The Irish Archbishops issued a statement in response to Enda Kenny’s government announcing it would legalize abortion on demand with the clause ‘if a woman is in danger of suicide’. The statement is powerful about the life and death issues facing Irish politicians:
‘The lives of untold numbers of unborn children in this State now depend on the choices that will be made by our public representatives. The unavoidable choice that now faces all our public representatives is: will I chose to defend and vindicate the equal right to life of a mother and the child in her womb in all circumstances, or will I chose to licence the direct and intentional killing of the innocent baby in the womb?’
The Archbishops go on to explain that every politician must vote on this issue according to their consciences:
‘Moreover, on a decision of such fundamental moral importance every public representative is entitled to complete respect for the freedom of conscience. No one has the right to force or coerce someone to act against their conscience. Respect for this right is the very foundation of a free, civilised and democratic society.’
This is only right and proper, reflecting a fundamental principle of the Catholic teaching on freedom of conscience. But the Archbishops failed to make clear the consequences of voting for abortion for Catholic politicians should receive a just punishment for harming public morals. The only just punishment for voting for abortion would be excommunication.
If Catholic politicians decide in conscience that they must vote for the murder of children in their mothers wombs then they must also live with the consequences, that they are no longer within the communion of the Church, this is what excommunication means.
Can 1369. A person is to be punished with a just penalty, who, at a public event or assembly, or in a published writing, or by otherwise using the means of social communication, utters blasphemy, or gravely harms public morals, or rails at or excites hatred of or contempt for religion or the Church.
Can. 1399 Besides the cases prescribed in this or in other laws, the external violation of divine or canon law can be punished, and with a just penalty, only when the special gravity of the violation requires it and necessity demands that scandals be prevented or repaired.
If a Catholic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication for procuring an abortion then the just punishment for Catholic politicians who enabled the abortion should likewise be excommunication. If this obscene law enter the statute book, and Catholic politicians who voted for it present themselves for Holy Communion and receive communion from a priest or bishop the scandal caused in the Irish Church and beyond will be catastrophic.