Thursday, October 04, 2007

It's starting earlier this time

Such was Rudolph Giuliani's response to St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke's statement that Burke would deny Giuliani Communion should the former NY mayor present himself. Giuliani is facing pressure from Christian conservatives and Catholics for his support of abortion rights. I don't know what positive action Giuliani has ever taken to make abortion available though. Can you be denied Communion for thinking something?

Burke--who gets points at least for applying his no-Communion rule to both the GOP and Democrats--said, however, that the death penalty and preemptive war were different. "It's a little more complicated in that case," he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In the abortion case, however, Burke says Giuliani is "publicly sinning." I think a preemptive war is a pretty public sin. The death penalty is committed in public, too.

Though I'm no fan of Giuliani myself, I think Burke is wrong on canonical grounds. A penalty like exclusion from Communion has a pretty high bar--directly procuring an actual abortion, or directly aiding the procurement of an actual one--a real act, not just a thought, or a political speech.


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