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November 14, 2009

Spanish Bishop: Catholic Pols Who Vote for Abortion Excommunicate Themselves

Here's more good and encouraging news from the episcopal front, this time coming from Spain, where the Catholic bishops there are girding for battle with the country's leftist, pro-abortion government.

When Nancy and I were most recently in Spain, for two weeks in September, I spoke at length with as many Spaniards as I could about what they see happening in the Church over there. In addition to their general pessimism about how apathetic most Spanish Catholics tend to be about the Faith, they also seemed very heartened by the muscular efforts many Spanish bishops, priests, and laypeople have been making recently to publicly speak out in defense of unborn children against the country's pro-abortion laws.

One priest in Valencia, with whom I had two-hour conversation about the state of the Church there, lamented that the vast majority of Spaniards are at best only culturally Catholic. "During the week," he said, "they work to make money so that on the weekend, they can spend their time drinking, having sex, watching sports, and being entertained."

I guess he'd know what he's talking about, because, as one of the canons of the cathedral of Valencia, he hears confessions and observes what's going on around him. He added, though, that the abortion issue and the Spanish Government's efforts to ramrod even more legislation to promote abortion is steadily having a positive effect on a growing number of Spanish Catholics who, even if many of them are still tepid in the practice of their Faith, are beginning to wake up and smell the paella and recognize that they have to start fighting the good fight if they don't want to see their country go completely into spiritual ruin. Viva EspaƱa!

MADRID, November 13, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The secretary general of the Spanish bishops' conference, Auxiliary Bishop Juan Antonio Martinez Camino of Madrid, warned that Spanish Catholic legislators who vote in favor of a bill to liberalize abortion which is currently before parliament would publicly place themselves in an "objective state of sin" and therefore may not receive Communion.

"Excommunication is provided in the Code of Canon Law for those who cooperate actively in the practice of abortion," Bishop Martinez Camino stated in an AFP report.

He said Catholics cannot support the legalization of abortion and if they do "they will objectively find themselves in a public state of sin and may not be admitted to Holy Communion."

While "the Church cannot judge their subjectivity," he added, those who "directly collaborate" in or promote abortion incur excommunication.

At the same time, Bishop Martinez Camino said the Church reaches out to women who have had an abortion or who are tempted to abort.

Encouraging those who have aborted to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, he said, "Those who have not gone to confession are encouraged to do so because God wants to offer them a solution and deep peace." . . . (continue reading)


  1. I had thought that canon lawyers were skeptical of the proposition to which Bp. Camino refers. See, e.g., this and this. Given the headline, he's presumably talking about excommunication latae sententiae, and the canonical bases for that are limited. (Canon 1398? That seems an impossible stretch, and stretching is forbidden by canon 18. Canons 1329 §2 or 1364 §1? Possible, but an argument is needed for the application that Bp. Camino just doesn't provide.) I'm sympathetic to Bp. Camino's statement, but I don't know that a conclusory assertion is good enough on this subject. Excommunication is serious business; it should be taken seriously.

  2. It's good to hear about Bp. Camino's vigor in promoting this issue, but it would have been better if he'd just spoken of mortal sin, and left excommunication out of it.

    Most people don't know the distinction between mortal sin (a moral state) and excommunication (a legal penalty), and this kind of talk adds to the confusion.

  3. Patrick, the key word here is "recently". We have had abortion laws in Spain since 1985, and only just now the bishops have decided to speak out and remind people the Dotrine of the Church. Should we applaud the Spanish bishops for doing just that?. Fine, let's give them some encouragement, although I always thought it had to be the other way round, i.e. them encouraging us. Whatever....

    I am happy for the signs that point to spines growing, not very encouraged though about the real impact this is going to have in society.

    They have taken too long, and nobody is listening now because when people were ready to hear the bishops' words they did not speak.

  4. Pray for ears to be opened, eyes to be opened, and hearts to be wretched open by the Grace and Mercy of the Lord in the Holy Spirit.