholic politicians who truly need some medicinal help from Holy Mother Church.

We enter in medias res


Now, it’s Let’s excommunicate New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his latest push to expand abortion in what is perhaps the most pro-abortion state in the union. Sins, to be sure, these deeds, but canonical crimes? and ones punishable by excommunication at that? I suggest not, as many of us have discussed many times.

Some bloggers really should google a bit before they post. If they did so in the Cuomo case, they’d find out, among other things, that politicians are not subject to excommunication for abortion under Canon 1398 (the only canon remotely relevant to their situation), that Canon 915 is a much more appropriate response to the scandal of the prominent pro-abortion Catholic politico, and that Cuomo has already been the subject of an extensive discussion in regard to his eligibility for Communion; indeed, they’d probably find out that Cuomo is apparently refraining from approaching for holy Communion on his own.

Can the canonical ante be upped further? Sure, but not by blog-driven public pressure on Catholic bishops for politico-excommunications under a Code that at present does not punish activities such as Cuomo’s or Quinn’s with a penalty such as excommunication. So, those distressed, and rightly so, by Cuomo’s or Quinn’s politics and specifically desirous of seeing them excommunicated, have, as I see it, two options: either (a) petition the pope to rewrite one or more canons of Book VI of the Code to excommunicate them; or (b) petition the bishops of New York and Illinois to enact particular legislation leading to their governors’ excommunications. I think both ideas are, for several reasons, problematic, but they seem within the bounds of what a Catholic could suggest. As for exploring the mechanics of such papal or episcopal canonical drafting, that’s beyond the scope of this blog. For now I simply note the idea. Again.

In the meantime, may I suggest prayers and fasting for Gov. Cuomo’s and Quinn’s repentance? They stand in great need of turning from the evils they support, and such acts on our part would improve the state of our souls, as well.

I have additional comment.

We get the priests and bishops we deserve.

Therefore, pray for and work to foster vocations to the priesthood.  Encourage sound young men to become enter seminary.  Future priests are out future bishops.

The Biological Solution is working on all of us.  Over time the character of the episcopate in these USA will change over (if we still have a country and a Church here, that is).  In what direction will the changes take us?

If you think that the present generation of leaders in the Church is less than optimal, think about the next generation and work with prayer and elbow-grease to make it happen.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Scott W. says:

    Good read. I try to highlight that Cuomo is refraining from communion (apparently) when these discussions come up. I feel a need to defend the novel ideas that “shoot through cyberspace with amazing speed, agitating a new ‘generation’ of readers whose awareness of history is also quite diminished.” Granted, that means the “blog-driven public pressure on Catholic bishops” gets plenty of stuff wrong. But as an anti-democracy type, that’s why we have buck-stops-here bishops in the first place and any other arrangement is bong-induced madness. However, the unwashed blogosphere serves the invaluable purpose one the one hand of poking awake our authoritative leaders who may have dozed off (“Just resting my eyes! :)) and on the other hand, lighting every corner so the cockroaches have no place to hide any more.

  2. Supertradmum says:

    I am hard on my fellow lay men and women. Don Bosco claimed that one out of four boys had religious vocations. Now, I am doing research on the backgrounds of young men who get ordained. It shall be interesting to trace why we do not have vocations, but I blame parents first and foremost.

    Secondly, as to the Canon Law, cannot a bishop put some sort of punishment on a person outside of Canon Law, such as a penance? Mr. Cuomo is also not married and living in the same house with his friend. I assume such public scandals also have consequences, if a bishop so desired. For example, I know some priests who require couples to separate households before marriage in the Church and not be seen as coming from the same address before marriage and so on. The same type of restrictions could be imposed, such as the denial of Holy Communion or a public rebuke, rather than excommunication. I am sure bishops have the power to rebuke or without the Eucharist. Just wondering….Excommunication is not the only way to correct a public figure who is sinning against the teachings of the Catholic Church.

    As to the third point brought up by Fr. Z as doubtful, the biological, I have never used that as an argument, as it may not come to pass. The fact that there are more vocations in some areas cannot make up the loss of years, and there will be many places in the States, Canada and Europe where sacraments will no longer be available locally in a very short time. One priest I know personally cannot cover all his parishes weekly in a rural area and has to stagger his Masses so that the people do not have Sunday Mass in some of his parishes.

