Action Alert!

Logic running in reverse

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Oct 22, 2004

A respected American theologian has argued that a Catholic who publicly supports abortion is subject to excommunication.

The theologian's argument was prompted by an American canon lawyer's queries to the Vatican. We now know-- in fact, we always did know-- that the theologian's arguments are unofficial; they do not constitute a formal Vatican statement.

Nevertheless, the arguments are strong ones. The authority of the theologian's statement may be disputed, but the logic is powerful, and so his conclusion has to be taken seriously.

But you can count on the folks at the National Catholic Reporter to cram the facts into their own ideological mold. In this case, the NCR has concluded that:

  • Since Father Cole argues that people like Kerry are subject to excommunication
  • But Father Cole was offering an "unofficial" opinion, not a Vatican policy
  • Therefore Kerry is not subject to excommunication.

Let's see:

I say 2 + 2 = 4.

But I'm not a mathematical authority. In fact I flunked trigonometry.

So does that prove 2 + 2 = 5?

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Oct. 22, 2004 5:16 PM ET USA

    If we were to descend into the mire of "liberal"-think for a moment, we could conclude that half a "liberal" brain plus half a "liberal" brain = NO brain. They do not THINK : they emote.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 22, 2004 2:21 PM ET USA

    Human pride will not ordinarily allow someone to accept even the truth of 2+2=4, if that fact runs counter to a person's other cherished beliefs. This is why the world is awash with "christian" churches, all of whom deny one or more basic dogmas of the True Faith. Pseudo-catholic Democrats who support their party's stand in favor of abortion "rights" simply refuse to see the enormity of this error, no matter the logic or authority one appeals to. In the end, only Divine grace can help them.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Oct. 22, 2004 1:35 PM ET USA

    CNS quoted an unnamed Vatican source who said simply "Kerry is not a heretic". This statement was the led in the New York Times, AP, and newspapers which use their wire services. Shame on CNS for using an unnamed source. The fact that Cole is being disavowed and Balestrieri is accused of having "hoodwinked" them the Vatican is a signal of something.