Sr. Margaret McBride’s canonical status

Sr. Margaret McBride is the St. Joseph’s hospital administrator who Bishop Olmsted declared was automatically excommunicated for her official approval of a direct abortion at the hospital. His declaration implies that everyone else at the hospital who were involved to the same or to a greater degree as McBride are also excommunicated. And it implies that everyone else with the same or greater degree of involvement in any abortion anywhere is also excommunicated automatically. But this would be the case even absent of any declaration by any particular Bishop.

For McBride and all other similar perpetrators to return to unity with the Church, it is necessary to repent from all such sins pertaining to abortion: procurement, formal cooperation, and heresy. Since St. Joseph’s had a standing policy, approved by the ethics committee and the administration, of perpetrating direct abortion in cases of rape, incest, and the life of the mother, they are guilty of every such abortion that occurred, and also guilty of heresy (for their belief that such abortions are moral). If you sit on an ethics committee at a hospital, and you assert that some direct abortions are moral, or you assert — contrary to the teaching of the Magisterium — some new basis for determining that an abortion is indirect, you are guilty of heresy.

Heresy automatically excommunicates the heretic independent of Canon Law. Apostasy, heresy, and schism are the three offenses that automatically excommunicate by the nature of the offense. Apart from Church Law, those three sins excommunicate because they are direct grave offenses against unity; they severe union with the Church by their very nature. Many Catholics are automatically excommunicated for these sins.

Concerning Catholic hospitals, any Catholic physician who distributes abortifacient contraception is guilty of abortion, and is automatically excommunicated. And any Catholic physician who merely believes (but does not act on the belief) that direct abortion is not always gravely immoral is guilty of heresy and automatically excommunicated. The same is true of hospital adminstrators who approve of abortion or abortifacient contraception.

Sr. McBride is not alone in her excommunication. Whether or not she is repentant and has had her excommunication lifted by now, I do not know. But she has much to repent from. And so do many other Catholics who work at Catholic hospitals around the world. For this heretical belief that direct abortion is moral in cases of rape, incest, and the life of the mother, and that abortifacient contraception is moral, is a widespread and very harmful heresy.

by Ron Conte

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