    Biology also works both ways, as most Catholics are still contracepting and there are less and less children to take over all the infrastructures of the future, including the priesthood.

    It is time to quit pretending about the future.

    Thank you, Dr. Peters and Fr. Z, for this sobering note and clarification.

  3. Scott W. says:

    P.S. Fr. Z if you get a chance, check out this http://marymagdalen.blogspot.com/2013/01/good-news-irish-domicans.html on Fr. Broder’s sacking. It seems the young Dominicans were instrumental in his ouster. If so, a lovely example of “We are Church!” boomeranging on the Usual Suspects.

  4. mamajen says:

    I grew up with one Cuomo in office, and now my sons get to grow up with his son. Sigh.

  5. Peggy R says:

    Dr. Peters didn’t explain who “Quinn” is. He is pat Quinn the divorced Catholic governor of Illinois, a Dem. Now, he’s not shacking up that I know of. I have heard any girlfriend talk either. A step above Cuomo in personal morality I suppose.

    Quinn is decidedly pro-abortion and is furthering the homosexual agenda. His administrative agency determined that Catholic and other social service agencies that won’t place children with homosexuals can no longer contract with the state to do so. Quinn remained silent at best. No Catholic Charities adoption/foster care services are available in Illinois any more.

    He should really face canonical action if he refuses to support naming the new bridge over the Mississippi at STL after Stan Musial. All of MO is for it.

  6. Supertradmum says:

    http://supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/bad-news-about-ordinations-from.html some nice research and books on the vocations crisis. And, children absorb all these scandals, even if parents do not realize it. So, public witness is key, both negative and positive.

  7. Anne 2 says:

    I find it interesting that Mr. Peters has closed all comments to allow questions on his site. – Kind of a hit and run approach. [No, it is not interesting. That is his choice for his blog. I will now show you what that means by deleting the rest of your comment. Have a great day! o{]:¬) ]

  8. mamajen says:

    I really hate to say this of someone who advocates evil, but if Cuomo is indeed refraining from communion on his own, then I think that is admirable. Of course that is far outweighed by his sinful actions, but it gives me hope that prayers might work more for him than for others who have no respect at all for the Eucharist. I hope that rumor is true.

  9. MarkJ says:

    Might I suggest leaving a comment on the governor’s website? Even if the governor never reads it, maybe one of his staff will be moved by what you write.

    More basically, we need all the US bishops to start taking a firm and vocal stand against the prevailing culture. They need to incessantly speak out publicly to warn Catholics and all citizens of the grave consequences for individual souls and for the country and the world if we continue on the present course of rampant sexual immorality and if we continue the abominable acts of sacrificing millions of baby humans to the gods of pleasure and convenience (the savage Aztecs had nothing on us when it comes to human sacrifices!). As I see it, God gave us 40 years to remove the scourge of abortion from our land started by Roe v. Wade. Instead, we have re-elected the most pro-abortion and anti-Catholic politician in US history. May God have mercy on us, and may the Bishops finally and fearlessly proclaim the Gospel for all to hear!

  10. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    I didn’t explain who “Quinn” was?

    I wrote “A few weeks ago, for example, it was Let’s excommunicate Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn for supporting ‘gay marriage’.” Might want to read the whole post, and not just an excerpt, before telling folks what I did or didn’t do. :) edp.

  11. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    exactly right, mamajen. exactly right.

  12. LisaP. says:

    I sometimes listen to talk radio out of Denver, and a few days ago I was shocked — shocked — to hear on the news — the news — two different stories coming from Archbishop Aquila. One was a statement that the new civil unions law coming in Colorado can shut down Catholic adoption. The other was his personal story about witnessing an abortion and seeing that the aborted fetus was a human child. Here I thought Archbishop Chaput was the troublemaker! I think lifesite news has the story.

    This sort of thing is enough. I don’t care which way bishops make it clear what is right and wrong in our culture. It would be great if they could each have their own ways, spread out and take it on. But do it *some* way.

