Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fr. Jay Scott Newman Advises Penance for Obama Vote [UPDATED]

(Hat tip: Rich Leonardi)

Says parishioners shouldn't take Communion until they do penance because of president-elect's abortion view:
The priest at St. Mary's Catholic Church in downtown Greenville has told parishioners that those who voted for Barack Obama placed themselves under divine judgment because of his stance on abortion and shouldn't receive Holy Communion until they've done penance.

The Rev. Jay Scott Newman told The Greenville News on Wednesday that church teaching doesn't allow him to refuse Holy Communion to anyone based on political choices, but that he'll continue to deliver the church's strong teaching on the "intrinsic and grave evil of abortion" as a hidden form of murder.

Both Obama and Joe Biden, the vice president-elect, support legal abortions. Obama has called it a "divisive issue" with a "moral dimension," and has pledged to make women's rights under Roe v. Wade a "priority" as president. He opposes a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court decision.

At issue for the church locally and nationwide are exit polls showing 54 percent of self-described Catholics voted for Obama, as well as a growing rift in the lifestyle and voting patterns between practicing and non-practicing Catholics.

In a letter posted on St. Mary's Web site, Newman wrote that "voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exists constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil."

Catholics who did so should be reconciled to God through penance before receiving communion, "lest they eat and drink their own condemnation," Newman wrote, echoing a I Corinthians admonition for anyone who partakes "without recognizing the body of the Lord."

The response from parishioners has been supportive by a margin of 9 to 1
[ED.: Well, it IS South Carolina after all. Something like this wouldn't go over so well in, say, Massachusetts.], Newman said. He also cited Scripture in urging parishioners to pray for Obama and cooperate with him wherever conscience permits.

***
In an e-mail interview, Newman cited a survey earlier this year by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life that showed fewer than 25 percent of the 65 million Americans who call themselves Catholic attend Mass each Sunday, a "disturbing fact of life" that he said shows the vast majority of those baptized into the church "do not live as disciples of Jesus Christ in any observable way."

Mass-attending Catholics, he said, "vote overwhelmingly" for candidates who oppose legalized abortion.

***
Newman calls abortion the "chief battleground" in the so-called culture wars, and different from "prudential" matters such as health care, education or the war on terror. A Catholic who gets an abortion, encourages one or assists in the procedure is automatically excommunicated from the church, Newman said, a penalty he said doesn't apply to other forms of killing.

"The reason is that abortion is usually murder in secret and it lays axe to human life at its root," he said. With nearly 50 million abortions since Roe v. Wade, Newman said Obama would seek to make "hidden murder" a legally protected right, and anyone who voted to give him such power "will be complicit in the legal holocaust which will follow."

***
Newman said, "An uninformed vote is an irresponsible vote," and that no informed voter this year could have mistaken the candidates' abortion positions.

No matter the intention of the voter, Newman said a vote for Obama is "material cooperation" with his goal of extending the use of lethal violence against unborn children.

Asked if he would actively deny the sacraments to Obama voters, Newman said he won't because the church teaches that no one is denied communion unless it would cause "grave scandal," such as in the case of a notorious public sinner.

However, he said he'll continue to teach the necessity of being in "full, visible communion" with the church before receiving the sacraments.

UPDATE (14 November)
For the record, I've stated many times prior to the election that I did not believe a vote for Obama to be something that is forbidden by Church teaching. I believed it was something Catholics should not do, but I did not and do not consider such a vote something Catholics may not do.

For that reason, I disagree with the presumption that voting for Obama is necessarily something for which the Catholic voter should make Confession and do penance.

That said, some of the anonymous commenters (as well as some of the pseudononymous ones) on this post have completely lost their minds as well as their perspective. They seem to take their allegiance to President-elect Obama and/or the Democrat Party more seriously than they take their allegiance to Christ and/or His Church and her teachings.

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45 Comments:

At 11/13/2008 1:30 PM, Blogger James H said...

Wow, I am sure this will set some tounges a wagging .

 
At 11/13/2008 3:49 PM, Anonymous Phillip said...

