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 CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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