  13. tealady24 says:

    Why this type of behavior (overt proclaiming of abortion and gay “marriage”) is not condemned by ALL bishops and cardinals in the U.S. is just beyond me!
    Andrew learned well at the knee of father Mario. Disgraces, all!

  14. frjim4321 says:

    We get the priests and bishops we deserve.

    I don’t know if that statement works on all possible levels.

    If you could argue that Catholics have the right to the sacrament (as some do) you would think that in one sense people “deserve” priests. And yet we know that on any given Sunday millions of Catholics are deprived of the sacraments. So are we saying here that they don’t “deserve” priests?

  15. Anne 2 says:

    This article goes to prove that even people who call themselves “experts” can be wrong.
    Everything I have seen on blogs calling for public (ad homine) excommunication – has not only to do with the grave sin involved – BUT the public and mortal sin of SCANDAL.
    Scandal leads to the loss of Souls, as well as relativism within the Church.
    Bishops rarely address SCANDAL, SCHISM and HERESY in their public teaching and public dealing with errant politicians.
    Again – “Can. 1399 In addition to the cases established here or in other laws, the external violation of a divine or canonical law can be punished by a just penalty only when the special gravity of the violation demands punishment and there is an urgent need to prevent or repair scandals.”
    I would recommend that if any US Bishops need advice or have quesitons about public scandal withn his Diocese and the Canon Law means available to him that he contact: Canon Lawyer Raymond L. Burke, – Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. I’m certain he will provide the best and legal way to handle scandalous politicians. He does not make his living protecting Bishops who do not do their jobs.

  16. PA mom says:

    Supertradmum-I agree with your viewpoint, but must ask, couldn’t Bosco’s quote be more applicable to then than now? Couldn’t it be that the Lord really did call a greater number of His faithful into the laity during the last several decades? The seminaries and religious orders sound like they were brimming with danger for those who were present, and perhaps He called some away, out of harm’s way?
    It sounds like the time is right in many places for a more open push. The committee I am on is supposed to do just that. But, how to really do it?
    There is a group of beautiful Sisters who have begun to come to the parish (I do believe that laity brought them in, housed them, and meet with them monthly). We had a vocations evening for the students, which few of their parents attended. There are Chaplets of Mercy and Rosary decades… We have seminarians, but the diocese could use twice or three times as many.
    My most recent inspiration was to ask the committee to request the EF Mass as part of the efforts. I STILL have not attended one, so will have to do this before the next meeting, but am guessing that it will not be an instant sell.
    Anyone remember the name of that young lady on YouTube with the white glasses who explains it? I am very nervous about going with two little ones, and not knowing anything happening…

  17. Scott W. says:

    So are we saying here that they don’t “deserve” priests?

    No. I think you are in dispute-for-the-sake-of-dispute mode. Kindly bag it.

  18. Wayward Lamb says:

    Supertradmum, I would take what you said about the laity and parents a step further. Many (most?) of us, regardless of vocation, want to pass the buck to someone else, often our bishops, rather than follow Father Z’s advice: take personal responsibility, put your own spiritual house in order, live the Gospel, and pray, pray, pray. As long as Catholics collectively view scandals and other matters as someone else’s problem, these kinds of situations will continue and we put our own souls at risk. This will only be solved one person, one soul, one family, one vocation at a time, until God’s grace is cooperated with by all.

  19. frjim4321 says:

    No. I think you are in dispute-for-the-sake-of-dispute mode. Kindly bag it.

    We have a new moderator?

    It’s not an improvement.

  20. Supertradmum says:

    PA mom, She is Catholic–http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bmLTP6ohnV0

    among others

    As to Bosco’s comment, no I really know that parents do not encourage vocations, and not because of the sex scandals. Too many non-parent parents not using the graces to see the vocation in their child and encourage it.

  21. Cathy says:

    I wonder why more bishops don’t simply do what Bishop Bruskewitz did, sometimes I think there is a greater courage in a bishop who is more concerned about the faith of his flock than acting in consensus with all the other bishops in the US. http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=2863

  22. Wayward Lamb says:

    Or perhaps too many parents caught up in their own concerns, such as dreams of grandchildren, or fear of falling short or appearing lesser than their children who are blessed with a vocation to the priesthood or religious life?

