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Canon Law vs. modern society

Tonight was our last RCIA session of the year and, as per usual with this group, we ran off into some rather interesting topics and some pretty deep water.  In what was supposed to be initially a discussion about prayer we spent the first half hour talking about the abortion case in Phoenix and how excommunication works and what it is.  It quickly digressed to a discussion based largely on nuance and detail.  This has been making me think – in an age of Twitter and soundbite journalism are people really ready for nuance and fine details?

One question though really struck me as symbolic – “how can someone get excommunicated?”  It’s a question with seemingly a thousand answers, all different and all correct.  But yet saying “it’s complicated” seems to translate into “it’s an arcane holdover without an ounce of Christian charity”.  Somehow there needs to be a way to answer questions like this without delving into heavy theological and ecclesiological issues.  I think in many ways it’s the inability to provide these Baltimore Catechism-style answers to common questions that has helped put the Church into the corner it finds itself trying to fight out of modern days.  What do you think?

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • GNW_Paul May 19, 2010, 12:20 am

    You are right that it is hard
    No short answers

    First – excommunication is meant to be CHARITABLE not mean – it is done out of love – like putting a 2 year old in time out

    The point of excommunication is NOT to get rid of the person for good.

    IT is to make them understand the spiritual danger to their soul and bring home to them the seriousness and consequences of their actions /teaching / belief.

    So properly understood it is the Churches ultimate and last ditch effort to get someone back on the straight and narrow. We know it is drastic, but we’ve got nothing left. It’s up to them to repent with God’s grace which is exactly what we pray for.

    Also, ANY excommunication can be lifted and for the automatic ones any Priest can lift it in the confessional.

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