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Fr. Rafael del Blanco
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Argentinean president will excommunicate himself if he signs pro-abortion law: Catholic priest

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Follow Matthew

July 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An Argentinean priest has attracted national attention for telling the media that all politicians who aid in the passage of a pro-abortion law currently under consideration will automatically excommunicate themselves, in accordance with the Catholic Church’s law.

Such an excommunication would not only apply to the legislators who voted for the bill, but also to the President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, said the priest, Fr. Rafael del Blanco of the Archdiocese of Resistenci, in an interview with the news-talk radio station Radio Con Vos.

Del Blanco cited the Church’s Code of Canon Law, canon 1398, which provides for an automatic excommunication for anyone who “procures a completed abortion.” He told his interviewer that the members of the Chamber of Deputies who had voted for the law would be guilty of cooperation in abortion as soon as an abortion was carried out as a result of the law.

“Clearly we can presume that a Christian, Catholic deputy – of which many go to Mass from time to time – who raised his hand in favor of this law, is fully conscious of this action and of the grave matter that abortion signifies,” said Del Blanco. “In that case, the presumption is that in the moment in which an abortion is carried out as a fruit of that law, the deputy is excommunicated.”

Asked specifically if Argentinean president Maurici Macri would be excommunicated automatically for his cooperation in the legalization of abortion, Del Blanco responded, “That’s what the Code of Canon Law says, but he can confess, receive absolution for his sin and then begin to participate again [in the life of the Church]. But first he must confess his grave sin.”

The priest explained that excommunication essentially means, “no longer belonging to the Church.” He said “the Church is a community in communion, united to Christ especially through the sacrament of the Eucharist,” and that “excommunication means not being able to receive said sacrament.”

Del Blanco’s words have been widely reported in Argentina, but most of the Catholic hierarchy appears to have remained silent on the matter, except for the bishop of San Francisco, Córdoba,  Sergio Buenanueva. The bishop told the press that the priest’s interpretation of the Code of Canon Law is “totally wrong, erroneous, and causes enormous confusion and scandal.”

Vatican’s interpretation of canon law in agreement with Fr. Del Blanco

However, Del Blanco’s interpretation of the Catholic Church’s canon 1398 is far from extreme or controversial in the eyes of former Pope Benedict and other Vatican officials, who have publicly supported the interpretation that politicians who vote for the legalization of abortion suffer the penalty of excommunication envisioned in the canon, and cannot receive Holy Communion.

In 2007, while traveling to Brazil, Pope Benedict XVI told reporters that Mexican clergy were correct in warning legislators that voting for the legalization of abortion could result in their excommunication.

“Yes, this excommunication was not an arbitrary one but is allowed by Canon law which says that the killing of an innocent child is incompatible with receiving communion, which is receiving the body of Christ,” said Benedict, according to a translation by Reuters.

“They [the Mexican Church leaders] did nothing new, surprising or arbitrary. They simply announced publicly what is contained in the law of the Church... which expresses our appreciation for life and that human individuality, human personality is present from the first moment [of life],” added Benedict.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, while he was Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Church’s highest court, also stated publicly and repeatedly that politicians who vote in favor of the legalization of abortion should not be given Holy Communion in accordance with canon 915, echoing a similar statement by Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, made in 2004 in a private letter to two American bishops.

The Code of Canon Law’s canon 915 states, “Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.”

In 2017 a Chilean cardinal, Jorge Medina Estevez, publicly stated that “Catholic politicians who voted to legalize abortion in Chile cannot receive the sacraments until they show public signs of repentance.”

Proposed law would legalize abortion on demand

The bill in question would legalize abortion on demand in Argentina for the first fourteen weeks of pregnancy, and would allow it all the way up to the moment of birth if the unborn child is determined not to be viable outside the womb, or woman claims to have been raped, or is deemed to be in danger regarding her physical or psychological health. Such provisions have made abortion on demand throughout a pregnancy effectively legal in other countries, such as Spain.

The bill barely passed the Chamber of Deputies on June 14, and is now under discussion by the Senate, which will vote on the bill on August 8. A strong majority in the Senate appears to be against its passage. Argentineans have turned out in the hundreds of thousands to demonstrate in opposition to the law.
Although President Macri claims to be Catholic and to be pro-life, he himself initiated the current debate over the bill, and has said that he will sign it into law if it is passed by both houses of the national congress.

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