Governor Andrew Cuomo and Excommunication

Recently, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill legalizing abortion up to birth. As a professing Catholic, Cuomo claimed, “The Catholic Church doesn’t believe in a woman’s right to chose…I understand their religious view…I’m not here to represent a religion.”

Aside from the fact that one cannot honestly create a dichotomy between their political policies from their personal beliefs, one wonders why Cardinal Timothy Dolan, or Cuomo’s ordinary, has not publicly announced his excommunication from the Catholic Church. Some may wonder why this is necessary since it is undeniable that Cuomo has incurred the penalty of automatic excommunication, known as latae sententiae (sentence already passed), as the 1983 Code of Canon Law states: “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.” (Canon 1398)

However, as many people are not aware of this penalty, and as the scandal Cuomo has caused publicly by professing to be a Catholic but completely opposing the moral teachings of the church in his policies, his ordinary or Cardinal Dolan, should publicly respond by explaining that Cuomo has been automatically excommunicated, and perhaps reinforce the matter with a ferendae sententiae (sentence to be passed) excommunication. Anything short of a public rebuke and a public excommunication of Cuomo is insufficient since a public scandal calls for a public response.

Sadly, with weak shepherds like the Dancing Dolan, who are more concerned with being popular instead of honoring God, one should not expect any serious response. In fact, the always jovial cardinal stated that excommunicating Cuomo is “not an appropriate response” because “excommunication should not be used as a weapon.” By way of contrast, one might consider what St. Paul said of excommunicating public sinners. In the first epistle to the Corinthians, the apostle stated:

I, for my part, although absent in body but present in spirit, have already, as if present, pronounced judgment on the one who has committed this deed, in the name of [our] Lord Jesus: when you have gathered together and I am with you in spirit with the power of the Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 5:3-5)

Though the cardinal may not be a St. Paul, we can at least be grateful for his excellent form in his pose with the Rockettes.

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