Well, the title of the post says it all.
Not really. I guess you could say this is my thesis to start with, but I'm really interested in others' opinions on this.
A few initial rules of engagement on this: 1. I'm definitely not any kind of Church scholar, I just go on what I've learned in the last two years; 2. I don't want Ted Kennedy (or anyone) to go to Hell; 3. Ted Kennedy's sins are no worse than mine; 4. The culture of death needs to be stopped.
If I understand this issue correctly, excommunication keeps a Catholic from the Sacraments, but doesn't really mean they are "kicked out" of the Church per se; they are effectively kept from all participation in the whole reason the Church exists, the Sacraments. The Church desires that anyone who has been excommunicated will eventually repent and return to full communion with Her. The reasons that excommunication might be imposed on a Catholic, include unrepentant mortal sin, made worse by obvious scandalous behavior. Now, in most cases we should not judge someone we see receiving the Eucharist, even if we're certain, or think we are, of their behavior. Such prejudice is obviously fraught with great danger, insofar as we probably don't really know the full story; they might have confessed and repented and are in a state of grace; if the priest is giving them Communion then we should assume it's OK.
(If I've got any of this wrong, let me know)
But, can anyone really understand a scenario in which Ted Kennedy, and other like-minded Catholic politicians, repeatedly and adamantly push a pro-abortion agenda including the so-called partial birth abortion procedure, but are somehow still in full communication with the Church? Does this not scandalize the person (Kennedy, et al); the parish; and the whole Church?
Sure, we are called to use the "benefit of the doubt" approach, which is prudent and charitable. But if I walked up for Communion, took the Host by hand, and then suddenly you saw me crunch it up in little pieces and scatter it all over the sanctuary, you'd have to use some pretty impressive pretzel logic to not assume I had just desecrated Our Lord-- unless you somehow decide to assume I had performed a sleight of hand trick, consumed the Host and then pulled out an unconsecrated wafer to trick everyone.....nevertheless, a scandal either way.
Looking for your viewpoint.