Ed Peters is no mean canonist; in fact, he is on the faculty of Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. So is Monica Miller, on the Theo faculty.
Their in-house disagreement over the excommunication status of women procuring abortions has been going on for a while. See our previous post here, and follow the link in that post to the prior foofafferie. All of this stems from Cdl. Dolan's poorly-handled interview on Fox, where the Cardinal assumed the "defense" mode common to churchmen in the last half of the last century. +Dolan was excusing himself for not body-slamming Cuomo for the license-to-murder law he signed in New York--an excuse which +Dolan should never have presented.
Yesterday, Peters presented a weak-tea argument: that since ....ohh.....maybe....50 million Catholic women have procured abortions, the automatic excommunication should NOT be imposed. He bases this argument on the US Bishops' successful petition for change in the ex-comm penalty for obtaining a divorce.
But the excommunication for abortion can be released in the Sacrament of Penance, which is not a very high bar; it's not like obtaining an appointment with a Bishop (not easy to do, by the way) for the same purpose, as was the case with the divorce dustup.
There's another difference between divorce and abortion: abortion is one of the sins crying to Heaven for vengeance (it's murder, after all.) Divorce is not one of those.
(Digression: when did you last hear of 'sins crying to Heaven for vengeance' in a sermon? Hmmmmmm??)
It's a debate worth having, and Miller gets support from another heavyweight Canon lawyer over at CUF/St Joseph Foundation. Happy to see Miller making the case that some people just need to be ex-comm'd.
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