Salzburg's outspoken auxiliary Bishop Andreas Laun said that the owner of the Viennese mall in which an abortion clinic just opened its doors was excommunicated due to his formal cooperation. This made headlines in Austrian newspapers and on tv. A Viennese canon law professor said the bishop was wrong since the Catechism and Encyclical Evangelium Vitae was "irrelevant" for excommunication. The mall owner, Richard Lugner, reacted by saying that the Church should rather worry about all the women it had burned in the past - while emphasizing that he's a good Catholic. In addition, he stated that he intends to sue the bishop. He added that his daughter attends a Catholic school and that "it must not happen that she gets dirty looks from the headmistress because her father is excommunicated."
Kudos to a bishop that knows what's what. The guy has the option of rejecting an abortion mill, but chooses to let them stay (they pay big rent, you know). Sovereign bishop excommunicates him for formal cooperation with evil. Does the guy repent? Does he (metaphorically) put on sack cloth and sit in ashes and upon the dung heap? Nope. He brings in the big guns: his lawyers. How dare the bishop say anything that will come between him and his pursuit of Mammon! He's a Good CatholicTM! Also note the eagerness of the canon lawyer to jump to his defense saying that the canons don't apply to him. Just a guess, but I think that a bishop would know when and how the proper canon law applies for him to excommunicate an unabashed and scandalous sinner. And of course the guy brings up his poor daughter who will get "dirty looks" because her father is excommunicated. You know how to fix that? Kick out the abortion mill, and get back in union with the Church! Pretty simple. But I guess that doesn't result in him becoming enriched on the blood of the innocent.
I would like to know on what grounds this guy thinks he has a case to sue a bishop. I could see an appeals process through the Church, but at least in the US (or how it should be in the US) a judge would throw this case out in a heartbeat, because the civil system has no say in how the Church governs her own.
Three cheers for the Bishop!
[Hat tip: Amy]