The automatically excommunicated schismatics at LifeSiteNews want the Pope they constantly malign to excommunicated President Biden. The hypocrisy is stunning.
Here is a link to the petition. The crux of the petition is found in this paragraph:
“Please SIGN this urgent petition to Pope Francis urging him to tell Biden that he will face formal excommunication because of his public and obstinate promotion of abortion, and that if he wishes to return to communion with the Church he must immediately and publicly stop and repent from his active support of the culture of death.”
Excommunication is either latae sententiae or ferendae sententiae. But I believe that Biden is already excommunicated, latae sententiae, per Evangelium Vitae:
Pope Saint John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae, 62:
“The Church’s canonical discipline, from the earliest centuries, has inflicted penal sanctions on those guilty of abortion. This practice, with more or less severe penalties, has been confirmed in various periods of history. The 1917 Code of Canon Law punished abortion with excommunication. The revised canonical legislation continues this tradition when it decrees that ‘a person who actually procures an abortion incurs automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication’. The excommunication affects all those who commit this crime with knowledge of the penalty attached, and thus includes those accomplices without whose help the crime would not have been committed. By this reiterated sanction, the Church makes clear that abortion is a most serious and dangerous crime, thereby encouraging those who commit it to seek without delay the path of conversion. In the Church the purpose of the penalty of excommunication is to make an individual fully aware of the gravity of a certain sin and then to foster genuine conversion and repentance.”
Such accomplices certainly include those legislators and executives who approve of legislation, when the new law newly authorizes direct abortion or newly expands or newly funds abortion. Now excommunication is usually subject to the provision that the person must know, at the time of the offense, that the penalty exists. However, I believe it is sufficient in cases of very broad increase in abortion by the action of one or a few persons that they know the gravity of the offense under Church teaching. For then any reasonable person would conclude that they are necessarily rejecting the Church Herself by such extreme offense against such an important moral matter, e.g. an increase in abortion by the thousands or far more, and therefore are necessarily subject to penalties from the Church.
By comparison, if your friend asks you not to do something, and tells you that if you do this act, you will not be friends any more, that is like acting with knowledge of the penalty. But in some cases, any reasonable person would know, without advance warning from their friend, that certain types of acts are entirely incompatible with continued friendship, and would result in loss of friendship (with all related losses, such as no longer being received into that friend’s home). In an historical example, when Napoleon attacked the papal states, he and all those involved were excommunicated. They need not have been warned in advance, as any reasonable person could conclude that such an attack is incompatible with communion in the Church.
Biden and other legislators, in any nation, who authorize, expand, or fund abortion are automatically excommunicated (latae sententiae). Whether the Church ought to inform them and act to prevent reception of holy Communion is for the Roman Pontiff to decide. But the Church should not act in this manner only in one nation and not others, at least not without a grave or substantial reason. Such a decision should generally be worldwide, and would have, possibly, grave political consequences in some or many nations, perhaps harming the ability of the faithful in some places to worship in peace. It is not manifest or obligatory for the Roman Pontiff to publicly declare such an excommunication. These legislators know that they are acting gravely contrary to Church teaching; even atheists know that the Church strongly opposes abortion. They will be judged by God.
If Pope Francis were to comply with the LifeSiteNews petition, this would wrongly give the impression that the Church is run by petitions, that the faithful ought to make decisions just as if they were the visible Head of the Church, and that they ought to multiply petitions to all the Bishops and to the Pope. That is not how Christ designed and founded His Church. The Pope should ignore the LSN petition. But if he decides at any time to declare who is and is not automatically excommunicated, schismatics and heretics rank highly on that list.
Why is the petition of LifeSiteNews hypocritical? It is because the leaders and some authors at LSN, especially John-Henry Westen, have repeatedly publicly committed heresy and schism, causing them to fall under the penalty of canon law of automatic excommunication (latae sententiae). Anyone who commits formal heresy or formal schism is automatically excommunicated.
Canon 751: “Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.”
Can. 915 “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”
Can. 916 A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition which includes the resolution of confessing as soon as possible.
Canon 1364 §1: “an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.”
