Saturday, November 15, 2008

Diocese Repudiates Priest Who Told Obama Voters To Seek Penance

ABC News today reports on an unusual public repudiation by the Catholic Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina of statements made by a Greenville, SC priest, Father Jay Scott Newman . Last week Newman wrote in his church newsletter that any Catholic who voted for Barack Obama needed to seek penance before again taking communion. He said: "Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exits constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil, and those Catholics who do so place themselves outside of the full communion of Christ's Church and under the judgment of divine law. Persons in this condition should not receive Holy Communion until and unless they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance, lest they eat and drink their own condemnation."

Monsignor Martin T. Laughlin, Administrator of the Diocese of Charleston, issued a statement yesterday reading in part:
This past week, the Catholic Church’s clear, moral teaching on the evil of abortion has been pulled into the partisan political arena. The recent comments of Father Jay Scott Newman ... have diverted the focus from the Church’s clear position against abortion.... [L]et me state with clarity that Father Newman’s statements do not adequately reflect the Catholic Church’s teachings. Any comments or statements to the contrary are repudiated....

Christ gives us freedom to explore our own conscience and to make our own decisions while adhering to the law of God and the teachings of the faith. Therefore, if a person has formed his or her conscience well, he or she should not be denied Communion, nor be told to go to confession before receiving Communion.... We should all come together to support the President-elect and all elected officials with a view to influencing policy in favor of the protection of the unborn child.