Cardinal Dolan rejects call for Gov. Cuomo’s excommunication over new abortion law

AP photo

NEW YORK (CNS) -- Since Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed New York's new expansive abortion measure into law Jan. 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, some Catholics have called for the governor, who is Catholic, to be excommunicated.

Cuomo fully backed the Reproductive Health Act as it made its way through the Legislature. It expands access to abortion, allows late-term abortions and lets nondoctors perform abortions.

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A statement issued by a spokesperson for New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan said in general that "excommunication should not be used as a weapon," and that too often those who call for someone's excommunication "do so out of anger or frustration."

"Notable canon lawyers have said that, under canon law, excommunication is not an appropriate response to a politician who supports or votes for legislation advancing abortion," said the statement, which laid out "general principles" and did not address any specific individual.

"From a pastoral perspective, if a pastor -- and a bishop is certainly a pastor of a diocese -- knows of a grave situation involving a parishioner, it is his duty to address that issue personally and directly with the parishioner," it said, adding that this is the approach of Cardinal Dolan as it was of his predecessors as New York's archbishop, the late Cardinal John J. O'Connor and the late Cardinal Edward M. Egan.

Cuomo fully backed the Reproductive Health Act as it made its way through the Legislature.

"From a strategic perspective," excommunication is not effective because "many politicians would welcome it as a sign of their refusal to be 'bullied by the church,' thinking it would therefore give them a political advantage," the statement said.

As an example of this "political advantage," it cited how in 1989, Bishop Leo T. Maher, then head of the Diocese of San Diego, gained national attention when he forbade California Senate candidate Lucy Killea, a state assemblywoman, from receiving Communion because of her support for legal abortion, which had become a prominent feature of her campaign.

In an appearance on "The Phil Donahue Show," the lawmaker said she would neither alter her position on abortion nor leave her faith. Killea won the election.

Albany Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger had addressed the bill and Cuomo's support for it in in an open letter to the governor published Jan. 19 at evangelist.org, the website of The Evangelist, Albany's diocesan newspaper. He urged Cuomo not to let the bill, which he called a "Death Star," become law.

In an appearance on "The Phil Donahue Show," Lucy Killea said she would neither alter her position on abortion nor leave her faith. Killea won the election.

"Although in your recent State of the State address you cited your Catholic faith and said we should 'stand with Pope Francis,' your advocacy of extreme abortion legislation is completely contrary to the teachings of our pope and our church," the bishop said.

The New York State Catholic Conference said that with the new abortion law, the state "has become a more dangerous one for women and their unborn babies."

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Lisa M
8 months 2 weeks ago

I'm with Cardinal Dolan on this one. I suspect Governor Cuomo would only be too happy to play the martyr for 'women's reproductive freedom'. Don't give him the chance. God forbid he elevates himself any higher. I have no doubt he has his eyes on the Presidency.

J. Calpezzo
8 months 2 weeks ago

Dolan, Burke, Chaput, Cordileone and the other pharisees and scribes should be excommunicated.

Nora Bolcon
8 months 2 weeks ago

I know, talk about missing the log in your own eye.

The reason this governor should not be punished at all for supporting this law is because countries where abortion is harder to access actually have more not less abortions and they have far greater amounts of maternal deaths. Which means this law actually is pro life. Also, it is supposed to be that Catholics are supposed to be against abortion but nowhere does it command that we must agree that making it illegal is the best solution for trying to reduce abortion rates, especially since we have plenty of proof these laws restricting abortion have the opposite effect on a global scale.

Nora Bolcon
8 months 2 weeks ago

I know, talk about missing the log in your own eye.

The reason this governor should not be punished at all for supporting this law is because countries where abortion is harder to access actually have more not less abortions and they have far greater amounts of maternal deaths. Which means this law actually is pro life. Also, it is supposed to be that Catholics are supposed to be against abortion but nowhere does it command that we must agree that making it illegal is the best solution for trying to reduce abortion rates, especially since we have plenty of proof these laws have the opposite effect on a global scale.

Tim O'Leary
8 months 2 weeks ago

Nora - you keep repeating that no legal protections for the unborn is the best way to save more babies from abortion. Am I correct that you agree with the abolitionists that killing by abortion is a great evil and your disagreement with us is in the way to save more babies? So, you honestly really care about the slaughter of the unborn?

Ellen B
8 months 2 weeks ago

If he were to be excommunicated, the hypocrisy of NOT excommunicating child abusers & the people who hid them is too apparent.