Canon Law 1373: “A person who publicly incites among subjects animosities or hatred against the Apostolic See or an ordinary because of some act of power or ecclesiastical ministry or provokes subjects to disobey them is to be punished by an interdict or other just penalties.”
Canon 1404: The First See is judged by no one. [Current Code of Canon Law]
Canon 1556: The Primatial See can be judged by no one. [Previous Code]
John-Henry Westen and others at LifeSiteNews have openly rebelled against the authority of the Roman Pontiff, against the authority of the body of Bishops led by the Pope at Vatican II, and have repeatedly promoted and supported the extreme offenses against the Church of schismatic and heretical bishop Carlo Vigano, as well as schismatic bishop Athanasius Schneider. They have refused submission to Pope Francis. They have violated the ancient teaching and law in the Church, a dogmatic teaching, that the First See is judged by no one. They have repeatedly judged Pope Francis, and judged unjustly. They have promoted articles that viciously attack the Roman Pontiff in his exercise of the Keys of Saint Peter. They have acted and spoken so as to imply a rejection of the dogmas of the indefectibility of the Church, the charism of truth and of never-failing faith of the Roman Pontiff, and the unblemished Apostolic See.
Most recently, LifeSiteNews has accused Pope Benedict XVI of making a deal with a group of Cardinals, so that he would be elected Pope, but would have to resign when they demanded it. Such a claim is rash, patently false, unsupportable with any facts, malicious, gravely harmful to the Church, contrary to the dogmatic papal charisms, and openly falsely accuses Pope emeritus Benedict of lying in a very grave matter, knowingly and deliberately, to the whole Church. And then they have the gall to call this extreme accusation merely a suggestion. Such a wicked “suggestion” against the Roman Pontiff is not justifiable on any grounds. It is a schismatic claim, as it contradicts the authority of Pope Francis (which is accepted by the body of Bishops, making it unassailable), implying that the resignation was not free and is therefore not valid.
LSN has also scandalized the faithful worldwide on a daily basis by the many articles on their website attacking the Roman Pontiff, the Bishops, and the Faith itself. They have publicly incited among subjects animosities and hatred against the Apostolic See and the Roman Pontiff himself. Their rebellion against the Roman Pontiff is manifest severe public and harms countless souls. Their expressions against the Roman Pontiff, Vatican II, many Bishops, and particular decisions of the Church on doctrine and discipline are so numerous and constant that these persons, who have committed the above described offenses, are certainly automatically excommunicated under the above Canons.
And yet they cry out to the Roman Pontiff, telling him to excommunicate President Joe Biden. Whose offenses are worse? It is difficult to say. Abortion kills the innocent in vast numbers. But heresy and schism, and related offenses of promoting hatred of the Roman Pontiff and Bishops, can lead souls away from the path of salvation and into Hell. The LSN petition is from a group of persons who figuratively kill the souls of countless persons, while complaining about those who kill the bodies of countless persons. They claim to be opponents of Biden, but they are not so different from him.
And what happens when Catholics commit heresy and schism, and then subsequently leave the Church? The Protestant reformers were all against contraception. Now Protestants broadly approve of contraception and often also abortion. The old Catholic Church, formed in rejection of Vatican I, now approves of the “ordination” of women priests. Leading the faithful into heresy and schism can be anticipated to eventually result in many persons rejecting the moral teachings of the Church, including those against abortifacient contraception and abortion more generally.
The hypocrites at LifeSiteNews have also largely reduced their original mission, to be prolife and to fight against abortion and euthanasia. Now they mainly focus on fighting the Covid-19 vaccine and attacking the Roman Pontiff and the Magisterium of the Church, in an attempt to replace the Magisterium with their own pretended authority over doctrine and discipline. For example, LSN has proclaimed that holy Communion must only be received kneeling and on the tongue, in contradiction to the Church’s approval of reception standing and in the hand, an approval by every Pope since Vatican II. The Church cannot err gravely on doctrine or discipline in any decision of a Roman Pontiff or an approved Ecumenical Council. To say otherwise is heresy against the perennial teaching of the Church.
Ronald L. Conte Jr.