he never said it

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Aug 31, 2006

When is the news not news?

Yesterday we saw, floating around the internet, a report that a Colombian cardinal had announced the excommunication of everyone involved in Colombia's first legal abortion: a procedure performed, with the approval of the nation's highest court, on an 11-year-old girl who had reportedly been raped. The story was interesting, but something about it looked wrong.

The prelate being cited in the report was Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo-- who, although he is Colombian, is currently assigned to the Vatican. Why would he be making this comment? Shouldn't any announcement about excommunications come from one of Colombia's residential bishops?

We decided to hold off on the report, unless/until we could clarify things.

Well, things are now clear. The story was inaccurate.

Sometimes readers ask why a story that appeared in the secular papers didn't find its way onto the CWN site-- or, conversely, why a CWN story didn't reach the secular media. The answer is simple: We have different standards.

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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  • Posted by: - Sep. 02, 2006 11:57 AM ET USA

    Saint Charles Borromeo sounds like my man ! It makes me ponder the Confiteor and that 'new wave' of 'sensitivity' which entered the Church forty years ago, and piously thought they were telling us something new, possibly with a lisp, "Yes, he may have done some things that are wrong, but what about all those awful people who don't do anything when they should ? (Enter "et omissione" and drop "Maxima culpa") Well, now its payback time. Please Bishops, step up to the plate, and do your job !

  • Posted by: parochus - Sep. 01, 2006 12:33 PM ET USA

    surewish Three persons were publically excommunicated in the Archdiocese of New Orleans in the late 50's or early 60's by his grace then Archboishop Cody. All but one was reconciled through the offices of Archbishop Philip M. Hannan, Cody's successor, much to his credit and local esteem, not because of the persons involved or the issue (racisim and public defamation of the Church) ut for his genuine desire for the reconciliation b the Church and their public contrition. pan

  • Posted by: - Sep. 01, 2006 9:37 AM ET USA

    During St Charles Borromeo's Lutheranism counter-reformation - He, with the authority of the Pope would pronounce the words of excommunication as he was booted out of monasteries that resisted giving up their worldly-ways. There was at least one instance where that wayward community repented and begged to be accepted back in the Church. As a penance they publicly came on their knees annually to beg forgiveness with tears and sorrow, God inspired their hearts thru the REALITY of excomm perhaps?

  • Posted by: - Aug. 31, 2006 8:16 PM ET USA

    Excommunicated? I meant to say "recently", as in the lat 50 years, or so. Except, of course, Father Feeney or Abp. LeFebvre and a few other pesonalities who give "Preservatives" a bad name. Sure wish the leaders and intellectuals who encode Canon Law and interpret its meaning would spell out what the results of heresy, or apostasy, or abortion or whatever, actually have been for specific ordinary members of the Church - DEATH. Dr. X can no longer receive Holy Communion. He is out.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 31, 2006 10:53 AM ET USA

    I wonder if anyone has actually been publicly excommunicated by the Church, Roman or local, ever. --- So where does this leave the situation? Is the story about an inaccurate news report? What's so special about that? Why shouldn't the story be along the line that the Church avoided another PRIME opportunity to instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish the sinner and to pray for the living (survivors)? Oh, what the heck, that's only merciful !

  • Posted by: - Aug. 31, 2006 10:39 AM ET USA

    Different standards? How about the difference being having standards and not having standards. Thanks for all you do.