Vince Killoran
8 months 2 weeks ago

St. JPII and Pope Benedict did not excommunicate any Catholic politicians who rejected decriminalizing abortion.

rose-ellen caminer
8 months 2 weeks ago

Perhaps the Church's lax attitude towards politicians who supported abortion, over decades, has contributed to the brainwashing of millions into supporting abortion, and has led to this state of affairs; a Catholic legalizing infanticide and calling it a victory for women's reproductive rights . If a pro abortion politician is not being excommunicated,then it can't really be so immoral! Did not Pope Francis excommunicate organized crime people? Did that not shake things up and did it not clarify the conscience about how indeed it was about time!

rose-ellen caminer
8 months 2 weeks ago

The political advantage that excommunicating the governor would bring to the pro abortion cause, may have been a consideration when abortion first became legal.The Church exists in the real world, and deals with the devil sometimes get made and evil gets overlooked or ignored. But all these decades later, even though people, including politicians, are still divided, politicians are not advocating for banning abortion any more, "Reproductive Rights" is the term used by just about all politicians of both parties. And that being the case, there the only balance of power at play is the push back against the church that would be the fallout were the governor to be excommunicated. Yes he would be a martyr to the"reproductive rights" cause, but not excommunicating him is not going to change the law. It would be said the church wants to control the politicians and our laws. The church is meddling where it does not belong[ separation of church and state].The church [imo] can meddle with politicians who publicly declare themselves catholic AND then pass laws or promote beliefs that undermine the church and its upholding the sanctity of human life,The church too can speak.It is the church's business who it excommunicates and why.

Undermining the church's teaching by having a Catholic politician authorize infanticide, which is a great moral evil, is a matter of import for the church. The Church does not support infanticide and having a Catholic politician in a position of great power and influence promote it implicates and undermines the Church if the Church does not have an adequate response. Infanticide is not just a Catholic issue of course. It's a human rights and a humanist issue.And the church speaks out on and acts on other such moral issues too.This is outrageous and the Church has an obligation to admonish him , correct him if possible. The church cannot have a catholic politician in a high place, calling infanticide "reproductive right" and legalizing it with a stroke of a pen!let the political chips fall where they may.
The other consideration is , does he warrant excommunication[ has he excommunicated himself?] Cardinal Dolan or some authority in the church should do what Cardinal Dolan says is normally done, talk to him personally, try to get him to change his public support for this law. But if he does not change,if not his heart and mind, then his actions, the cardinal should ORDER him to not support the law publicly and its evil provision; infanticide. And excommunicate him if he declines.On the grounds of disobeying.Sometimes the Church HAS to assert herself in the politically fraught place of a stable englightened democracy. As un couth as she will be perceived. She can't always be daring in troubled third world places but take the cushy way out in stable democracies.
Separation of church and state applies to what the state does,it is a legal policy, a government policy,[enshrined in the Constitution ,I know I know]. The governor is free to govern as he sees best for the secular state and its people, However he is a Catholic , and as such is subject to some minimum assent to Catholic doctrine. One is that we are one and under the Pope, [you can always refuse a Pope's order and become a christian protestant, eastern orthodox] and there are such grave immoralities that if one promotes and supports, publicly and, add in the case of the Governor, with the power to authorize or veto such grave immoralities, such as a right to infanticide, then one has undermined the church founded by Jesus Christ.. By promoting the un christian belief that deliberate infliction of suffering ,pain and death on nascent and unborn beings is just and moral is an inversion of christian ethics.And it violates the most sacred tenet of the faith ,the sanctity of made in Gods image human beings.

I don't know where the power to excommunicate resides; the pope only or the cardinal. And I do get the argument that sometimes you have to look at the impact politically of doing so. but to reiterate, it's not like this issue is being weighed by the reproductive rights, fanatics. That the governor has taken this position just shows how strident and militant these believers in killing the unborn are. And how many have been brainwashed or manipulated into equating killing the unborn with reproductive rights. They have escalated this pro choice agenda and beliefs; not just rare but legal, to abortion on demand and now to full blown being born! Let them have their martyrs, what is that to us, us Catholics, Christians and other humanists who know that infanticide is immoral? Come on Cardinal Dolan; no more mister nice guy Pope Francis. !
let the governor answer to you [either one or you, however that works] appeal to his faith, his moral principles, , whatever.If it does not change his heart and mind, if he refuses to obey, then excommunicate him.

let he political chips fall where they may.If he is a big hero to their cause, if this incites anti Catholic sentiment ,the inverse, won't save lives either or change hearts and minds .It's a stand that needs to be taken this time[imo]

Michael Bindner
8 months 2 weeks ago

Cuomo's views on abortion have no impact on settling the issue because the states have no power to settle it. The Right to Life Movement's sole purpose is turning out GOP voter and excommunication for GOP electoral politics would be scandalous. If Congress were to speak on abortion, they would bless the status quo. Of course, blessing the status quo ends the issue for getting out the vote and raising money. This would mess up politics on both sides. Practically there is no way to investigate first trimester abortion without investigating miscarriage and violating due process by selective legislation.

Charles Norman
8 months 2 weeks ago

The most difficult conditions for a mind-blowing duration in which I swung to God out of nowhere as an adult Professional Assignment Writers UK I invited Christ into my life, of this present year, moaned about and yelled out to him for a significantly long time and he gave me a gift past elucidation expected to do just to live for him.

