Friday, November 21, 2008



Cardinal George said after the last meeting of the U.S. Bishops that the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense and the church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. Formal cooperation, the Cardinal further explained could involve you even though you are not actually assisting in the performance of the act of aborting a child and you would be culpable. With regard to any Catholic legislator voting for FOCA the Cardinal said, "We would have to take a look at each case, and at each law, to determine whether or not the cooperation is material or formal. We’ve never done that.”

They have had the opportunity to do that. I have previously joined in canonical petitions for excommunication against several long time Catholic pro-abortion public officials. Those petitions were never given a hearing by the Cardinals and Bishops of those pro-abortion Catholic legislators and public officials.

Article 22 of the Declaration on Procured Abortion by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1974, states: " It must in any case be clearly understood that whatever may be laid down by civil law in this matter, man can never obey a law which is in itself immoral, and such is the case of a law which would admit in principle the liceity of abortion. Nor can he take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it. Moreover, he may not collaborate in its application."

Isn’t it clear from Art. 22 that it is formal cooperation with intrinsic evil if a Catholic legislator publicly supports and votes for any type of legal killing of unborn humans, except to prevent a worse abortion law, as clarified in Art. 73 of Evangelium Vitae. All the Bishops in Uruguay said it is formal cooperation if a Catholic legislator voted to legalize abortion in their country.

The Supreme Court decision to legalize murder of unborn children could be overturned by the Congress in several ways, but many of the Catholic legislators have voted to uphold the murder decision of the court. Catholic legislators have been informed of the Catholic teaching ever since Roe v. Wade was decided, so they cannot plead ignorance for their denial of basic Catholic doctrine, or their obstinate disobedience to the laws of God and the Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict XVI told journalists on his trip to South America that the Bishops in Mexico City were correct in warning legislators they would be excommunicated and denied the Eucharist if they voted to legalize abortion. The Pope did not state any other conditions necessary for excommunication, other than a vote to legalize murder.

With regard to the FREEDOM OF CHOICE ACT, why does Cardinal George or any Bishop need to wait and see what the final legislation will be? The provisions of the Act are already known and are unlikely to be changed on the final vote. There is a web site called which lists every Catholic U.S. Congressman and Senator and their life issues voting record. Why have the bishops waited 36 years to act, while the South American Bishops act proactively by notifying Catholic legislators in their countries that the Canon law provisions for excommunication and denial of Holy Communion will be applied if the Catholics legislators vote for legalized abortion?

The voting polls after the November 4th elections show that most Catholic voters did not make abortion their primary concern in deciding how to vote. Only 29% said they would vote against a candidate because of the candidate’s abortion views; and 53% said a good Catholic could vote for a pro-abortion candidate. Less than a third of Catholic voters appear to vote solely on abortion attitudes.

The fact is that not even one of the most outspoken Catholic legislators who promotes and votes for legal killing of unborn children has been excommunicated, and very few Bishops deny Communion to Catholic legislators who remain obstinately in support of and vote for legal abortion. This failure of the U.S. Bishops to be unified in protecting the Catholic faith and Catholic faithful must certainly be a major cause in the tragic failure of Catholic voters to vote according to a well formed conscience, because they could not form a correct Catholic conscience from the Bishops failure to identify pro-abortion Catholic politicians by excommunication or even by denial of Communion to them.

I believe that if the Bishops had complied with the Canons that provide for excommunication and denial of Holy Communion when legalized abortion came through the courts we would not have this crisis now. But it is not too late, so I pray the Bishops will have courage to try and save the eternal lives of the Catholic legislators and judges who vote and rule to kill innocent humans, and correct the scandal that Catholic judges, legislators and bishops have given and caused so many Catholics to be confused in moral judgment and in their faith.

Cliff Zarsky, JD, KGCHS

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