How To Make Amends

by Jimmy Akin

in Abortion

Having successfully ticked off the Vatican, one might decide that the odds of winning one’s already-difficult case are now so reduced that the most productive thing to do is to withdraw the case and move on with life, letting others find a way to canonically nail pro-abort Catholic politicians in the future. Barring that, one might try to minimize the damage by adopting a humble, loyal-son-of-the-Church tone and making amends. A press release like this (which may be used in whole, in part, or in modified form) could be helpful. . . .



I would like to apologize to all those mentioned in or affected by the press releases I issued this week. In particular, I would like to apologize to the Very Reverend Fr. Augustin DiNoia, O.P. and Fr. Basil Cole, O.P. In my eagerness to see Sen. John F. Kerry canonically prosecuted for his horrendous support of the abortion holocaust in America, I said and did things that were at times unfair to them and to others. Worse yet, I misrepresented the actions of these two great servants of the Church and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

I would like to make the following clarifications:

1. The Vatican has not said that Sen. John F. Kerry has excommunicated himself for heresy or that he is presently excommunicated.

2. The response I received from Fr. Cole was the unofficial opinion of an individual theologian on matters of principle. He did not apply and was not asked to apply these principles to Sen. Kerry.

3. It would be up to a Church tribunal to determine whether or not the sanction of excommunication applies or should be applied to Sen. Kerry.

I wish to express my profound regret for producing confusion on these points, and I apologize to all who I have harmed by leading them to think otherwise on these points.

Fr.s DiNoia and Cole were only seeking to help me by providing a personal commentary on matters of principle. I never asked them to apply these principles to the case of Sen. Kerry. I very much regret that their goodwill in this matter has been repaid with such controversy and confusion due to my actions. I specifically apologize to them for the offensive tone I have taken in some of my prior press releases.

I also hope that a way forward can still be found in the canonical action filed regarding Sen. Kerry with the Archbishop of Boston. The abortion holocaust in America has killed so many individuals, and Sen. Kerry has been so consistent in his support of this ongoing horror that I think it is imperative that the fundamental incompatibility of Sen. Kerry’s position with the Catholic faith be made clear to all. By taking the position he has, Sen. Kerry has inflicted tremendous damage on the faithful of America, and his actions have resulted in more babies being killed.

Only if the voice of Christ is clearly heard in this matter can the public be awakened to the unacceptability of the “Personally opposed but . . .” position. The abortion holocaust cannot be ended until that happens.

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Maria October 23, 2004 at 10:36 pm

You might want to check Raymond Arroyo’s interview last Friday night (The World Over) with Bishops Gracida and Winski. They basically said, forget what the personalities (Marc Balestrieri; Very. Rev. Di Noia, and Rev. Cole) said about the process of the heresy questions, what Rev. Cole wrote is well written, is correct, and they agree with it.

Jimmy Akin October 23, 2004 at 10:56 pm

I agree: What Fr. Cole wrote was great!
The question is: Does it apply to Kerry or not?
This matter is something on which you and I can speculate, but its determination ultimately remains for an ecclesiastical tribunal.

Tom Leith October 24, 2004 at 6:41 pm

Yep, Jimmy, you’re right. And I doubt that Kerry can be hung as a heretic. Parse carefully what Fr. Cole says:
“So, in my letter to Marc Balestrieri, I began by mentioning that my letter is a personal and private opinion to him about anyone who would publically and persistently teach that abortion is not morally prohibited.”
Well, Kerry purports to believe that abortion is indeed morally prohibited. He says that this particular sin should not be a civil crime. He says that abortion ought, despite his purported belief, be funded in the Third World by US taxpayers.
It will be up to a tribunal, as you say, to put all this together to determine what Kerry is “teaching” publically and persistently. We can’t do it.
I think Balestrieri blew it, and your suggested grovelling is the least he could do.

