Posted by Joseph Knippenberg
This WSJ piece reminds us of one of the last times an Archbishop issued, and actually made good, on a threat of excommunication.
1962 was a different time from today. The Catholic Church has far less authority today in the lives of the average American Catholic, and is seen as far less a monolithic presence to the non-Catholic than it was back then.
But perhaps more importantly, there exists today a deep well of unbelief not only in the Catholic Church's authority, but also in some of the most basic concepts of God and morality. That unbelief is held by not just Catholics, but most people who call themselves "Christian." Years of relativism has eroded the certainty of mind that God exists and that He might have a view of "Good" and "Bad." Further, in the minds of many people, being free to do whatever they wish is seen as such a "good" thing that they've come to believe that surely God must agree. After all, "how can God not want me to be happy?" Such is the state of things today.
I doubt Guiliani fears excommunication. Either spiritually or politically. It just doesn't mean the same thing now as it did 45 years ago.
Oh that photo op at the local communion rail, though. Can't do without that.
I wish some Bishop would carry out one excomm, just once. It would be awesome.
First, I am struck by how modulated Bishop Tobin's statement is, more invitation-like than condemnatory. Rudy could very easily conform to the general gist, which is to teach constantly that abortion is wrong in more general terms (not just "I'm personally opposed," but "abortion is wrong"). Would that be more inconsistent? I don't think so. Then he could say that our Constitution takes political precedence and that the SC determines the constitutional status of abortion, and leave out the women being put in jail. But I've said this before....
Next, does anyone besides me find Rummel's excommunications ridiculous, unjust, arbitrary and capricious? What specific Church moral teaching were the excommunicants violating? Will someone someday be excommunicated by the Church for supporting capital punishment?
I wouldn't be surprised if the Dems would cheer a Giuliani excommunication, just as they supported Rummels. Don't look for it, though. Tobin at this point looks to be in a teaching mode rather than an excommunicatin' one.
A relevant anecdote. RG was here in Spartanburg Ash Wednesday for an evening fund-raiser which we attended. He hadn't yet received ashes and had his staff call the local parish church. Well, I hadn't either nor had my daughter, so we went along with him. The priest met us privately in Church, RG and the few of us knelt to pray, received ashes and a blessing and had some bonhommie with the priest. Then I took a picture of Rudy and my daughter, both with ashes on their foreheads in front of the altar! Rudy is very Catholic in his demeanor and social relationships, unlike Kerry for example. Priests like him. But he needs to be even more astute to bring this off.
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