  23. Ray says:

    Let all of us pray for our Church’s future. Just because one canon lawyer from a seminary in one archdioces in America says it is so, doesn’t make it so. What does Cardinal Burke say about this topic, does anyone know? He is after all in charge of this from our Holy Mother Church in Rome. Cardinal Burke is part of the magesterium and should have some judgements rendered by his organization to help the folks in the pews understand this issue. To illustrate, if a lay person holds a position in the diocese of Detroit, they can advise the Cardinal or Archbishop from that area, but it holds no binding authority for anyone. The Cardinal or Archbishop can disregard it and seek counsel from other sources(Cardinal Burke would be a great source). The last time I checked lay folks have an obligation to follow true Church teachings from Rome not opinions from fellow members of the laity!!

  24. MarkJ says:

    Nearly 2000 years ago St. Timothy, Bishop of Ephesus, spoke out publicly and courageously against the cult of Diana, and was stoned to death for it. Where are the courageous bishops today who will take a stand? St. Timothy, pray for our Bishops!

  25. Supertradmum says:

    On the deserving or not deserving priests issue–

    The point is valid and what is meant by this is that holy, prayerful and orthodox families encourage the vocation to the priesthood, while contracepting families and non-orthodox families would, if they had a son going into the priesthood, most likely, just create just another liberal priest and bishop.

    The other problem is the continual support of bad Catholic education as a fob-off of responsibility. I find it really hard to believe in 2013 that good Catholic parents cannot find out if fallen away Catholics or worse, unbelievers, are teaching their children, or that the local Catholic schools abide by state imposed non-Catholic ideals.

    In addition, kids learn by example to be open to grace. There have been, and I know this from going to Notre Dame in the 1980s, too many men who went into the clerical life as a career, rather than a vocation. I knew two brothers who planned out their total careers over coffee at ND from an Eastern state: one was going to be a bishop and one a chancellor. Well, that is not a true vocation.

    And how many of the laity are outraged at the curricula in the seminaries, which do not teach Latin, the TLM and even worse, that is no hell or that no one is in it; or, teaching that womyn priests will happen and so on…..

    We get the priests we deserve…………

  26. Theodore says:

    Anyone know the final status of the Uruguayan legislators who were supposedly excommunicated for voting for legislation that overturned Uruguay’s previous ban on abortions?


  27. MichaelJ says:

    Canon 1398 states simply:
    Can. 1398 A person who procures a completed abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.

    If politicians are not subject to this Canon, it must mean that their legislative efforts to promote abortion – including requiring others to pay for them – does not constitute “procurement”.

    I disagree with this opinion, but I am not a Canon lawyer. Which brings up an interesting side-issue. If I, as a layman, am incapable of reading a canon and understanding what it means, how is it that I am subject to them?

  28. LisaP. says:

    Wayward Lamb,

    One of the things I’ve noticed since having kids is that the culture has shifted even more towards conformity than it had when I felt I had to have Gloria Vanderbilt jeans in 7th grade. . . . it has shocked me that conformity is no longer simply considered natural and inevitable, kids and parents are considered immoral if they try to avoid it. I had a friend advise me, on the birth of my first child, that I needed to make sure my kid had everything that the other kids had, exactly, in school. She was serious. Since then I’ve seen much expansion of this, and universal application — my kids need to behave the same way as other kids, dress the same way, talk the same way, even believe the same way. Relate the same way, excel the same way, test the same way. My kid with diabetes, can’t tell you how many parents I’ve seen of kids with diabetes who spend inordinate amounts of time making sure their kid doesn’t “feel different”. Every single kid should feel different, they are all different! But sameness is a virtue. “Normal” is the new Holy Grail or Fountain of Youth. This is even in groups of religious, “good” families, very little diversity of expression and taste is tolerated. Look at the jawline of a bunch of young teens, you can see how even things like orthodonture follow this, the jawlines will all have been shaped similiarly. We’ve had to move our kids into a community of outliers to find a place where difference is just fine.