I have been to that parish (boy I seem to get around.) A beautiful Sunday Mass. Pretty full daily 7 am Mass also. Men's prayer group before the 7 am Mass which looked pretty heavily attended. I think if someone voted for Obama there they didn't have the excuse of poor catechisis.

 
At 11/13/2008 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go ask the wonderfully accepting tolerant man who will treat the least of his brothers as he would the nazarene master himself; what crimen sollicitationis is. Then you will see that every day, every word that comes from his lips is more damaging than any belief on choice. The height of arrogance is the height of control of those who create god in their own image. Don't worry, the children you think you protect will grow up to possess opposite opinions than you and then you can wish them dead and send them off to war to die.

 
At 11/13/2008 7:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Down thru the long history of mankind, law and legislation, particularly in the U.S. has never been successful in solving moral issues. I am pro-choice, but also pro-life. I have always believed that Christ and God gave us the freewill to choose our fate, not to place that choice in the hands of a whimsical government. There is absolutely no historical evidence that passing a law leads to the elimination of a bad behavior. It is folly and a distraction to believe that politics can solve this problem. President elect Obama has many difficult issues to deal with, you cannot place this on his plate. Seriously, what have the Republicans and George Bush done in the last 8 years to reach a solution or consensus on this issue? Preach life to your congregation, not hate.

 
At 11/13/2008 8:30 PM, Blogger www.RichMaffeoBooks.Com said...

OH! How the Church needs men of God and leaders like Fr. Newman. God, have mercy on us.

Rich
richmaffeobooks.com

 
At 11/13/2008 9:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the religious zealots wonder why a lot of people don't want to go to church anymore. It's been a bag of bigotry for decades. I left the church when I was 14, when our priest refused to marry my sister, because she was marrying a Catholic. Hipocritical, bigoted. Very small minded. And here's another example. Same ol religious stuff. Old world.

 
At 11/13/2008 9:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When Fr. Newman truly examines his conscience, does he feel convinced that Christ would act in the same way? Christ, the son of God who wreaked havoc in the temple because of the Pharisees's devotion to law not love -- would that Christ approve the denial of Obama-voting Catholics the right to catechism? Political beliefs are by necessity widely focused. There are so many grave, moral, important issues confronting us -- war, poverty, racism -- how can we be subjected to penance for exercising our Catholic-inspired vote for social justice?

 
At 11/13/2008 9:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When Fr. Newman truly examines his conscience, does he feel convinced that Christ would act in the same way? Christ, the son of God who wreaked havoc in the temple because of the Pharisees's devotion to law not love -- would that Christ approve the denial of Obama-voting Catholics the right to catechism? Political beliefs are by necessity widely focused. There are so many grave, moral, important issues confronting us -- war, poverty, racism -- how can we be subjected to penance for exercising our Catholic-inspired vote for social justice?

 
At 11/13/2008 9:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When Fr. Newman truly examines his conscience, does he feel convinced that Christ would act in the same way? Christ, the son of God who wreaked havoc in the temple because of the Pharisees's devotion to law not love -- would that Christ approve the denial of Obama-voting Catholics the right to catechism? Political beliefs are by necessity widely focused. There are so many grave, moral, important issues confronting us -- war, poverty, racism -- how can we be subjected to penance for exercising our Catholic-inspired vote for social justice?

 
At 11/13/2008 9:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will never step into another Church as long as Idiots like this would make such outrages statements as Newman has made. Excuse me, you lame brain idiot. Do you think, and I'm sure you don't, that going to war and killing innocent women and children is okay? With the lie your current so called born again Christian President has resulted in at least 100,000 deaths of innocent, non-combantant cilivians. Oh, lets not forget the churches killings during it's history. It's approval of Hitler. Duh! You are garbage and should not preach the words of my Jesus Christ. Please refer to Matthew 25, 41-46. Go molest a little boy. Beware of the anti-christ....his personification is in the form of Jay Scott Newman. Mad? Hell yes, this is the bigotry that causes mean spirited southern white inbred preachers to cause the word of God to be changed for their position of "good". When in fact it kills. Do you remember Mathew Shephard in Montana? I pray for your soul you low life hypocrite. Pick up a gun and go to Iraq. Shameful person that you are, you would not have the balls and would hide behind you pulpit. I served in Vietnam and watched the court martial of a priest who molested a young Vietnamese girl. How much money has the Catholic church spent to correct the behavior of priests who molest children? $250,000,000. That's close just in LA county. You are sick...

