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A busy day in canon law: Canon 915, excommunication, and Bp. Morlino, all different issues

January 9, 2013

1. As indicated back in November 2012 when my essay on Canon 915, “Fencing the Altar”, appeared in First Things, a longer version of that essay was coming out; well, it has just appeared in Christifidelis , the newsletter of the St. Joseph Foundation in San Antonio TX, under the title “Participation in holy Communion by unworthy Catholics”. A PDF version of the article is here, and a text-only format here. I much appreciate the opportunity to bring the implications of Canon 915 before the wider secular audience of First Things, and in more detail to the Catholic audience of Christifidelis. My larger resource page on Canon 915 is here. That page really is, I think, the one-stop spot for understanding Canon 915 and its important role in Church life today. I update the page regularly.

2. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, a Catholic, is pushing the ‘gay marriage’ agenda in the Land of Lincoln to the obvious and rightful chagrin of Catholics faithful to the natural law (not to mention, to Church teaching) on marriage. But in calling for Quinn’s excommunication, specifically his automatic excommunication, the Rockford Pro-Life Initiative betray their lack of understanding of Church law and succeed mainly in diverting attention away  from Quinn’s grave failure to perform his civic duties properly and toward the intricacies of canon law. Support for so-called ‘gay-marriage’ is not an excommunicable offense (see Book Six of the 1983 Code) and it cannot be made one except in accord with Canons 1314-1318, none of which has been put on the table. Meanwhile Canon 1369 gets ignored again, and for that matter, Canon 915 is overlooked as possible response. May I suggest, once again, that people who want to invoke canon law for this cause or that, should engage in some elementary canonical research before pronouncing away.

3. Bp. Morlino of Madison has a very interesting decree of abrogation regarding earlier diocesan legislation and, it seems, of various customs in that local Church; it seems to me to be canonical form of housekeeping that civil states need to perform from time to time and it warrants a closer look by anyone concerned with good order in the Church. I’m trying to track down more info on it now, but wanted to note it for others. (I understand it will be on the diocesan website in a few hours.)

Well, that should hold us for the rest of the morning. Wonder what the afternoon will bring?

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