David Carlin, a reasonable fellow, raises the question of whether our bishops should excommunicate Catholic elected officials who consistently support pro-choice (pro-abortion) positions (Our Sunday Visitor, Sept. 17). He sees it as a question worthy of debate.
Carlin is concerned that if Catholic pro-abortion politicians arent excommunicated, the question arises whether the Catholic Church in America stands for Catholicism. But! On the other hand, Carlin sees weighty reasons for not excommunicating them, and so he says Im still far from being convinced [that] excommunication is a good idea . His reasons:
(1) It wouldnt deter the politicians in question.
(2) Those politicians would garner popularity by claiming that they are being persecuted for voting their conscience and for refusing to be dictated to by Rome and its episcopal minions.
(3) Excommunication would resurrect the old anti-Catholic accusations that Catholics are incapable of intellectual independence, and that a good Catholic cannot be a good American, since his or her first loyalty is to a foreign prince [the Pope] .
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