Action Alert!

it takes two...

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Sep 27, 2006

Let's say that you and I get in a heated argument, and eventually we both lose our tempers. As I stomp out of the room, just before I slam the door, I tell you that I'm taking your name off my Christmas-card list.

Now let's say that you respond by stomping your own foot, and saying that you are still on my Christmas-card list.

(I don't really act that way. Neither do you. We're just pretending.)

You lose that argument, right? I'm the one who maintains my Christmas-card list. If I say you're not on it, then you're not on it. It doesn't matter whether or not you "accept" my decision.

According to a AP news report, Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo has rejected the Vatican's announcement that he is excommunicated. Excommunication is, to put it mildly, a more serious thing than being stricken from someone's Christmas-card list. But there's a logical principle in play here, which even a reporter for a secular news outlet should understand.

When the Vatican announces that someone is excommunicated-- in this case, Archbishop Milingo-- what it means is that the Holy See will no longer share communion with him. It doesn't matter whether or not he "accepts" that ruling. He's free to show up in Rome, looking for acknowledgment of his ecclesial status. But he won't get it-- any more than you'll get a Christmas card from me after our fight.

That's not so hard to understand, is it? Now try to explain to the editor of your local paper. Good luck.

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