    I bring this up because I wonder if this is part of the issue, someone picturing his or her child going a route that is so different from what the child’s peers travel, it feels scary or even wrong. Impossible, almost. Absurd. Priesthood, that’s nice in theory, in fiction. But my kid trying to become a priest? That would be like asking if I were o.k. with him becoming a rock star or a NBA player or a circus clown or a missionary — that’s just not an option.

    Not very clear, hope this makes some sense.

  29. PA mom says:

    LisaP you are sooooooo right! I am astonished by it also.
    However, we are not of the world but in it, right? So the trick is to maybe create an atmosphere were considering the priesthood would be “normal” for your family, and your children are secure enough to keep an open mind and heart.
    That is sort of what I am trying to do.

  30. mamajen says:

    The vocations issue is complex, and people on both ends of the spectrum have caused serious problems that have rippled through the generations. St. Faustina predicted many of our current issues back in the 30’s, and much of it came down to the fact that our seminaries, convents, churches, etc. were full of religious who had no real love for what they were doing.

    As a parent it is hard to know what to do. I (and many of my friends) grew up being made to feel guilty if we speculated about getting married someday instead of becoming a nun or a priest. How do you discern a true calling (or recognize that in your own child) if you were brought up to feel that the calling part was rather irrelevant? My mom has actually said she failed because my oldest brother did not become a priest. I try to educate my son well, teach him to love God, and remind him that being a priest is as much an option as any of the other jobs he’s set his mind to (he currently aspires to be a roadworker). I won’t push him in any particular direction, but I might whisper in his ear if I notice something he doesn’t.

    I truly believe, in any case, that God always finds a way if we do our part. I mean, look at Father Z–who would have expected him to become a Catholic priest? Prayer is so important, because people we never would have dreamed of may have a vocation and might need that little bit of extra help to realize it and follow it. It’s not that fun hearing that we deserve what we have when what we have is not that great, but considering how often I fail, I certainly can’t argue the point.

  31. dans0622 says:

    MichaelJ: you have a unique definition of “procure.” And, just because one happens to be wrong about something does not mean he is incapable of being right or of procuring a correct understanding.

  32. Peggy R says:

    Dr. Peters. Mea culpa. My apologies. I was not at my usual place on usual device. Awkward to flip around. You are correct. I am wrong.

  33. Wayward Lamb says:

    LisaP, that totally makes sense to me. And it’s just one more reason (amongst many) of why we believe the Lord was calling us to homeschool our children. I know I’ll make many mistakes raising and educating my children, but it’s also the best opportunity available to us to raise our children to be holy, live virtuous lives, and discern their vocations, whatever they may be.

  34. boko fittleworth says:

    One gets the impression that a controlling majority of the hierarchy does not believe that eternal damnation is a possibility for human persons.

  35. Michelle F says:

    I remember when Kathleen Sebelius got herself excommunicated while she was the governor of Kansas. A piece of pro-abortion legislation was pending, and she said she would sign it into law if it passed the state’s legislature. Her bishop told her not to sign the bill if it made it to her desk because if she did sign it, he would excommunicate her. The bill passed the legislature, she signed it into law, and her bishop excommunicated her.

    This event made some headlines.

    Immediately after that, Obama chose her to be his new HHS secretary.

    What didn’t make the headlines was Cardinal Wuerl agreed to recognize her excommunicated status in Washington, DC – sort of. Evidently, a priest still could give her Communion if she came up in the line.

    US News & World Report still has an article about it online here:

    So, if Sebelius could be excommunicated, and excommunicated publicly, why not the rest of them?

  36. Wayward Lamb says:

    Isn’t the real problem here that tragically too few persons attach any real significance to an excommunication or a threat thereof? Why would that matter to people when they no longer believe in hell.

    Unfortunately there are those who believe Sebelius was rewarded for taking a stand against the Church, rather than being punished by ecclesiastical authority.

  37. dans0622 says:

    Michelle F.: Not admitting someone to the reception of Holy Communion (see canon 915) is not an excommunication (see canon 1331).

  38. Matt R says:

    Michelle F, she was not excommunicated she was under interdict. That is to say she was ordered to refrain from receiving Holy Communion, under Canon 915 which states: Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.

