A conservative U.S. lawyer's attempt to enlist the Vatican in his drive to declare Senator John Kerry a heretic over his abortion views backfired Wednesday when the Holy See said it had been hoodwinked.If you can judge a man by the quality of his enemies, John Kerry must be one hell of a guy.
Marc Balestrieri, head of a conservative Catholic group called De Fide, has been pushing for the Church to rule that the Democratic presidential candidate has inflicted excommunication on himself because he supports a woman's right to an abortion.
Balestrieri caused a stir in the United States this week when he asserted in interviews and on his Web site that he had won an unofficial and indirect green light from the Vatican.
But Wednesday, the Vatican denied his assertions, which received widespread coverage in major U.S. media.
Father Augustine Di Noia, third-ranking official in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's doctrinal office, told Reuters that Balestrieri had hoodwinked the Church by misrepresenting himself.
Balestrieri submitted a query to the Congregation several months ago, asking if someone who publicly supported abortion rights would be guilty of heresy and incur what the Church calls "automatic excommunication."
Di Noia, the Congregation's undersecretary, referred the request to Father Basil Cole, a canon lawyer in Washington.
Cole provided a response which said that if a Catholic "publicly and obstinately" supports the civil right to abortion despite knowledge of the Church's teaching, that person commits heresy and "is automatically excommunicated."
Balestrieri asserted that Cole's letter was proof that the Vatican was on his side. But Di Noia said: "His claim that the private letter he received from Father Basil Cole is a Vatican response has no merit whatsoever."
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
KERRY BASHER PUNKS VATICAN
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