Canonist Ed Peters on Excommunication

Most Catholics know that excommunication has played an important role in ecclesiastical life since ancient times. Many also assume that this controversial procedure was relegated to the history books after the Second Vatican Council. But this assumption is wrong. Excommunication remains an important part of canon law. In fact, there are signs that in the … Read more

A Bishop’s Failure to Enforce Canon Law Does Not Excuse His Faithful From Following It

It needs no long blog post from a canon lawyer to explain how wrong would be a failure by a bishop to protect his faithful against scandal (CCC 2284, 2287) and/or to defend the Eucharist against potential sacrilege (CCC 2120) but, make no mistake, in reiterating that “it is not [his] policy” to withhold holy Communion from persons in ‘same-sex … Read more

Some Suggest Archbishop Viganò’s Call for Francis’ Resignation is a Mistake – It’s Not — IF the Charges Viganò has Made are True

Apologies for a long post; I don’t have time to write a short one. I don’t mean to single out Fr. Raymond de Souza, whom I have read with profit many times, but his essay over at National Catholic Register, “It’s time to turn down the temperature”, touches on several issues related to the clergy … Read more

Canonical Reform Won’t End the Abuse Crisis, but it Can Help

Public penance should be the first response. Then let’s look at some basic improvements to canon law The official response to the allegations against Theodore McCarrick has been tiresomely predictable. First, the bishops expressed shock and disbelief; then they dutifully called for improved procedures to deal with offending clerics. Of course Church law, like the … Read more

Yes, “Consensual Adult Relationships” Among Clergy are Crimes Under Canon Law

Homosexual acts committed by or between clerics—even among those presumably able to consent—are at the root, the very root, of the sexual misconduct and cover-up crisis exposed by the McCarrick scandal. Who on earth does not yet know that yet? So my jaw dropped—which takes some doing these days—my jaw dropped when Msgr. Thomas Guarino, in an … Read more

McCarrick, the Bishops, and the Deepening Confusion About Sex

Faithful Catholics can easily see how the virtual abandonment of Humanae vitae by mid-level ecclesiastical leadership (many bishops, most priests, and nearly all marriage formators) over the last five decades has wrought incalculable damage on domestic life and civil society. No more evidence of this disaster among laity is needed than is already available to open-minded observers. … Read more