  39. Matt R says:

    Someone above asked why don’t more bishops do what +Bruskewitz did. The reason is because he specifically placed under interdict members of organizations opposed to the faith which then turned into an excommunication if they attained membership (to spite him, I guess) or retained it. I doubt those politicians, such as Cuomo, Quinn, Biden, Pelosi etc. are actually Planned Parenthood members, ‘Catholics for Choice’ or Freemasons. We’d have heard about it now, especially the second one; they’d flaunt it like there was no tomorrow. Now if they were publicly acknowledged as such, then the proper canonical warnings could be issued.

  40. MichaelJ says:

    dans0622, I have no idea what you are trying to say with your second sentence, but can readily admit that my definition of procure could be unique.
    That being said, what does “procure” mean in Canon 1398 ?
    Who is it, exactly, that is “procuring” the abortion?

  41. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    dano622, right.
    matt r, she is not interdicted.
    theodore, they weren’t excommunicated. http://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2012/11/01/synod-catch-up-the-uruguayan-bishops-and-excommunication/

    best, edp.

  42. Michelle F says:

    I accept the correction on interdict vs. excommunication. I’m just a simple layman.

    I would like to point out, however, that the entry for “Interdict” in the Catholic Encyclopedia on New Advent.org says: “Interdict differs from excommunication, in that it does not cut one off from the communion of the faithful or from Christian society, though the acts of religion forbidden in both cases are almost identical” (emphasis added).

    Also, ex communio means “out of communion.”

    It does not matter which legal term/charge/condition is applied by the Church and her canon lawyers: for those of us who are not experts in Catholic Church law, being deprived of Holy Communion IS “excommunication”; one is “out of communion.” Public persons (politicians, actors, whatever) who publicly oppose the Church’s teachings and positions need to be denied Holy Communion publicly for the sake of the Faithful, the general public, and the particular sinner involved. Until this happens, no one except a blessed few will believe that the Church is serious about her moral teachings or anything else.

    So, still, if Sebelius can be told “No Holy Communion until you repent,” why not the others?

  43. Matt R says:

    Thank you for the correction Dr. Peters.

  44. Minnesotan from Florida says:

    Lisa P., You have twice mentioned me with kindness, and so I owe you the same. Your remarks on individual difference rather than sameness were wonderful.

  45. frjim4321 says: We get the priests and bishops we deserve….I don’t know if that statement works on all possible levels.

    In other words, if we have bad priests, it’s because we deserve them. Citing Jeremiah 3:14-15, St. John Eudes says that wicked priests are a sign of God’s wrath and a punishment for sin. And since priests are drawn from the ranks of the laity, it only makes sense that when the laity are off the rails, priests will not only be fewer in number but also frequently off the rails. That’s why those of us in the pews have to take our share of the responsibility for the mess the Church is in, and do our part to fix it.

  46. VexillaRegis says:

    mamajen, PAmom, LisaP. and Supertradmum, thanks, you are very wise. Mothers know!

    VexillaRegis, the Viking Mum :-)

  47. dans0622 says:

    Michael J: I am not sure how else to say it…I mean that if you are in error about something, you can still be capable of being correct. As to the meaning of “procure” it means, as people often say, to “get.” Legislators who are in favor of abortion being legal do not thereby get abortions themselves.

  48. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Michelle F,

    the incident you reported leads to the question:

    How far is a governor responsible? I had been thinking that it is Congress (or whatever are exactly called the state parliaments in the US) who makes the law; the role of the governor is to protocol that it has been made correctly. Or does the governor have a veto as the President has? Coming to think of it I suppose, but then was not vetoing or was signing after the veto was overridden what made the bishop enact his measure?

    How far is a head-of-state who has no veto, such as the German president, obliged to not sign?

    Was King Balduin of happy memory’s action to not sign but silently tolerate his ministers declaring him incapacitated for a couple of hours (allowing them to sign, by Constitution) morally allowed, or should he have insisted that, no matter how much outdated royal authority is thought to be, no law in Belgium can pass without royal assent?

  49. LisaP. says:

    Lots of interesting comments here, thanks to the above. I found mamajen’s story really interesting, I wonder what role that plays in the composition of our current generation of priests. Interesting to see that conforming to an external expectation regardless of the individual person’s particular true vocation can cut both ways.

