Monday, November 22, 2010

Free Choice Subtleties

(w/ supplementary on Excommunication)

Just as saying “You cannot have the cake and eat it too,” the same is with people who talk of “free choice” but will not accept the consequences of their acts. The final two destinies of man which are either the eternal reward of happiness in heaven or the eternal sufferings of the fires of hell, depend on the choices we make in the acts which we do in our transitory earthly life. Jesus suffered so much on the cross to save us from eternal death in hell and the Church follows that same mission of Jesus, a mission of truth and love, to save man from Hell and achieve the heavenly reward. The final goal is always above all in our efforts of achieving total fulfillment in our life and personhood. Let’s avoid the dreadful pitfall of Hell. The Bible warns us: “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31).

Below is the supplementary excerpt taken from the book, The Facts of Life, by Dr. Brian Clowes, Ph.D., member of the Human Life International, pp. 220-221.

The Canon and its Requirements.
Canon 2350 states that all who procure abortion shall be automatically excommunicated.
Canon Law Number 1398 states, quite simply, in Latin and English:
Qui abortum procurat, effectu secuto, in excommunicationem, latae sententiae, incurrat – “Those who successfully abort [a living human fetus] bring on themselves instant excommunication.”
Latae sententiae means the person brings instant excommunication upon himself or herself with his act. No solemn pronouncement need be made by the Church or a bishop or priest, and no one else need even know about the abortion. For automatic excommunication to take place, the woman (and those who cooperate in the abortion) must meet three conditions:

(1) They must know that abortion is a mortal sin. Most Catholics have probably never heard this preached from the pulpit. However, if a person reads about or hears of the Church’s teachings on abortion from any source, he or she has been informed. Even if a person does not agree with or accept the teachings, he or she knows the Church teaches that abortion is a mortal sin.

(2) The woman and those who cooperate in the abortion must know or suspect
She is pregnant. Many women use abortifacients, including oral contraceptives, Norplant, mini-pills, Depo-Provera and intrauterine devices (IUDs), and may be aborting several babies a year. It is important to note that the woman must have full knowledge of her act. Most people (even many doctors) are completely unaware of the abortifacient effects of these devices and drugs and therefore generally would not be liable to excommunication. If a woman knows a method is abortifacient and uses it anyway, she risks excommunication.

(3) The woman must freely choose abortion. This does not mean she can interpret a boyfriend’s, husband’s or parent’s disapproval of her pregnancy as coercion; she must make a vigorous and positive attempt to avoid abortion, no matter how much pressure she feels. If she believes that she is in danger of physical harm, she should turn to other family members or social service or law enforcement agencies for assistance. In protecting her preborn child, she must exert the same degree of effort she would if the child were an infant or toddler.

Effectu secuto means the excommunication takes place only if the abortion is completed. At the moment the woman’s child dies, she is cut off completely from all the Sacraments, and cannot return unless she sincerely repents and makes a good confession.

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