Sunday, January 25, 2009

Has the Church Lost Moral Authority- Lifting Excommunications and the Prisoners at Gitmo

As certain as death and taxes the secular media has pretty much got the whole lifting of the excommunications wrong on the SSPX Bishops. Bishop Williamson is of course at the center of the fray and Jewish voices are very upset.

Again to see what is really going on see AmyWelborns' link

To see International reaction and also how the Press does not seem to know what is going on see this page of the Ratzinger Forum where news reports have been gathered and many translated.

I was very struck by this post The Holocaust-Denying Catholic Bishop & the Church's Battered Moral Authority

There is much wrong with that piece and the comments while predictable are a tad disheartening

I made a couple of comments here is one:

One thought here on "Moral Authority". I find it curious that over the last few years that has been such angst over the Prisoners in Gitmo- THEY NEED Due Process, What About the Right of Habeus Corpus!! We are a Nation of laws.

The message is whether you agree with it or not was our moral authority was hurt because we should give even to people that want to destroy us give Due Process and other norms available to American.

Strangely though this argument seems to being ignored in this case. It does not matter that all Catholics have rights under Canon Law. Lets us now go back and keep this Bishop excommunicated on the basis of something that is not in Canon Law. How can a Church gain moral authority when it acts in such a way.

As put well on another forum "He cannot exclude Williamson because his decision was a sort of administrative 'class action' - you revoke for one, you revoke for all - whose underlying issue was a matter of canon law, and had nothing to do with the morals or common sense of those involved, only with their obedience and compliance!]

In the end the lifting of excommunications basically means like a billion other Catholics he can receive the Sacraments. It is a canonical punishment that, in practice, only means being excluded from receiving the sacraments - which may not mean much to most people who are 'excommunicable' - but which, in fact, the Church does not impose for civil or criminal offenses, not even on self-confessed mass murderers as I mentioned above.

It would be interesting to follow this line of thought advocated by some to it's logical consequences. Lay Catholics (on all parts of the scale conservative liberal) throw words like excommunication a tad too freely. Should we excommunicate every Catholic that advocates pro-choice views in the press. Should VP Joe Biden be excommunicated as well as Speaker Pelosi for misrepresenting the Church's views on Meet the Press. The problem is if that could happen under the modes of Canon Law is not so clear cut. While what they said was horrible and a scandal they have rights. Should those rights be ignored and shall Pope Benedict be making up on the spot? How does that help "Moral Authority".

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