Bishops Bow to Cuomo

News: Commentary
by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  •  January 28, 2019   

Canonist Ed Peters: Cardinal Dolan or Bishop Scharfenberger could excommunicate Cuomo

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Top canonist Ed Peters is explaining how radical pro-abortion Gov. Andrew Cuomo could be excommunicated by New York's archbishop, Cdl. Timothy Dolan, and Bp. Edward Scharfenberger of Albany.

In an article published in Catholic World Report on Thursday, Peters clarified that Cuomo has "committed acts that, in my view, suffice to invoke penal Canon 1369 against him."

Canon 1369 reads: "A person who in a public show or speech, in published writing, or in other uses of the instruments of social communication utters blasphemy, gravely injures good morals, expresses insults, or excites hatred or contempt against religion or the Church is to be punished with a just penalty."

Peters adds that either Scharfenberger or Dolan could use this canon to excommunicate Cuomo: "Penal jurisdiction in this matter rests with the bishop of Albany (as the place where some or all of the canonically criminal conduct was committed, per Canon 1412) and/or with the archbishop of New York (as the place where Cuomo apparently has canonical domicile, per Canon 1408)."

Some bishops believe that it's not pastoral to excommunicate anyone. Some bishops, like Bp. Richard Stika of Knoxville, Tennessee and Bp. Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, however, believe it is necessary for the good of the politician's soul as well as to avoid scandalizing the faithful.

On Thursday, Stika tweeted, "Excommunication is to be not a punishment but to bring the person back into the Church. It's like medicine for them."

Bishop Strickland supported Stika, tweeting, "I'm with Bishop Stika. I'm not in a position to take action regarding legislation in New York but I implore bishops who are to speak out forcefully. In any sane society this is called INFANTICIDE!!!!!!!!!!"

Catholic commentators like Msgr. Charles Pope are calling bishops to not only speak but to also take strong action for the sake of the pro-abortion politician and to avoid scandalizing the faithful. On Wednesday, Pope wrote:

To date, the Catholic bishops of New York have issued a statement expressing dismay and "profound sadness" and rang a church bell in protest. Respectfully, that is not enough. Canonical penalties are due to the governor and other Catholics who voted for this legislation. This is necessary both for the common good, to avoid the scandal of tolerance of evil, and as a strong summons to the governor and others to repent before the Day of Judgment.

Watch the panel discuss how excommunication is needed to save pro-abortion politicians in The Download—Bishops Bow to Cuomo.

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