Thursday, October 23, 2008

Judge, Jury and Excommunicator

Stop the presses -- yesterday's letters page of Joe Biden's hometown paper broke news of an unequivocal canonical ruling:
Judges and politicians who support abortion including designating federal and state funds for abortions, are automatically excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
Indeed, this is huge...

...but before anyone gets the vapors, take a deep breath and consider the authority issuing this unprecedented edict: neither the Pope, his "chief justice" nor the newly-installed ordinary, but a local parochial vicar... who seemingly has some trouble distinguishing his opinions from the operative law of the church....

In a major newspaper.

To clarify: difficult, undesirable -- even sinful -- situation? Of course. Latae sententiae -- i.e. automatic one strike and you're out -- offense? Not quite -- at least, not generally, under the conventional jurisprudence at this point.

(As most know, however, "procur[ing] a completed abortion" is clearly stated latae sententiae grounds -- no ifs, ands or buts.)

Twelve days 'til the election, folks... and let this be just one sign of how truly out-of-control things have gotten.

Speaking of Wilmington and the vote, the aforementioned litany of St Thomas More will be recited at all weekend liturgies in the diocese; to mark the move, the "Man for All Seasons" is the cover story in this week's Dialog.

Elsewhere on the map, one secularist lobby's seeking to call down the IRS on Bishop Arthur Serratelli after the Paterson prelate's recent statement on the proposed Freedom of Choice Act, the chief shepherd of the nation's capital takes his lead from Tuesday's USCCB statement to remind his readers of where the church is, the wisdom and prescience of the bench's 1986 economic pastoral is being revisited amid the tumult of the financial crisis, and -- as if its recent $5 million abuse judgment wasn't enough -- the diocese of Belleville's being sued again, this time by a parishioner who tripped on a landing that, she says, "contained no signs or brightly colored [warning] paint."

All that said, Happy Thursday, gang.