How do we explain why those involved in abortion are excommunicated but other kinds of murder are not?
I was just reading a (typically awful) article on the NcR(eporter) (lowercase letter was intentional) called “Does excommunication do any good?” I knew better than to delve into the cesspool that is their combox, but I read some of the combox stuff and it got me in a lather. The article was linked to by Fr. Z, who called it unintelligent (in other words) but did nothing to teach WHY.
I don’t want to bring to attention the whole article, I just want to ask why abortion is treated differently than other kinds of murder. These comboxers state that the Church is incomprehensible because it doesn’t excommunicate murderers, rapists, or child abusers, that these can simply pop into confession while the excommunicated cannot. The scenario they paint is one where a rapist is forgiven and dances down to communion while his victim gets an abortion and stays at home crying, or something.
I don’t mean to paint such a laughable picture with such a serious subject, but I think most of us can see why this is ridiculous. Even if he isn’t thrown in prison, the rapist doesn’t “get away with it.” He goes to Hell. For a spiritual minded-Catholic, there is no greater punishment. Excommunication is not the worse punishment in existence if you believe in Heaven and Hell! (that is, if you believe in God at all)
EVERYBODY knows murderers are mortal sinners, they don’t need to be excommunicated; they already have mortal sin and I don’t think confessors really absolve them without demanding they turn themselves in.
Does the problem here start because secular liberals, even in the Church, tend to ignore spiritual consequences and only recognize visible consequences, like not getting to receive Communion? Murderers don’t cause scandal to the faithful, per se. We immediately know that they have placed themselves outside the fold, but it’s necessary to excommunicate heretics and abortionists to show both them AND the faithful what errors are mortal enough to place one outside, so that these don’t lead others astray.
But I need help here, I’m missing something. I’m a smart guy, I don’t know why I’m not getting this. I feel like it’s one of these things I USED to know.