Saturday, October 23, 2004

Straight thoughts 124

October 23, 2004

When charitable and religious organizations are held ransom by the federal government, and told that they could lose their charitable status if they criticize politicians, then private citizens must take over.

That is what Mr. Mark Balestrieri, a Canon lawyer in Santa Monica, California, did. He filed a heresy complaint under Canon (Catholic) law against John Kerry, who defines himself a Catholic while contradicting the teachings of the catholic Church.

He then wrote a letter to the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith asking the following two questions:

The first: Whether or not the church's teaching condemning any direct abortion is a dogma of Divine and Catholic Faith, and if the denial and doubt of the same constitutes heresy.

The second: Whether or not a denial of the church's teaching condemning every right to abortion also constitutes heresy.

The secretary of the Congregation for Doctrine of the faith (Rev. Augustine DiNoia) asked Fr. Basil Cole of the Dominican House in Washington D.C. to respond to Mr. Balestrieri (according to the text of the response mentioned below).

In his response, Fr. Cole responded to the two questions in the affirmative. Even if such a response is never "official" as the Catholic Church does not "officially" respond to lay people, the content of the teaching is theologically and legally indisputable.

Fr, Cole concluded by saying that "If a Catholic publicly and obsitinately supports the civil right to abortion, knowing that the Church teaches officially against that legislation, he or she commits that heresy envisioned by Can.751 of the Code. Provided that the presumption of knowledge of the law and penalty (Can. 15, Par. 2) and imputability (Can. 1321, Par. 3) are not rebutted in the external forum, one is automatically excommunicated according to Can. 1364, Par. 1."

The letter never referred to any one particular name and its conclusions are valid for all Catholics.

Consequently, I find Hon. Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario and Hon. Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada, both defining themselves as Catholics and both supporting the civil right to abortion, guilty of the same offense, heretic according to Can. 751 and automatically excommunicated, according to Can. 1364, Par. 1, presuming that they are knowledgeable of the law and the penalty.

All news media have a responsibility to inform their readership that these prominent leaders are heretic and are automatically excommunicated from the Catholic Church. They should not be allowed to gain voters' support by spreading the misleading impression that they are "good Catholics".

In addition, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith published a Doctrinal Note "On some Questions regarding the Participation of Catholics in political life" made public on January 16, 2003. This document instructs organizations founded on Catholic principles not to repeat past mistakes
"in which support has been given to political forces or movements with positions contrary to the moral and social teaching of the Church on fundamental ethical questions. Such activities, in contradiction to basic principles of Christian conscience, are not compatible with membership in organizations or associations which define themselves as Catholic."

All major political parties in Ontario, Liberals, PC and NDP, have policies and party leaders promoting the civil right to abortion, among other positions contrary to the moral and social teaching of the Church on fundamental ethical questions.

Consequently, Catholic publications and Catholic organizations must withdraw their support for these political parties even when individual pro-life and pro-family representatives of these parties, in good faith, request their help.

The moral justification of "choosing the least of the evils", in this case is not applicable, since an option exists: the Family Coalition Party and its leader hold positions consistent with the moral and social teaching of the Church on fundamental ethical questions.