alien & sedition.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
  Excommunication for Rudy?

John Kerry had to deal with Catholic conservatives breathing down his neck in the 2004 election, so it would seem only fair that the thrice-married, nominally pro-choice Rudy Giuliani should be subject to the same scrutiny.

And lo and behold! Here's Catholic newspaper columnist Kenneth J. Wolfe in an op-ed at the NY Daily News:
Republican presidential hopeful Rudolph Giuliani has made several statements supporting legalized and even taxpayer-funded abortion. Some Catholics believe these warrant a "latae sententiae" excommunication from the church under canon law - in other words, an automatic excommunication that occurs "by the very commission of the offense."

But there is another area on which the grounds for excommunication are much more clear: marriage.

Giuliani is currently in a civil marriage with Judith Nathan. Unlike Giuliani's previous two marriages, this one was not performed under the auspices of the Catholic Church. And unlike his second marriage, he did not receive an annulment from the church for his most recent marriage. As a result, Giuliani could be prohibited from receiving Communion.
For those of you who didn't grow up Catholic, being "prohibited from receiving Communion" is what excommunication is all about.

The problem, for Rudy, is not the first divorce - it's the second. The Catholic church, of course, does not sanction divorce at all - however, if a married couple can demonstrate that their marriage should never have taken place at all, the church will grant them an annulment. This is what ended the marriage between Giuliani and his second cousin Regina Peruggi. The second time around, though, it's a lot harder to get an annulment. And so, when Rudy dumped Donna Hanover (disgracefully forcing Hanover to learn of his decision through the media), he never got the church's sanction.

And that means that, when Giuliani married Judith Nathan, he became - in the eyes of the Catholic church - an adulterer. He may not be unusual in this respect (though he was unusually cruel to Hanover), but it's hardly a formula for winning over conservative voters:
If Giuliani is elected President, he would be the second divorced man to win the office. However, he could be the first to be barred from his church from fully participating in its liturgy. As the GOP continues to court conservative Catholics, his excommunication could very well have an effect on the 2008 election.
I expect William Donahue will be weighing in?

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