In 1944, Rev. Alan McCoy O.F.M.., J.C.L. wrote a dissertation,
"Force and Fear in Relation to Delictual Imputability and Penal Responsibility," (Catholic University of America.) Under the general heading of "Delictual Acts Interdicted by Divine
Authority," he writes: "When an act is intrinsically evil, or involves contempt of the faith or of ecclesiastical
authority, or works to THE DETRIMENT OF SOULS... imputability is not taken away in such cases since in these instances the observance of
the law still urges under the pain of sin, even though the most severe personal hardship or danger, or also the greatest private harm might come from such observance. and the reason for this is that some spiritual good, either of God or of the Church or of
individual souls is involved... There is consequently always grave guilt (a mortal sin) in the deliberate transgression of such a law."
Violations of Divine Law
As Rev. William Conway also notes
in his "Problems in Canon Law," grave inconvenience which excuses from the observance of a law applies only to ecclesiastical laws: McCoy speaks here of violations of Divine law. And McCoy duly notes that not even the gravest personal hardship or greatest private harm excuses from observing the law. In the violation of the Divine law, positive or natural, only grave
fear externally manifested to witnesses would excuse from incurring the censure [excommuniation] attached to the violation of such laws, (1937 decision by the Pontifical commission for the Authentic
Interpretation of the Code). While it applies to delictual acts that are intrinsically evil, it does not excuse from those acts which, "involve contempt of the Faith or work to
the public harm of souls." (Ibid).
"He who enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but
climbs up another
way, is a thief and a robber" (John 10:1.).
On page 92 McCoy discusses what the Code considers to be acts involving contempt of the faith. He identifies the titles in the Code containing these acts a XI and XII of the fifth book, concerning "Delicts against the Faith and Unity of the Church and Delicts against Religion." These include heresy, apostasy, and schism: communication in scared rites with heretics: usurpation of priestly functions and sacrilege ... .