Austrian mall owner excommunicated?

Austrian mall owner excommunicated?

News reports out of Austria say that an auxiliary bishop of Vienna excommunicated the owner of a shopping mall who rented space to an abortion clinic. Ed Peters says, Not so fast.

First, the canon under which Bp. Laun is said to have acted is 1983 CIC 1041, n. 1. Although related to abortion and homicide, this is not an excommunciation canon, but rather, an “irregularity for ordination” provision. Somebody (the bishop or the press) is way, way off in citing it. Second, auxiliary bishops are not usually the lead players in major sanctions cases, and there is some ambiguity as to whether an auxiliary bishop can even take this kind of step under 1983 CIC 1341; presumably, diocesan bishops are the decision-makers here.

Bottom line, though, is that there are narrow allowances for excommunication in canon law and this doesn’t qualify.

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Domenico Bettinelli
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