Recent Document from Rome regarding Kerry’s Excommunication

by Steve Ray on October 19, 2004

Catholic World News reported “Kerry Said to be Excommunicated“. To read the article, click here. My friend and canon lawyer Ed Peters sheds some light on the news of Kerry’s excommunication. Interesting reading. Click here. For EWTN’s report, click here.

Update: October 19 from Canon Lawyer Ed Peters


Fr. Augustine DiNoia, op., undersecretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, has denied that Dominican Fr. Basil Cole‘s letter to Marc Balestrieri represents an official Vatican determination of any aspect of the Kerry case. Catholic News Service article here. This will not surprise readers of the October 18 Canon Law Blog above. Cole himself has reiterated the private and unofficial character of his opinions.


It is a pity that a refined and thoughtful letter by a thinker of Fr. Cole’s credentials was so mischaracterized (as if it were a Vatican determination on a key point in Balestrieri’s case), and that so many people (eager perhaps for something finally to be done about the Kerry scandal) relied on those mischaracterizations (despite the plain wording of Cole’s letter itself!) and circulated them uncritically.


Whatever else happens now (and I fear several repercussions actually), I think a gaff like this appears to be is going to make it even more difficult for Balestrieri to pursue his heresy case against Kerry, a case that was already facing some significant procedural and substantive canonical hurdles. Now, I yield to no man in my desire to see canon law used to, among many other things, protect the unborn, but I repeat that such efforts have to be undertaken with scrupulous regard for canonical correctness, lest debates about the intricacies of Church law and governance distract from our efforts to uphold the values that law and governance are meant to serve.


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