Well, here it is (Part I)
I have mixed feelings about this. Still working through my thoughts so I will hold for now.
Here ya go.
September 4, 2013
September 5, 2013 at 10:23 pm
Stephen, you're right to leave the door open to the possibility that ++Dolan and others are not committing a grave evil by allowing public abortionists to come forward to communion. Their interpretation of Canon 915, although it is (in my opinion) sorely strained both as a matter of canon law and as a matter of Christian virtue in light of the Good News, has not yet been formally anathematized, and it is not utterly implausible.
However, I think you make an error in your interpretation of "obstinancy." The canon calls on ministers to deny the sacrament to those who "obstinately persevere in manifest grave evil." You are right to say that there is a possibility that pro-abortion politicians are committing a venial sin, rather than a mortal sin; we do not know their hearts, and so we can NEVER condemn them as mortal sins. Yet the canon does not require ministers to convict them of mortal sins, committed with the unknowable quantities of full knowledge and full consent. The canon merely demands that ministers defend the Sacrament from those who "persevere in manifest grave evil."
We can all agree, I think, that supporting legal abortion is a manifest grave evil. In particular cases, it may not be a mortal sin, because of the extenuating circumstances of knowledge and consent. But it is always a grave evil, isn't it? These politicians, moreover, have been firmly corrected on numerous occasions by legitimate authorities, and remained obstinate. That they do not recognize those authorities is immaterial; Pharaoh's obstinancy against Moses was not lessened by the fact that he did not recognize Moses's authority.
I hold out hope for the salvation of pro-abort politicians, by both ordinary and extraordinary means. I hold out hope, indeed, that not one pro-abort politician has committed a mortal sin! But I do not see how we can spare them the penalty of Canon 915, which is written to constrain those who persist in any manifest grave evils, not just those who have done so with enough understanding of it to condemn them to Hell. In this way, Canon 915 both protects the Sacrament and serves as a powerful teaching tool short of formal excommuniation.
What am I missing here?
September 6, 2013 at 2:05 am
Stephen and Gal. Emp. Palpatine, stands and actions have consequences. At some point, "leaving the door open" has to give way to holding people accountable. If that means making one politician an example, so be it. Biden's and Pelosi's stands on abortion, for example, not only are public but well-known. If their stands do not fit the description of obstinately persevering in manifest grave evil, then what does?
Frankly, I doubt that Cdl. Dolan is not acting the way he is because of the arguments you cite. I think he's doing so to preserve his influence and prestige — which is all bishops have valued for a long, long, long time.
You two symbolize one of the many reasons why Catholicism is losing credibility. Catholic thinkers over-intellectualize subjects to the point of moral paralysis. At some point, action must be taken. Then again, the Catholic Church has valued words more than action for far, far too long.
September 6, 2013 at 4:28 am
My goodness. You would never know this is a Catholic website. The level of anger and dissension on this subject is terribly shaming to me as a Catholic. I saw Cardinal Dolan's interview and thought it was brilliant. Think about it — he is not preaching to YOU, the converted, the believing, the practicing. He is spreading the joy of the Gospel message to people who watch the Colbert Report, for crying out loud. And the message of the Gospel IS joy, IS relationship with Jesus Christ, first, last, and always. Everyone should have the opportunity to know that joy, even if the first look at it they get is on the Colbert Report. Don't want to keep it from them. Don't be like the Elder Brother in the story of the Prodigal Son.
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