Tatsächlich: Es gibt sie noch. Und zwar nicht nur faktisch, massenhaft und weitgehend im Verborgenen, sondern auch offen festgestellt von einem, der dafür qua Amt zuständig ist. Gerald Augustinus weist aus gegebem Anlass auf eine Kolumne von Richard John Neuhaus hin:
„Excommunication — separating oneself from full communion with the Church — is something that is done by the person who is excommunicate. The Church simply declares what it is that the person has done, and when, as in this case, the offense is public, the declaration is public. A formal declaration of excommunication is a last resort, undertaken with the greatest reluctance.
In a culture attuned to Protestant voluntarism and in thrall to the idea of “inclusiveness,” the very idea of excommunication is deeply offensive. As reflected in the news reports, it is thought that what must really be at stake is power or money, or both. What is most importantly at stake, however, is the very definition of what it means to be Catholic. A parish is Catholic if it is in full communion with a bishop who is in full communion with the Bishop of Rome. Such a parish is part of the “local Church,” meaning the diocese, of which the bishop is the pastor. Every priest and parish pastor participates in the ministry of the bishop who, in turn, participates in the college of bishops, the successors to the apostles, with and under the Bishop of Rome. In sum, the Church is guilty as charged: the Church is — always has been and always will be — hierarchical, which many think is a very bad thing to be.“