Sunday, June 20, 2010

Professor Ladislas Orsy, S.J. In A letter To Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

In reference to excommunication, however, I have consistently held (and do hold) as follows:

Automatic excommunication (latae sententiae) should have no place in modern canon law because it is an anachronism; it compels a person to be the accused and the judge in his own case and it allows persons and communities to be condemned without the benefit of a hearing. Such a procedure is hardly in harmony with the Scriptures and it offends contemporary sensitivities concerning human rights.
In our age in doctrinal matters excommunication is not an effective policy to lead an errant soul back to the “obedience of faith”. St. Peter Canisius, a person vastly experienced in dealing with rebellion against faith. pleaded repeatedly with his Superiors to do what they can to convince the Roman authorities not to use the weapon of excommunication against the Reformers; it only consummated a breach that perhaps could have been healed. His respected biographer, James Brodrick writes:

The Bull, In Coena Domini, {by Pius IV) which was so named because issued afresh each Holy Thursday, made him {Peter Canisius) very sad when it reached him in April, 1564, as it contained nothing but threats and prohibitions. “Would to God”,he wrote, “that we could find some means of helping both pastors and people in the present great corruption, especially as every mortal thing seems full of excommunications. Nobody cares to give a little aid and consolation to the unhappy pastors who still sweat and labor for the religion that is dear to them”. This was, Brodrick continues, “an old complaint” of the Saint who desired “to secure a more kindly treatment for Germans in the matter of ecclesiastical censures, and to obtain greater consideration in Rome for parish priests who desire and are able to help the Catholic cause”.(7) 
Link (here) to read the full letter

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