    I wonder how many other vocations are cut off by these processes — not just vocations to religious life.
    Almost makes you wonder about these politicians we gripe about so much, if they were “free” of external expectations I bet many would leave the Church. Not an excellent result, but it would address the problem of scandal we face, and I do sincerely believe sometimes you have to leave to come back, you need to actually be separated from the Church in order to convert to the Faith.

  50. The Masked Chicken says:

    “I truly believe, in any case, that God always finds a way if we do our part. I mean, look at Father Z–who would have expected him to become a Catholic priest? Prayer is so important, because people we never would have dreamed of may have a vocation and might need that little bit of extra help to realize it and follow it. It’s not that fun hearing that we deserve what we have when what we have is not that great, but considering how often I fail, I certainly can’t argue the point.”

    At least some of the problem, today, is that children have so many ways to distract themselves that they cannot sit still long enough to hear the call. Imagine if Samuel had had an iPod! Now, some in the generation before electronic mass media still became poor priests, but what all of these distractions do. whether electronic or not, is encourage a love of the world.

    Of what good does it do to try to argue with public figures? There is very little possibility of altering their opinions. I know I sound cynical, but it seems that they think that their position makes them infallible.

    Very sad.

    The Chicken

  51. MichaelJ says:

    dans0622, here’s the deal. In English, “procure” does not mean only “obtain for onesself“. I can procure many things on behalf of others.

    In this instance, Governor Cuomo is not simply “in favor of abortion being legal”. He is actively promoting it and using his authority as governor to ensure that the state provides or subsidizes abortions. So, in English, he is procuring abortions on belhalf of others – namely anybody who wants one.
    You and others assert that since he personally is not having an abortion, he has not excommunicated himself (which is, after all what a latae sententiae excommunication is) under this Canon.
    The only way for this to be true is if the word “procure” in Canon 1398 does not mean the same thing it does in the English language.
    Incidentally, bythe definition you seem to be asserting, Canon 1398 only applies to women.

  52. dans0622 says:

    MichaelJ: Yes, one can procure something for someone else but making it possible/easier for someone else to get “it” (whatever “it” is) is not procuring “it.” The government, through tax credits, makes adoption possible for people who would otherwise not be able to afford it. Would you say that Obama, who has enacted the continuation of the adoption tax credit, is “procuring” adoptions? I wouldn’t. And, yes, I am suggesting that c. 1398 can only apply to women. We have to remember the strict interpretation required when dealing with any penal law (c. 18).

  53. MichaelJ says:

    dans0622, again, you are dramatically understating an minimizing what Governor Cuomo is doing. He is not simply “making it possible/easier”. That being said, this is a rather moot point.

    You’ve noted that this term in canon law does not mean the same as it does in english. I’m ok with that.

    If I might offer a suggestion though. When a similar discussion comes up in the future, you might want to begin by noting the the narrower definition of terms when they appear in canon law rather than suggesting (politely, of course) that others are ignorant.

  54. dans0622 says:

    MichaelJ: of course it is good to research a position before making it known but, as can happen, I have the process reversed. I looked into the Code a bit more and its understanding of “procure” is wider than what I had: it speaks of men who have “procured” an abortion (c. 1041.4). So, it appears that I was wrong. That being said, I still hold that governors/legislators/etc can never, in the terms of c. 1398, procure an abortion through legislation. As for suggesting others are ignorant, I don’t think I did that. You said you were “incapable” of understanding a point of canon law. I certainly think not. I was wrong about it, even though I studied it, but don’t think I’m incapable of learning. But, point noted.

  55. Magash says:

    I’m afraid you are wrong about Can 1398 only applying to women. If a man works to procure an abortion for a woman his act is actionable under Can 1398.
    Unfortunately Can 1398 has been interpreted to only apply to specific abortions. That is, someone who votes for a law allowing abortion is not actionable under 1398. Nor is someone who introduces into legislation a law supporting abortion, or as a federal or state executive signs a law authorizing abortion.
    So while a man who pays for, drives a woman to, or performs an abortion can be excommunicated under 1398 someone who makes abortion available cannot.
    Note I make no plea for support of this interpretation. But that’s they way it is.

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