As said in the previous post, Cardinal Burke gave an address at a conference in Rome last week. The conference was called, "Catholic Church: Where Are You Going?" He broached the consequences of any needed disobedience to Pope Francis. He is speaking primarily of the direction that Amoralis Lamentia explicitly states in its infamous chapter 8 footnote regarding the administration of Holy Communion to adulterers.
The question of excommunication was raised. The Cardinal said we must be ready to suffer such consequences with Christian patience.
My question is, if such an attempt at excommunication was made, would that excommunication be valid? Perhaps that "consequence" would not even exist in fact. Excommunication just can't be done willy-nilly, at the drop of a hat. Specific conditions must be met for a valid excommunication, along with specific protocol to be followed.
The Catholic New Advent Encyclopedia has a treatise on excommunication. One sections says, and I quote, "Catholics on the contrary, cannot be excommunicated unless for some personal, grievously offensive act. Here, therefore, it is necessary to state with precision the conditions under which this penalty is incurred." Right there we see that excommunication can only occur as a consequence of a "grievously offensive act". What would be these acts that would cause excommunication? They'd have to be objectively sinful, correct? Ruffling the feathers of a church leader and/or pricking his conscience would not constitute an "offensive act"!
Moving on down that article, we read, "An excommunication is said to be null when it is invalid because of some intrinsic or essential defect, e.g. when the inflicting it has no jurisdiction, when the motive of the excommunication is manifestly incorrect and inconsistent, or when the excommunication is essentially defective in form." Therefore, I ask that if an attempt at excommunication is made in the absence of a mortal sin, does that "excommunication" have any consequence?
I for one think not. In the face of these considerations, I cannot see how one so "excommunicated" could, in good conscience, submit to that. In so doing, he/she would be cooperating with the sin of an abuse of ecclesial authority. He/she would actually be validating an act of abuse and dishonesty.
The cardinal is right to broach these matters. Given the trajectory of this papacy, especially the manners in which traditional orders and faithful prelates have been thrown under the bus (including Cardinal Burke himself), draconian attempts at excommunication are clearly within the realm of real possibilities. I can see where some might think the proper response to that kind of abuse might be to acquiesce to it and comply with the "excommunication". I do not believe it is inherently virtuous to roll over and play dead like that. Evil must be resisted. If no excommunication really exists in fact, we cannot pretend that it does. Such lies must be disobeyed, just like the lie of admissibility of adulterers to Holy Communion.
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