Jimmy Akin October 24, 2004 at 7:44 pm

I wouldn’t characterized what I suggested as “grovelling.” It’s just trying to make amends for the damage one has done.

Phil October 25, 2004 at 10:10 am

In other posts you lambast PDF files as “evil file format”. Well, your use of blinking text in this post is even more evil.

Chris Jachulski October 26, 2004 at 11:32 am

I think the apology has comedic ring to it, but that’s just my sense of humor. Mr. Balestrieri must eat some humble pie and you’ve provided a palatable entree. One of the positives that came from this whole affair came to my attention during your interview with Al Kresta. You mentioned how a Canonical case can be made against Sen. Kerry. I would be very interested in your thoughts on this.
First time to yoursite
Chris Jachulski

Paul October 26, 2004 at 4:03 pm

I have been reading all the postings on this affair recently, and it seems to me that the criticism of Mr. Balestrieri is one sided. Didn’t the Fr. Di Noia lie as well (refer to evidence on Wasn’t Mr. Balestrieri simply trying to stick up for children in the womb, which Bishops and Priests have now left to the lay people? So what if he used the wrong language, I am inclined to think that he had no bad intentions, and to think otherwise is to judge a man who gave up his job and wage to take on a task that the Bishops have been to cowardly to take on themselves. Now, I will agree that the situation could have been handled better, but my overall point is that the criticism should be on all involved. Also, since when was Jimmy Akin a canon lawyer?

Patrick Sweeney October 26, 2004 at 6:34 pm

Once again, you’ve accepted the claims of Frs. DiNoia and Cole where they contradict Mr. Balestrieri, and not addressed the conflicts between the statements of Fr. DiNoia and Fr. Cole regarding the delegation to reply to Mr. Balestrieri, nor the harm done to the reputation of Mr. Balestrieri by unnamed sources within in the Vatican according to CNS, nor how the CDF decided to help this American student with his homework with a carefully crafted letter in less than 10 days of his visit there.
The “application” of the letter as you put it to the case of not a libelous leap by Mr. Balestrieri as you suggest here. Rather, the substance of letter itself makes it clear it applies to the case of John Kerry and any Catholic politician who advocates an abortion right in defiance of Church teaching. The letter speaks for itself without any “spin”.
“Well by all means use it, no restrictions whatsoever.” Permission was given to make Fr. Cole’s 9/11 letter public. The “confusion” as you put it in your mock apology commenced with the CNS interview of Fr. DiNoia.
Finally, Jimmy, where do you stand? Do you dispute the Fr. Cole’s letter communicates the teaching of the Church? Do you dispute that “if I obstinately deny by teaching and preaching, or doubt that abortion is not intrinsically evil, I commit the mortal sin of heresy”? I don’t think Mr. Balestrieri was “unfair” to Frs. DiNoia or Cole. I think somewhere Frances Kissling must be delighted that Catholics see fit to mock Marc Balestrieri in this week before the election.

Anonymous October 27, 2004 at 11:14 am

“Finally, Jimmy, where do you stand? Do you dispute the Fr. Cole’s letter communicates the teaching of the Church? Do you dispute that “if I obstinately deny by teaching and preaching, or doubt that abortion is not intrinsically evil, I commit the mortal sin of heresy”? I don’t think Mr. Balestrieri was “unfair” to Frs. DiNoia or Cole. I think somewhere Frances Kissling must be delighted that Catholics see fit to mock Marc Balestrieri in this week before the election.”
The silence, Jimmy, is deafening… No reply at all… No reply at all…

Jimmy Akin October 27, 2004 at 12:06 pm

Anon: Excuse me, but I spent most of my online time last night prepping for a state-wide debate on stem cells this morning.
The fact I have not yet responded to a particular comment amounts to “deafening silence”?–especially in light of Rulz 13 and 14?
Sorry, don’t see it.

Weight Loss February 11, 2007 at 8:58 am

Great post.

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