In remarks about the recent legalization of abortion in Mexico, the pope appeared to support Mexican church leaders who held out the possibility of excommunication for Catholic legislators who voted for the legislation.I recalled reading a while back when the Mexican Bishops' spokesman said "any baptized assembly members will automatically be excommunicated and therefore be excluded from the Catholic Church," and thinking "too bad it's not true". The canon law in question is generally interpreted to only include those who actually procure or commit abortion. The Pope seems to be opening the way to change that interpretation, or at the very least, he is supporting the Mexican Bishops.
Asked whether he agreed with the excommunication penalty, the pope answered: "Yes, these excommunications were not something arbitrary, but are foreseen by the Code (of Canon Law). It is simply part of church law that the killing of an innocent baby is incompatible with being in communion with the body of Christ," he said.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, told reporters that the pope was not announcing a new policy on Catholic politicians. He also noted that the Mexican bishops had not announced the excommunication of anyone.
"And if the bishops haven't excommunicated anyone, it's not that the pope wants to do so," Father Lombardi said.
He said the pope was only reiterating the teaching that Catholic legislators who promote initiatives like the legalization of abortion exclude themselves from the conditions needed to participate fully in the Eucharist.
Wouldn't it be fun to be able to be part of one of these press conferences?