The Uruguayan bishops’ conference has explained recent statements regarding Catholic lawmakers who voted to legalize abortion in the country, saying they are not excommunicated if they voted in favor of abortion.
“Excommunication applies to Catholics who have acted directly in
carrying out an abortion, which does not include those who vote for a
law that allows it,” Bishop Heriberto Bodeant, secretary general of the
In an Oct. 23 interview with Radio Carve, he clarified that
excommunication would apply only to those who have performed an abortion
and not those who voted to legalize the procedure in Uruguay.
“Automatic excommunication is for those who collaborate in the
execution of an abortion in a direct way, and direct means committing
that specific act,” the Bishops Conference explained on their website.
The conference said the need for clarification arose following Bishop
Bodeant’s Oct. 19 comments when he was asked about excommunication in
general and not about the excommunication of specific lawmakers who
voted to legalize abortion.
According to the statement on the Uruguayan bishops’ website, “There
was confusion after a television interview that took place the day after
the Senate approved a measure that legalizes abortion, in which the
bishop was asked about the question of excommunication in general terms
and not specifically related to lawmakers.”
“At no time during the interview did the bishop say that lawmakers
were excommunicated, but rather he responded to a generic question about
excommunication in cases of abortion based on Canon Law (Canon 1398),
which states, ‘A person who procures a completed abortion incurs a latae
sententiae excommunication,’” the statement said.
As a result, “it was an erroneous inference of the bishop’s words that
led to the statement that ‘the Church excommunicated those who voted to
legalize abortion,’ which was immediately reproduced by various national
and international media outlets,” the conference statement said.