 
At 11/13/2008 10:42 PM, Anonymous crankycon said...

Ahh, I see the anonymous trolls have come out in force. Whose button did you push, Jay?

 
At 11/14/2008 12:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Religion is what drives people away from Religion. This kind of talk does nothing to support what "god" believes. Better to have a president who believes in war and killing of innocent living people then to believe in a president who believes in a individuals right to decide whether to carry a child or not. Religion is the single reason for all the troubles in the world. Humans talking for god rather then preaching the true meaning of god. Man is not to chose who is right or wrong. That is only for god to decide. Those that use gods word to condemn others is not a true speaker of gods word but rather a true speaker of what they think others should believe.
I chose to believe there is a higher being and in the end I only have to answer to him or her. Those that want to think they know what god thinks does not understand what god thinks. Do away with religion and you do away with much of the death and destruction of what this world has faced. Good luck to those who live life with blind faith and do not use common scense. God help us all. Not just those that think there way of faith is the only way of faith.

 
At 11/14/2008 12:55 AM, Blogger Adrienne said...

anon - you seem upset. It is something we said?

 
At 11/14/2008 1:04 AM, Blogger The Platonist said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11/14/2008 6:37 AM, Anonymous Donald R. McClarey said...

Judging from the reaction of the Obamabots I'd say Father Newman hit the mark. Bravo!

 
At 11/14/2008 9:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think some spittle flecks hit me. Ew. Can someone get the frothing anons a paper towel or something?

-Chris M.

 
At 11/14/2008 10:29 AM, Blogger DP said...

"There is absolutely no historical evidence that passing a law leads to the elimination of a bad behavior."

Dead on. I mean, aside from the 13th Amendment, 14th Amendment, 15th Amendment, Eisenhower's enforcement of Brown v. Board of Education, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, anti-smoking bans (smokers are now for the first time less than 20% of the population), of course.

But other than that--score!

 
At 11/14/2008 10:31 AM, Blogger DP said...

"I chose to believe there is a higher being and in the end I only have to answer to him or her."

Good luck with that argument if you drink and drive. Let us know how that works out for you.

 
At 11/14/2008 10:56 AM, Anonymous ME said...

IT'S PRO-CHOICE. NOT POR-ABORTION. NOBODY IS PRO-ABORTION.
THERE ARE TOO MANY PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. WE ARE LIKE A VIRUS. NOT ALL PREGNANCIES SHOULD RESULT IN A LIFE. IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE.

 
At 11/14/2008 10:57 AM, Blogger The Platonist said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11/14/2008 11:12 AM, Anonymous crankycon said...

I, unlike people like Fr. Newman, allow for differences of opinion.

Unfortunately for you, The Lord does not. So your option is to obey God, or obey your partisan political leanings. You make the call.

 
At 11/14/2008 11:21 AM, Blogger Terry said...

IT'S PRO-CHOICE. NOT POR-ABORTION. NOBODY IS PRO-ABORTION.

Google "FOCA." After doing so, Google "Obama Promises FOCA."

 
At 11/14/2008 11:36 AM, Blogger The Platonist said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11/14/2008 11:41 AM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

Well gosh, the Bible doesn't say much in the way of condemning slavery either. Yet we don't have much trouble discerning that slavery is an affront to God because of it is an inherent attack on the dignity of those made in the image and likeness of God.

The same goes for abortion, except for the fact that the Bible is also fairly explicit about condemning the spilling of innocent human blood. And it is science, NOT the Church, that says human life exists at the moment of conception.

 
At 11/14/2008 12:03 PM, Blogger The Platonist said...

You are right, Jay, regarding slavery insofar as you believe that it is wrong. I know that slavery is wrong, but again it has nothing to do with me knowing that it is God's will. The Bible is actually notoriously unclear on slavery. One reading of it might give the impression that God condones it in certain circumstances, while other interpretations would forbid it. That is why I don't appeal to scriptures in my rejection of slavery.

