July 01, 2004

Heresy Trials

Andrew Sullivan's amazed that somebody still pays attention to that stuffy old document, the Catholic Code of Canon Law but apparently a plucky canon lawyer from Los Angeles has decided to bring the issue of pro-choice catholicism before the private courts the Church runs according to the Canon. In the complaint (filed in John Kerry's home jurisdiction, the Archdiocese of Boston), pro-choice position is labeled the Right-to-Murder heresy.

A layman can bring forward such a complaint but a bishop is not obligated to act on it. If the local Bishop passes, the complaint can be forwarded to the Vatican where it will likely sit for years before being adjudicated. Such complaints are apparently rare (the complainant claims that he's the first to do so under the current Code, adopted in 1983). Furthermore, as it's a class action suit that most anyone can join I'd expect the plaintiff list to expand quite a bit.

I won't be joining the suit, but not because I agree with AS that this is some cheap "theoconservative" stunt to influence the election. On the contrary, I take the entire process deadly seriously as a fight for the soul of one John Kerry who, whatever differences I might have with him politically, is a child of God and in the same struggle to get to Heaven as the rest of us. There is an entire cast of characters that are playing their part in that struggle on the side of good and I think it quite likely that this lawsuit is likely to jog their elbows, retarding Kerry's spiritual progress, not enhancing it.

I have no doubt that not only the lines between the Boston archdiocese and the Vatican are burning up but I also think that several calls are being placed to LA to get local Church officials to squelch the fuse on this dynamite accusation. No doubt, fairly soon there might be a UK component to this mess as defide.org (the organization filing the complaint) is registered to Bruno Quintavalle, a name that comes up in Google as the director of the UK Pro-Life Alliance.

Now there's a twist that I bet McCain and Feingold never thought about.

Posted by TMLutas at July 1, 2004 02:39 PM