FishEaters Traditional Catholic Forums

Full Version: Argentinean president will excommunicate himself if he signs pro-abortion law
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/argent...abortion-l

                                                             Asked specifically if Argentinean president Maurici Macri would be excommunicated automatically for his cooperation in the legalization of abortion, Del Blanco responded, “That’s what the Code of Canon Law says, but he can confess, receive absolution for his sin and then begin to participate again [in the life of the Church]. But first he must confess his grave sin.”

                                                            And here's what an Argentine Bishop had to say about Del Blanco's statement

                                                           Del Blanco’s words have been widely reported in Argentina, but most of the Catholic hierarchy appears to have remained silent on the matter, except for the bishop of San Francisco, Córdoba,  Sergio Buenanueva. The bishop told the press that the priest’s interpretation of the Code of Canon Law is “totally wrong, erroneous, and causes enormous confusion and scandal.”
(07-25-2018, 03:48 PM)Eric F Wrote: [ -> ]https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/argent...abortion-l

                                                             Asked specifically if Argentinean president Maurici Macri would be excommunicated automatically for his cooperation in the legalization of abortion, Del Blanco responded, “That’s what the Code of Canon Law says, but he can confess, receive absolution for his sin and then begin to participate again [in the life of the Church]. But first he must confess his grave sin.”

                                                            And here's what an Argentine Bishop had to say about Del Blanco's statement

                                                           Del Blanco’s words have been widely reported in Argentina, but most of the Catholic hierarchy appears to have remained silent on the matter, except for the bishop of San Francisco, Córdoba,  Sergio Buenanueva. The bishop told the press that the priest’s interpretation of the Code of Canon Law is “totally wrong, erroneous, and causes enormous confusion and scandal.”

Well-intentioned as Fr del Blanco is, he's wrong here, and the bishop is correct (even though he's probably negligent in his duty of warning the Argentine president by threatening a declared excommunication if he signs the law, which he could do).

Canon 1398 declares an automatic excommunication against those who obtain an abortion effectu secuto : "Qui abortum procurat, effectu secuto, in excommunicationem latae sententiae incurrit."

Effectu secuto means one seeks out a thing, and that thing happens. Thus one must seek out to cause an actual abortion and that abortion has to actually happen. This refers to a particular act. Every major commentator on Canon Law, including the ones from previous to the 1983 Code, agree on this point.

To sign a bill into law, even one allowing abortion up to the moment before birth, is cooperation in a grace sin. It could be an offense public enough to warrant that the Pope or bishop declare an excommunication. It is a degree too far removed, however, to ever be considered effectu secuto.

This is because there is no absolute guarantee that any actual abortion occurs directly because of the action of the president (even though it is highly likely) and he is not intending any particular abortion, even if he were totally pro-abortion.

The article from LifeSite is horrifically wrong, and it seems the author is either totally ignorant of Canon Law, or is willfully trying to apply to the Holy See and Pope Benedict XVI things they did not say. Fr del Blanco mentions Canon 1398. The portion discussing Pope Benedict never mentions Canon 1398, but only Canon 915. To that end the reporter quotes the Pope saying, "excommunication [for supporting abortion] ... is allowed by Canon Law."

As a public sinner and grave one at that a politician supporting abortion can and should be excommunicated, but this would need to be ferendæ sententiæ (declared by the Ordinary), and is not latæ sententiæ (automatic). That has always been and is the universal interpretation of Canonists.

By Canon 915, however, the president would be and ought to be barred publicly from the Sacraments, which is in its effects the same thing as an excommunication. He probably also should be excommunicated by declaration of his local bishop or at least the Primate of Argentina, but he will not be automatically excommunicated by the dictates of Canon 1398.
This is also what Pope Francis said about legislators who vote for abortion. He said this when he was Cardinal Bergoglio.
Of interest here is an actual Canon Law expert's comments on a similar question.

A pertinent quote:


Quote:One could perhaps try to argue that pro-abortion politicians, by voting to keep abortion legal, should fall under this canon … but given its precise wording, it would be difficult to find a canonist who would agree. And in any case, the mere fact of the uncertainty of the question would automatically oblige us to conclude that the canon does apply in this case.

Canon 18 states that laws that prescribe a penalty are to be interpreted strictly. If there is any doubt about whether a Catholic should be punished under a particular canon, he is not to be punished—period. This is a fundamental legal principle that the Church has held for generations, and it admits of no exceptions. We can see how carefully the Catholic Church guards against unjust application of its laws—it prefers, if necessary, to permit a perpetrator to go unpunished, rather than to unfairly penalize someone who is not guilty of a crime!


Thus we cannot say that a pro-abortion politician is excommunicable under canon 1398—but there are certainly other canons that might better apply, and that would lead to exactly the same outcome.  A stronger argument could be made that repeatedly voting to support legalized abortion, in the face of countless public statements by Popes and Bishops that this is contrary to Catholic teaching, might constitute heresy.


The heresy argument does not really work well either, in fact, even if it be stronger, since it does not seem that abortion's wrongness is something de fide. It certainly is an aspect of Natural Law. It certainly is something regarding Faith and Morals and abortion could be solemnly condemned and this be infallible, it does not yet make it de fide, thus denial heresy.

Better arguments exist for excommunication or interdict as a punishment for crimes against :
  • Canon 1369 : Those who publicly cause grave harm to morals.
  • Canon 1373 : Those who provoke disobedience to Church authorities (such as obeying the Catholic teaching on morals)
  • Canon 1399 : Any violation of Canon Law or Divine Law (of which Natural Law would seem to be included) where the special gravity or necessity to repair for scandal requires.
But Canon 1398 does not work in this case.
Additional information from news site from Argentina in English
 https://247newsbeat.com/abortion-priest-...is-passed/
(07-26-2018, 08:04 AM)Eric F Wrote: [ -> ]Additional information from news site from Argentina in English
 https://247newsbeat.com/abortion-priest-...is-passed/

He's still wrong.

His zeal is commendable, and probably there should be a Canon Law that punishes politicians like this. There is not, however. Canon 1398 simply does not work like that.