Q. 1. I heard that politicians who support abortion, they excommunicate themselves. How can that happen if the Bishop does not excommunicate him/her?
A. 1. First of all, you have to understand that there are two types of excommunications. They are:
1. There is the penalty of "ferenae sententiae," which is imposed by the Bishop and becomes effective at that time.
2. There is the penalty of "latae sententiae," that occurs automatically when the action is implemented. So if a person says she supports abortion, at that moment, she is automatically excommunicated.
Canon Law # 1314 "Generally, a penalty is ferendae sententiae, so that it does not bind the guilty party until after it has been imposed; if the law or precept expressly establishes it, however, a penalty is latae sententiae, so that it is incurred ipso facto when the delict is committed."
Here are examples of when an automatic excommunication takes place. In this case, we will use abortion.
a. By counsel (to give advice to have an abortion, one's opinion or instructions.)
b. By command (to demand, to order an abortion, such as in the military.)
c. By consent (to give permission, to approve of an abortion, to agree to.)
d. By provocation (to dare to have an abortion.)
e. By praise or flattery (to cheer, to applaud one's choice of an abortion, to commend.)
f. By concealment (to hide the action, to cover-up the abortion.)
g. By partaking (to take part in the abortion, to participate.)
h. By silence (by playing dumb, by remaining quiet on the matter of the abortion.)
i. By defense of the ill done (to justify, to argue in favour of an abortion.)
As can be appreciated from the above list, any politician who favours abortion, recommends it, supports it, or vote for its implementation, such a politician is automatically excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
An excommunicated person can no longer receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Should the excommunicated person die under the penalty of excommunication, such a person is eternally damned.
Now, regarding excommunications, there are situations where a person cannot be automatically excommunicated. Such situations involve when:
Code of Canon Law # 1323 "The following are not subject to a penalty when they have violated a law or precept:"
Being under the age of 16
1/ "a person who has not yet completed the sixteenth year of age;"
Not aware that such action violated the law
2/ "a person who without negligence was ignorant that he or she violated a law or precept; inadvertence and error are equivalent to ignorance;"
Forced to commit the crime
3/ "a person who acted due to physical force or a chance occurrence which the person could not foresee or, if foreseen, avoid;"
Committed the crime under fear
4/ "a person who acted coerced by grave fear, even if only relatively grave, or due to necessity or grave inconvenience unless the act is intrinsically evil or tends to the harm of souls;"
Acted in self-defense or in the defense of another
This excludes killing the fetus to save the mother.
5/ "a person who acted with due moderation against an unjust aggressor for the sake of legitimate self defense or defense of another;"
Lacked the use of reason
This would apply to the mentally ill, mentally handicapped or the senile.
6/ "a person who lacked the use of reason, without prejudice to the prescripts of cann. 1324, §1, n. 2 and 1325;"
7/ "a person who without negligence thought that one of the circumstances mentioned in nn. 4 or 5 was present."
Supposing none of the above exception apply, the guilty party of an abortion receives an automatic ("ipso facto") excommunication called "latae sententiae." This takes place immediately, even if no one but God and the sinner knows of the crime that was committed. So if a politician supports abortions, he/she is automatically excommunicated, without having to be told by the Bishop. If such a person dies in his/her sin, he/she will be eternally damnned.