I find it rather interesting that it is progressive Catholics and the liberal news media that are bringing up that Sarah Palin was baptized as a Catholic.
The America Magazine blog has two posts on this today with one asking is "Is Palin an Apostate?" Though that is rather silly claim since apostasy is the total rejection by a baptized person of the Christian faith he once professed. Maybe he meant that she was in schism.
As canonist Ed Peters notes:
Sarah Palin’s probable Roman Catholic baptism and her life spent outside the Church is of little import in assessing her character. Unlike the case of Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who seems to have left the Church as an adult, Palin’s parents apparently took her out of the practice of the Faith while she was yet a child, so Palin cannot be said to have decided against her Catholic identity, nor can anything be concluded about her remaining outside of full communion. Her "re-baptism" at age 12 or so, if that’s what it was, would not however be recognized by the Church (1983 CIC 845.1)
On the question as to whether she can be considered as making a formal act of defection he goes on to say.
Ironically, the only thing that Palin’s Catholic baptism and her life-time spent in good faith outside the Church does, I must say, is underscore again how unsustainable is the interpretation of "formal act of defection" that was handed down in April 2006. How so? Well, if "formal defection" per 1983 CIC 1117 can only be accomplished in writing (a completely new requirement, and one unattested, as far as I can tell, in canonical history!), then Palin never formally defected, which means that she is still bound by canonical form per 1983 CIC 1108, and that therefore her marriage cannot recognized by the Church!
Don’t get me wrong: I think that Palin’s marriage (based on what is publically known about it at this time, of course) is valid (and sacramental if Todd is baptized), and that it is this novel interpretation of "formal defection" that needs urgently to be corrected, not Palin’s matrimonial status. It’s just that I don’t like it when law and life seem to be out of step with each other and, for a change, it looks like the law’s fault.
But even beyond the question of "formal defection", the continued requirement of canonical form for the validity of marriage needs reexamination. There’s nothing new in my saying that: many canonists of the first order have been suggesting for 50 years now.
So this makes for a very interesting canonical questions, but certainly not one that would affect the votes of Catholics as liberals intend it should. It is also rather ironic that they bring this up and yet not to have any problem with Sen. Joe Biden as a culture of death Catholic politician whose voting record at times supports intrinsic evils.