Canon Law and Catholic In Name Only


A debate is brewing around St. Blog over the appropriateness of refering to pro-abort "Catholic" politicians as Catholic In Name Only (CINO). Initially, I intended to stay clear of this controversy since I'm personally not fond of the CINO label. This has nothing to do with canon law and everything to do with taste -- I prefer the much more inflamatory (and I would argue accurate) designation of Demoncrat.

Nevertheless, over at Catholic Kerry Watch my friend Earl Appleby posted a good post on why he believes the CINO term is appropriate. Additionally, Earl dropped me an email soliciting my thoughts as a canonist and inviting me to respond.

Truth be told, I really don't know what canon law says about calling a pro-abort "Catholic" politician a CINO. Nor am I all that interested in researching the question, since I really don't care about the answer. I only have so much sympathy to go around, and as long as innocent children in the womb are being brutally dismembered limb-by-limb, I'm not gonna waste a drop of sympathy on some panty-waist pro-abort who claims to share the same faith as I do. Guess what? You don't.

So if pro-abort "Catholic" politicians find the CINO designation offensive, I don't care. Why? Because try as I might, everytime I get past my outrage at their abuse of the name Catholic, the horror of abortion stops me before I can give the CINO debate any serious thought. In short, every pro-abort Catholic politician is, in my opinion, an offense that should be met with excommunication or public refusal of Holy Communion.

So rather than cry over a few lost votes, pro-abort "Catholic" politicians should sit down, shut-up and thank God their mother didn't similarly dissent from Catholic moral teaching.


"Cafeteria Catholic" seems more accurate to me than CINO, and less refutable. I know it's a dated term, but perhaps more useful.

Kerry claims to be a faithful Catholic and simultaneously proudly lives a life at variance with the Catholic faith.

Clearly, by the indelible stamp of baptism and the fact that he has never formally left the Church, he is Catholic.

Is he a cynical hypocrite or is he deluded or is he simply avoiding the painful question of the contradiction he lives daily?

Perhaps he has simply accepted the false teaching of the post-V2 theologians who presume to judge the magisterium rather than serve it. Perhaps, he is materially a heretic whose culpability God will judge.

There is no good term to describe the situation since we have no knowledge of his heart.

The bottom line for Catholics is that John Kerry's record as a politician and his public positions are incompatible with those of a Catholic politician.

So as a politician, I think it's fair to say that he is Catholic in name only.

Well said, Pete. How are you doing health-wise?

Perhaps Catholic In Baptism Only? Of course, that would apply to Protestants and Orthodox as well.


Use the same term to refer to Pro-Abort Democrats and to the Orthodox and Protestants? That would set the ecumenical movement back eight-hundred years!

Is that "*should* be met with excommunication or public refusal of Holy Communion," or "by canon law *is to* be met with excommunication or public refusal of Holy Communion"?

This topic reminds me of the wisecrack first applied to Geraldine Ferraro: he's a politician whose faith is so very deep and personal, he wouldn't even think of imposing it on himself.

I like to call these voters and politicians Cathlocrats. They believe in evolution and have elvolved from the old Democratic Party and the immigrant Catholics of the early 1900's. Unfortunately many were educated far beyond their alibility to reason. They choose party over both country and church. Feelings are the basis of their logic. I feel therefore I am right.


What? Who?

On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

John Schultz

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unless you state otherwise.


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This page contains a single entry by Pete Vere published on April 22, 2004 2:21 AM.

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