I’ve been pretty scarce today, partly because I was writing this.
Less than 10 days later, he received a letter from Father Basil Cole, a Dominican theologian and consultant to the congregation based in Washington, DC, who said he had been “delegated” by Father Augustine DiNoia, undersecretary of the congregation, to give an unofficial response to the question that Balestrieri had submitted. ...
Father Cole wrote, “If a Catholic publicly and obstinately supports the civil right to abortion, knowing that the Church teaches officially against that legislation, he or she commits that heresy envisioned by Can. 751 of the Code [of Canon Law]. Provided that the presumptions of knowledge of the law and penalty and imputability are not rebutted in the external forum, one is automatically excommunicated ....”
Now, some people have made big deal out of the fact that Cole himself identifies his letter as an unofficial response. Some have even said he’s just a well-meaning theologian expressing his personal opinion. Not so.