Saturday, November 22, 2008


Catholic News Service reports

Catholic members of Congress who vote for the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) could face “automatic excommunication” if the act is determined to be “formal cooperation” in the evil of abortion....

At a press conference at the fall meeting of the USCCB held in Baltimore last week, CNSNews.com asked Cardinal George if the language in the Catholic Catechism that says “formal cooperation” in abortion incurs the penalty of excommunication would apply to a Catholic member of Congress voting for FOCA.

“The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense and the church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life,” CNSNews.com asked.

“If openly Catholic politicians vote for this Freedom of Choice Act, which would pretty much allow unfettered access to abortion in the United States, would it be an automatic grounds for excommunication? But even if it’s not automatic … could you just explain the process of the excommunication?” CNSNews.com added.

“The excommunication is automatic if that act is in fact formal cooperation, and that is precisely what would have to be discussed once you would see the terms of the act itself,” responded George.

“Could you expand on that, Cardinal,” a reporter asked.

“The categories in moral theology about cooperating in evil, which make you complicit in the evil even though you don’t do it yourself, are material cooperation, which is usually remote and therefore doesn’t involve you in the moral action except in a very auxiliary and minor way, and formal cooperation, which would involve you even though you are not doing it, in the way that makes you culpable,” said George.

“So we would have to take a look at each case, and at each law, to determine whether or not the cooperation is material or formal. We’ve never done that,” he added.

Thanks to a reader for the link.

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