Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan responded to calls for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s excommunication for his role in enshrining a “fundamental right” to virtually-unlimited abortion in the state, saying via a spokesperson that excommunication is “not an appropriate response.”
Asked by CNN Religion Editor Dan Burke about the calls for Gov. Cuomo to be excommunicated over New York’s new abortion bill, Dolan’s spokesman said he would “not discuss any individual,” but that “excommunication should not be used as a weapon.”
I asked @CardinalDolan‘s spokesman about the calls for Gov. Cuomo to be excommunicated over NY’s new abortion bill. While emphasizing that this should not be considered a comment on any specific person, he said excommunication “should not be used as a weapon.” Full statement: pic.twitter.com/Ri3p8wRxuv
— Daniel Burke (@BurkeCNN) January 25, 2019
“First, excommunication should not be used as a weapon. Too often, I fear, those who call for someone’s excommunication do so out of anger or frustration. Second, notable canon lawyers have said that, under canon law, excommunication is not an appropriate response to a politician who supports or votes for legislation advancing abortion. Third, from a pastoral perspective, if a pastor—and a bishop is certainly a pastor of a diocese—knows of a grave situation involving a parishioner, it is his duty to address that issue personally and directly with the parishioner.”
But many disagree. When people procure an abortion they automatically excommunicate themselves. Some think that this applies to politicians who make abortion legal. Professor Robert T. Miller explained it this way:
The Church has embodied in canon 1398 her judgment that procuring an abortion is a crime so serious that it warrants the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae … when Catholic politicians violate the canon, the Church should declare openly that they have incurred the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae .
It should be noted that German bishops excommunicated ALL members of the Nazi Party in 1931.
The Bishop of Albany—Bishop Scharfenberger—would have the responsibility of excommunication of Governor Andrew Cuomo who currently presides at the Governor’s mansion there. Scharfenberger has been much more critical of Cuomo and the bill, calling it the Death Star of the state:
And at least two Catholic bishops say they would excommunicate Cuomo for championing and signing the so-called Reproductive Health Act (RHA), earlier this week on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The radical abortion bill codified legal abortion up to birth in New York state law, an act of preservation by pro-aborts should Roe v. Wade be overturned by the Supreme Court.
Knoxville, Tennessee, Bishop Richard Stika and Tyler Texas, Bishop Joseph Strickland both indicated that if Cuomo lived in their jurisdiction they would take action. Strickland urged Cuomo’s ordinaries to do so.