Yes, science does show that there is life at conception. I don't think anyone denies that. What I am unclear on is whether a group of cells has the same rights as a human with a fully developed brain and nervous system. The cells are alive, I understand that, but I am not so willing to say that a group of cells is the same as a fetus with a brain and nervous system. I don't think those passages condemning shedding of innocent human blood are so obviously applicable to a group of cells after conception. I think there needs to be actual discussion about the topic, not simply the religious-right and liberals screaming at each other. That isn't going to solve much.

I am content with saying that I don't know all the answers to this issue. I can respect the fact that people want to come to a deeper understanding. What I don't respect is people like Fr. Newman making claims about God's divine judgment. He is in no position to make such a claim. None of us are.

 
At 11/14/2008 12:19 PM, Blogger j. christian said...

The cells are alive, I understand that, but I am not so willing to say that a group of cells is the same as a fetus with a brain and nervous system.

By your own admission, that means that the presence of a human life is not sufficient to afford the most basic human right -- not to be killed. There has to be a "test" one has to pass to get human rights; in this case, there needs to be a certain level of brain function to have rights.

I wonder how those living with brain damage would feel about your position?

 
At 11/14/2008 12:31 PM, Blogger The Platonist said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11/14/2008 12:34 PM, Blogger Tom McKenna said...

What the good father said was simply a reiteration of very basic Catholic principles: one may not cooperate in an intrinsically evil action. Voting for Obama is materially cooperating in his oft-stated, unambiguous, militant pro-abortion agenda.

Ergo, if you vote for the guy, you're cooperating in the grave evil of the continued use and spread of abortion.

No war, no economic policy, no other issue is as fundamental as the continued legalized slaughter each year of thousands of unborn children.

Catholics who vote for such a moral monster have two options: confess and repent or go become an Episcopalian or some other Catholic-lite variant.

The Church and Her ministers have the right and obligation to point out basic moral truths to Catholics and to defend the integrity of the sacraments by reminding Catholics of the necessity of being free from grave moral fault before approaching those sacraments.

If some are upset by this very simple and truthful reminder given by a pastor to his flock, then perhaps the fault (and the stinging conscience) lies within themselves, not with the priest.

 
At 11/14/2008 12:35 PM, Blogger j. christian said...

It's not cut and dry; do you know exactly at which moment the fetus has enough of a functioning nervous system that it is no longer justifiable to kill it? And if you do know that exact point, then why don't we outlaw abortion after that point? If our brains are the sum of who we are, after all...

 
At 11/14/2008 12:51 PM, Blogger LargeBill said...

"There is absolutely no historical evidence that passing a law leads to the elimination of a bad behavior."

DB already addressed the fallacy of this comment, but there is more to address. I don't believe any of us on the pro-life side ever claimed that over turning Roe v. Wade followed by legislation outlawing abortion would totally eliminate abortion. Laws don't work like that. Stealing is illegal, yet some people still choose to steal. Murder is illegal yet people choose to commit murder. Insider trading is illegal and so on. In none of those cases is the fact that the crimes are still committed used as a reason to remove the laws from the books. The fact that certain actions are illegal reduces the occurrences of those actions because of both the stigma of violating the law and the potential for punishment.

 
At 11/14/2008 12:52 PM, Anonymous Phillip said...

Its interesting anon. even showed up. Maybe he has been quietly reading for months. Otherwise how did he come to post here?

 
At 11/14/2008 1:59 PM, Anonymous the platonist said...

I was referring more to you comment about brain damaged people than the unborn with the cut and dry statement. I, for one, do not know when the cut and dry point for ending a pregnancy is. I don't think that means that all termination of pregnancies are inherently evil. I am somewhere between believing that it does not make sense to consider a blob of cells the day after conception does not have to be treated as a human and saying that partial birth abortions are horrific. The answer is somewhere between those two extremes.

 
At 11/14/2008 2:14 PM, Anonymous crankycon said...

a blob of cells

You're starting from an incorrect premise. Actually, you're starting from a premise which is astoundingly anti-scientific. This little "blob of cells" is an amazingly complex genetic miracle that contains the very seeds of life. This little blob of cells immediately becomes a unique individual. We're not talking about something which takes months to develop - within weeks this "blob of cells" (and all humans are blob of cells - just some of us are bigger blobs) has a heartbeat, its brainwaves are starting to kick in, and it is developing at a phenomenal rate into the "baby" that is somehow more deserving of protection.

