"They (Mexican Church leaders) did nothing new, surprising or arbitrary. They simply announced publicly what is contained in the law of the Church... which expresses our appreciation for life and that human individuality, human personality is present from the first moment (of life)".
Under Church law, someone who knowingly does or backs something which the Church considers a grave sin, such as abortion, inflicts what is known as "automatic excommunication" on themselves.".
making it crystal clear there is such a thing as automatic excommunication people bring on themselves. So, it really doesn't matter what declared means. Unless, of course, your argument is that Pope Benedict XVI was wrong and automatic excommunication isn't really the same as someone being excommunicated by formal declaration.
In 2007, now Pope Francis wrote, we should commit ourselves to Eucharistic coherence, that is, we should be conscious that people cannot receive holy communion and at the same time act or speak against the commandments, in particular when abortions, euthanasia, and other serious crimes against life and family are facilitated. This responsibility applies particularly to legislators, governors, and health professionals.
Both Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have described politicians, parliamentarians, and others who facilitate abortion in some way as an identifiable, distinct, class of persons in the eyes of the Church.
Both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis say this entire class of persons meet the criteria to be excommunicated and have in fact already excommunicated themselves. This entire class of persons, then, ". . . are not to be admitted to holy communion", therefore it can be argued that this entire, identifiable, self-identifying, class of persons are all already under interdict.
Furthermore, what "declared" means is irrelevant because Canon 915 says, "Those upon whom the penalty of Excommunication or interdict have been imposed or declared and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin . . .", not only "those upon whom the penalty of excommunication has been declared . . .". No formal action on the part of the Church is needed when someone very publicly, ". . . does or backs something which the Church considers a grave sin . . .", especially when that person is a member of a clearly identified class of persons, a self-identified, voluntary, member of that clearly identified class of persons, very public persons at that, who the Church has identified as having automatically excommunicated themselves.
They are public persons, they go on record as obstinately persisting in manifest grave sin, they make public speeches advocating manifest grave sin, no formal declaration by the Church is required when someone publicly, very publicly, obviously declares them self excommunicated by the standard of Canon 915.
The only time what "declared" means mattered was when these individuals declared their own excommunication.
In response to a question from a Mexican reporter Pope Benedict said
In 2007, now Pope Francis wrote,
Second, I do not think that my argument is disingenuous, neither is my motivation. My own personal background in this is a conversation with a Dominican after that priest who denied communion to an "out" and in his face lesbian was disciplined. After that I read some articles. I am presenting what I read.
Third. Latae sententiae is, arguably, different from "declared." When a law puts in a modifier it suggests a distinction between the thing as modified and another instance of the thing without that modifier.
Fourth. "Declaration" is, so to speak, binary. A thing is either declared (and promulgated) or not. (And right there, with the addition of the IMHO implied "promulgated" we have to two-element "truth table".) But with respect to " others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin" we have two matters of judgment, obstinacy and manifestness, of which both would seem to be necessary. Since they are matters of judgment, the question ceases to be a slam dunk.
Fifth, I dispute the contention that I put myself in a position where I am calling Pope Benedict wrong or mendacious. You write:
Unless, of course, your argument is that Pope Benedict XVI was wrong and automatic excommunication isn't really the same as someone being excommunicated by formal declaration.I think that latae sententiae ("automatic") excommunication DOES differ from excommunication which comes with a declaration or the obstinacy and manifestness discussed above. If not (I suggest), they would not have used those words. If the canon makes the distinction, then the interpreter of the canon must make the distinction or show -- by argument -- how it is not really a distinction. But the DEFAULT interpretation has to be IMHO that they used the words on purpose.
They differ, I argue, precisely in the matter of who enforces and how they enforce. The obligation on the excommunicate person does NOT differ, and the sin committed when he communicates is the same in kind (if different in gravity) in either case.
So when the Pope -- or the beggar in the street -- OBSERVES that someone is excommunicate, that observation is not the same as a declaration. I can observe (and have observed) that Sebelius, Pelosi, and Biden are excommunicate, and would argue cheerfully (given enough coffee or, after five, bourbon) to that effect. But that accurate observation is distinct from any observation concerning who should enforce the excommunication and how it should be enforced. They are simply two different questions.
I think a formal declaration, possibly including specifics about how the excommunication is to be enforced and -- for my money the real acid test -- who can lift it, is overdue. But our Lord delays his coming in patience, and it may be well for the Holy See to wait until every opportunity and then some has been given for some obvious repentance on the part of these scandalous, contumacious, and obstinate sinners.
But I don't see how there is a delict on anybody's part in administering the sacrament to these people -- yet. I am glad that it's not my call and I bear in mind that those without authority often question, sometimes correctly, the courage and responsibility of those with authority. But that is between them and God.
Finally, though the Pope is the Vicar of Christ, and though the Church is Christ's body, still, in their frequent -- and frequently distressing -- reliance on subsidiarity, I think the canons reveal to those who search a deep trust in the true shepherd of souls. It may SEEM namby-pamby to hold off on the imposition of an interdict or the enforcement of excommunication. But I suggest it may be, at least partially, a matter of giving God time to work on the arrogant and unrepentant.