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Has Kerry been excommunicated from the Catholic Church?

  1. Oct 18, 2004 #1
    Any Catholics out there that have an understanding of canon law? This article, from Catholic World News, seems to indicate that Kerry may have been excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

    http://cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=32830

    Check out the pdf file near the bottom of the linked site. It's a four page "unofficial" letter, citing specific canon law, which concludes that any Catholic which advocates abortion is 'automatically' excommunicated from the Catholic Church. Note, the pdf file is called the "Vatican’s Response" – but the response itself calls itself "unofficial." Go figure.

    Here's the link to the letter – look over to your right.

    http://www.defide.com/
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 18, 2004 #2

    selfAdjoint

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    Consultants can't excommunicate. This is an example of "jawboning", an attempt to get a result by publication, not power. Also Cardinal Ratzinger wrote a letter pointing out that if a Catholic voted for a politician "just because" he supported abortion, that Catholic would be in mortal sin. And considering the various options, the Catholic would maybe be in mortal sin for voting for a politician who supported abortion, even if that wasn't the reason for the vote.

    So the church doesn't want to excommunicate Kerry, because they know it would be lousy publicity for them. But they are doing everything in their power to encourage Catholics not to vote for him.
     
  4. Oct 18, 2004 #3
    So the Catholic church would rather people vote for whom?
     
  5. Oct 18, 2004 #4

    enigma

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    It appears that the Catholic Church desperately wants to lose their tax-exempt status, no?
     
  6. Oct 18, 2004 #5
    Here's the article from The New York Times adding a little information.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/19/politics/campaign/19catholic.html
     
  7. Oct 19, 2004 #6
    The Vatican, today, indicated that the letter issued was not under their authority but a private letter. The Vatican added that one who merely holds the opinion that abortion is not wrong may be a "obstinate sinner" but is not a "heretic." The Father who issued the private letter stated that it was not his intent that the letter be made public nor was it to be considered anything more than his opinion. End of that story ----- at least until the canon lawyer who received the letter attempts to use it in his efforts to have Kerry excommunicated.

    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0405749.htm
     
  8. Oct 19, 2004 #7

    selfAdjoint

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    They won't say, Because

    NOT!
     
  9. Oct 19, 2004 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    What's more, Kerry is not pro-abortion. He is protecting the US Constitution - The separation of Church and State. Since he swore to defend the Constitution with his life, would you expect any less?

    -- John Kerry; Tempe Ariz.
     
  10. Oct 19, 2004 #9
    selfAdjoint has begun to clarify two of the main issues herein.

    Tax Exempt Status:

    Religions may espouse a philosophical principle as much as they like so long as they do not address specific voting issues. In the case of Ratzinger, he can address sin and voting for indiviuals who support legistation he feels allow or encourage sin, so long as he never specifies any individuals.

    Ratzinger's error, if I've heard the issue correctly, is that he has mentioned Kerry by name.

    Exceptions:

    I'm not sure how its divided, but a complaint of voting involvement can be lodged with the IRS. Each grouping, however, they're divided, is allowed one validated complaint against them every 4 years, without loosing their tax exempt status.

    Voting as a Sin:

    Keep in mind, for something to be a sin, the individual must know that what they are doing is a sin and do it anyway. This largely defies what Ratzinger says. It could, however, be argued that anyone who has heard Ratzinger's words now knows it is a sin.
     
  11. Oct 19, 2004 #10

    selfAdjoint

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    onegermanbeerglass, (Hi albert, great handle!) I agree with what you say.
    1. I did not know that Ratzinger had mentioned Kerry by name. But even if he did, unless he specificallly said don't vote for Kerry, he's in the clear.
    2. You would have to read Ratzinger's whole letter, or a Catholic analysis of it*, to see how he tentatively imputes sin to the voter who says "I voted for Kerry, yes I know he is soft on abortion, but that wasn't why I voted for him." As for the voter who just didn't know, well that one is not a subject of the discussion. The church is making every effort to spread the word.


    *I am basing my discussion on an article in a Catholic weekly they are still sending me.
     
  12. Oct 21, 2004 #11
  13. Oct 21, 2004 #12
    Considering the circumstances as I understand them, those Catholics who continue to deny the wrongness of abortion after being warned, may be considered "obstinate sinners" (see the linked article in post 6, above from "one Vatican official") IF that is the case, how would this classification square with canon 915 –

    http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/canon/c0840-1165.htm#par1907

    Anyone have an opinion?
     
  14. Oct 21, 2004 #13

    selfAdjoint

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    Right. The pastor of a church can deny communion to an obstinate sinner. That is not the same as excommunication, as the canon law you cite makes clear ("..and others..")
     
  15. Oct 21, 2004 #14
    If you want a legitimate complaint from a catholic about Kerry, try this one:

    Catholics are not supposed to take communion at non-catholic churches.

    Kerry took communion while at an african american episcapalian church in Florida. The church, I believe, pays taxes as well....
     
  16. Oct 21, 2004 #15

    selfAdjoint

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    Catholics are these days "encouraged" not to take communion in other churches except on special occasions (combined faith fests and such). but a lot of Catholics do it, for example at mixed weddings, anyway. I don't think doing this once in a while would make you an "obstinate sinner". It's not the same as proclaiming all communions are equal.

    Added: Catholics are allowed to take communion at Orthodox cermonies, and vice versa.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2004
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