After New York’s passage of an abortion bill that legalizes abortion up until birth, Catholic leaders are calling for Governor Cuomo to be excommunicated from the church.
Within just minutes of the “Reproductive Health Act” being passed, Governor Cuomo held a public signing. The bill moves abortion from the state criminal statute to the health code, allows for abortions up until the point of birth if the health of the mother is at risk or the baby is deemed not viable, and allows non-doctors to perform abortions.
Governor Cuomo then ordered that state landmarks, including One World Trade Center, be lit up pink in celebration of the bill. Cuomo said the gesture was in order “to celebrate this achievement and shine a bright light forward for the rest of the nation to follow.”
Now, some Catholic leaders are voicing their concern about both the legislation and the governor’s celebratory attitude.
"It goes way beyond Roe v. Wade in so many ways, so I don't see it as something to celebrate," Albany Bishop Edward Scharfenberger told "Fox & Friends" Saturday. "The kind of procedures that are now available in New York state, we wouldn't even do to a dog or a cat...It's torture."
Bishops in the state of New York have been asked to consider excommunicating Governor Cuomo from the Catholic Church.
According to Sharfenberger, however, excommunication would only be considered as a “last resort”, and would become a possibility only if Cuomo continued to distance himself from the Catholic Church.
Scharfenberger did say, though, that Cuomo should not be receiving communion. The governor has openly touted his Catholic faith, and referenced being an altar boy as recently as early January in his State of the State address. Sharfenberger said that Cuomo’s flagrant celebration of the pro-abortion bill indicates a "very radical separation from the Catholic communion" and is "light years away" from Pope Francis on abortion.
Bishop Rick Stika of Knoxville, Tennessee called for Cuomo’s excommunication on Twitter.
“This vote is so hideous and vile that it warrants the act,” Stika wrote.
Many other Catholics, including a number of bishops, agreed on social media, but it seems unlikely to happen.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, told "Fox & Friends" Monday morning that excommunication would merely be "ammunition" for pro-abortion opponents. Dolan believes they would dismiss the issue as a Catholic one, instead of an issue related to human rights in general. But he said he gets "wheelbarrows" full of letters a day asking about it.
"He's not going to be moved by this, so what's the use?" Dolan remarked.
The New York archbishop did admit that excommunication for anyone who performed abortions or supported the practice was the norm until roughly 50 years ago, when he says the church began to focus more on mercy.
Cuomo’s father, the late three-term governor Mario Cuomo, was also threatened with excommunication for his progressive views on abortion.