Mary Burke
8 months 2 weeks ago

You can violate children, you can, now, advocate publicly to murder children also, none of this will cause one to be excommunicated, however, if someone dares to confer priestly ordination on a woman... they are excommunicated faster than they can take a deep breath... makes one wonder at what deviancy (reserved to the men) they are truly covering up...makes one shiver in dread

Mary Burke
8 months 2 weeks ago

You can violate children, you can, now, advocate publicly to murder children also, none of this will cause one to be excommunicated, however, if someone dares to confer priestly ordination on a woman... they are excommunicated faster than they can take a deep breath... makes one wonder at what deviancy (reserved to the men) they are truly covering up...makes one shiver in dread

Vincent Gaglione
8 months 2 weeks ago

The pews are empty because the agents of the Church, publicly and/or in confessionals, beat people up for their sins without any of the mercy that Pope Francis emphasizes. And they have yet to be persuaded to return to the pews.

In a NY Times story yesterday the NY Catholic Conference of Bishops is said to have spent $1.8 million dollars lobbying NY State legislators opposed to a law that would open a window of legal redress for the sexually abused. While I probably think, and hope, that the figure includes lobbying on all sorts of issues, the lack of transparency about these expenditures to local Catholics only reinforces the old sense of “do as I say, not as I do.” The Cardinal’s statements at least provide transparency. Unfortunately, they fall on deaf ears to those who seemingly lack mercy and to those who never felt mercy.

Judith Jordan
8 months ago

Vincent Gaglione
Many states are trying to extend the statute of limitations for sexually abused children, but the Church is fighting against it. I was shocked to read that…really shocked! I would think the Church would be too embarrassed and too filled with shame to say one thing on this issue, let along fight against the victims…again.

Mister Mckee
8 months 2 weeks ago

And HERE is a perfect example of the type of virulent "anger and frustration" motivating those professional nay-sayers over at Church Militant, who have turned their negativity into a money-making cottage industry:
https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/counting-the-cost

Memo to Notre Dame:
Time to revoke Mr. Voris' diploma for his continuing anti-Catholic activities and damage to the Body of Christ!

Craig B. McKee, M.A. '80

Danny Collins
8 months 2 weeks ago

Cardinal Dolan said that too often those who call for someone's excommunication "do so out of anger or frustration."

So, Cardinal Dolan criticizes the *motives* of pro-life people but refuses to criticize the motives of Governor Cuomo. That says a lot about his approach to this issue, doesn't it?

Also, disappointing (but not unexpected) is the article's glossing over of the more extreme parts of the legislation. No longer will a man who beats his girlfriend for refusing to get an abortion be charged with manslaughter or homocide. Now his only crime is hitting his girlfriend, not killing her baby. The bill doesn't merely allow abortion up to the moment before birth, it also says that babies who survive abortions have no legal protections. The Gianna Jessons of the world will be left to die via infanticide, and Governor Cuomo has no problem with that.

At what point would excommunication appropriate? We've already established that one can't fear voting for infanticide in the first day or so after birth. Would one week be too much? One month? One Year? Does race need to be involved? Is it OK to kill day old babies but sending Jews to the gas chambers would invoke excommunication, or would Cardinal Dolan refuse to excommunicate even a Nazi? What determines when something deserves excommunication and when something doesn't?

Of course, Dolan and America Magazine won't ask or answer these questions. Dolan has covered up too much sex abuse. America Magazine knew about "Uncle Ted" McCarrick's sex abuse, and instead of investigating or reporting about his abuse, they honored him repeatedly, including at their Centenniel celebrations. If people can't be expected to care about sex abuse, can we expect them to care much about late term abortion or infanticide? Most of them will probably still vote for the Cuomo, in spite of his pro-murder agenda.

Henry George
8 months 2 weeks ago

One can only wonder what a politician would have to do to be excommunicated if advocating for a bill that makes even more abortions possible is not sufficient.

My Grandmother once slapped the Parish Priest across the face
for not letting her daughter be married in the Church, she had dared to
fall in love with a Protestant. I wish she were alive to slap Cardinal Dolan in the face for his pandering to the powerful.

Terry Kane
8 months 2 weeks ago

I wish she could slap Gov. Gosnel, I mean Gov. Cuomo!

Elizabeth Reed
8 months 2 weeks ago

Thank you again Terry Kane

Mike Macrie
8 months 2 weeks ago

Bishops need to stop interfering in Government Politics and spend their time in preaching and practicing morality. They need to become Missionaries again and stop blaming a Secular World for their short comings. They need to unite Parishioners not divide them on political issues. Bishops probably don’t know how divided the Parishioners are among themselves sitting in the Pews. They need to stop their money crusades because a Poor Church will survive.

Tim O'Leary
8 months 2 weeks ago

Milquetoast - the purpose of excommunication is to teach, not to strategize. Cuomo is heading to hell and no one cares to stop his fall. We need a Jeremiah, not a Jonah.

Phillip Stone
8 months 1 week ago

“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” Matthew 8:8

We pray this without reference to a servant, but to ourselves, just before the distribution of Holy Communion.

Excommunication = Ex-communication.

So. some of you think you ARE worthy and OTHERS are not.

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