Canon Law is different than secular law. What is in a man's heart is a valid defense in Canon Law.
Then I'll pose the question to you: how is Canon 1323 prevented from becoming a loophole which then cripples the law itself? What mechanism exists to ensure that each individual Catholic can't just run off and do whatever he wants, as long as he feels there is a grave necessity to do so?
Why does such a mechanism have to exist? Christ deals with it upon our death.
When we go to confession, the priest is not to absolve us if he doesn't believe us to be contrite. However, there is no way to know for sure. He gives us the absolution, but Christ knows exactly what is in our hearts and sends us the grace or not. Similarly, in these matters, an assumption has to be made.
But, to answer you more directly, a trial would be held where they would try to ascertain the disposition. Like in criminal law where murder (intent to kill) is different than manslaughter (not intent to kill). Abp. Lefebrvre was denied such a trial. AFAIK, he sent in stuff, but they didn't answer.
Right, but what I was saying is that if Rome hadn't known about it, a logical appeal could be made to the possibility that Lefebvre was acting in good faith - that is, if he hadn't been warned by Rome that his actions were not deemed necessary by the Supreme Pontiff.
I see where you are coming from, but all that means is the Pope was telling him up front what his decision was going to be should the Abp. take the actions he did. It doesn't mean he can't 1) appeal on the basis of the Canon, and, 2) win the appeal.
In other words, he cannot have a trial until after the crime is committed. Since the excommunicaiton was automatic, he still has had no trial.
The Pope could have easily allowed it to go to trial without his intervention and allowed the ecclesiastical court to decide. An appeal can be made to any subsequent Pope. Just as if I were on trial for murder and the judge died. I would just be tried before a different judge.
Yes, but we are discussing Canon Law, not morality.
The two are not exclusive. Breaking Canon Law involves a breach of morality; that's why something not considered a crime in civil law (such as missing Mass on Sunday), or even considered an objective evil (such as eating meat on a Friday) is still considered a moral wrong when it contravene's the Church's authority.
So, for example, under the 1917 code, a Catholic could not just simply excuse himself from the Friday abstinence and say, "well, my conscience permits this, so it doesn't apply to me."
Yes, but let's clarify how they are attached.
Breaking Canon Law de facto may involve a breach of morality. If I do not know it is the law, I am still guilty and could be convicted. Yet, I am not morally culpable.
If I break the law under an objective reason of necessity, I am neither legally nor morally culpable.
If I break the law consciously with no reason of necessity, I am both legally and morally culpable.
That leaves: breaking the law consciously with a subjective reason of necessity.
We see our example of Christ in Scripture when He is healing on the Sabbath. He is accused of breaking the law. His response is, yeah, so what? What's more important, healing someone or following a law? You guys pull your animals out of ditches.
Let us remove the fact that He is the Son of God so no law is binding on Him, and rather use Him as the example of behavior.
One could argue that He could have put off healing until Sunday. The guy probably wouldn't be dead in 24 hours. So, objectively, He broke the law without what we would call objective necessity.
Subjectively, He obviously did it in good faith and the necessity was apparent to Him. Whether it was a preaching necessity, etc., we don't know.
So, Canon Law serves the Church and is there to help save souls. When charity or necessity requires it, we must break the Law.
The question of whether there really was charity or necessity can only be resolved, as best as humanly possible, via a hearing after the crime. It can't be determined before because the act was not committed yet.
So, I guess what I am saying is that the Abp. deserves his day in court.