Being an expectant father makes you appreciate how poorly educated we are about basic biology, and that's reflected in the rationale for supporting the legal right to kill babies within the womb. It turns out it's not the religious who are anti-science, but it's the non-religious pro-aborts who use phrases like "blob of cells" and expect to be taken seriously.

 
At 11/14/2008 4:58 PM, Anonymous j. christian said...

Crankycon is correct that calling it a "blob of cells" obscures the reality of its biology. In fact, it works to diminish the humanity of the embryo by incorrectly comparing it to a skin cell or a ball of cytoplasm.

It's a strange calculus that says, Yes, I admit it's human, and yes, I admit it's life, but I don't recognize certain qualities that I deem necessary for personhood and therefore it's not worthy of the right to live. It's a strange calculus that says when life is at its most delicate, most fragile, and most vulnerable stage, that it is at its least deserving of protection.

More vulnerable = better to exploit?

 
At 11/14/2008 7:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

no christian on earth("abortion legal in 65 countries giving us 50 million murders in the womb NOW ANNUALLY !!) can support any government legitimizing this murder and retain one's fundamental prophetic identity. sell it. collaborate it. aduterate it. or, a 35-year-first-letter-john-confession of moral failure.civil disobedience is called for. it's up to the laity. i have doubts about the ability of "nice" church people wiping this abomination off the face of created earth.

 
At 11/14/2008 9:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Repent, reconcile, penitence then you are once again in full communion.

There are ABSOLUTES and the RIGHT TO LIFE trumps them all.

That was teaching by our Lord, by the Apostles and by Mother Church.

WE HAVE NOT CHANGED, the World and society has,

Repent from the "culture of death" embrace LIFE!

Even if that LIFE is inconvenient.

 
At 11/14/2008 10:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shame on you, you arrogant hypocrite! You are a disgrace to the Church. My parish also harbors a lawyer priest, who is a pedophile and defends other pedophile priests. Sodomize any boys lately, Newman?

I come to Mass to recieve Holy Communion not to support your political party.

My weekly offering will be ZERO from now on. but I'll still come to recieve the Sacraments.

 
At 11/14/2008 10:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's in the Bible, you know.

Read the book of Amos.

You're a disgrace, Newman. Get another job. GET THE HELL OUT OF MY CHURCH!!

 
At 11/14/2008 10:53 PM, Blogger Ben Compton said...

How can people expect to be taken seriously when condemning the actions of Fr. Newman if they do so with such uncalled-for hatred? I know the man, he is a priest of the Lord who does his best to serve his Church and care for the souls of his flock. To hurl such awful insinuations and outright indecencies at him is beyond Christian charity. You people have deep spiritual wounds and I will pray for you. Make no mistake, the Catholic Church is a pro LIFE church. She may have a stained past, but she presses on with the help of Christ and his people. God bless Father Newman, and God bless all of his brother priests. May more have as much courage to preach the Gospel in the face of such vile attacks.

 
At 11/14/2008 11:36 PM, Blogger naneki said...

#1-Slavery in Jesus's time is not the slavery practiced by the US, you can't compare the two. #2-War is terrible, yes, but adults decide to go to war to defend their country, their beliefs(lately seems always for oil!). #3-The death penalty is punishment for a grievous crime, is considered part of self defense, (and greatly overused in the US). #4-Abortion is murder of innocent life, most often the mother would keep the baby if supported by the father of the baby or her own family. Abortion cannot be compared and lumped in with these other social justice issues. We have to educate ourselves historically, learn natural law, learn to love. Thank God for our bishops, 40 years too late but...
Abortion is NEVER the answer for any reason.

 
At 11/15/2008 5:58 AM, Anonymous tony D said...

Thank God for the integrity and truth of Fr,Newman.
And how pathetic and hate-filled are your anonymous commenters.
They are used to avoiding the truth,which Fr Newman so clearly taught in all charity. So the anonymous mob hate him and the truth just as they hated Our Lord, and just as He said they would

 
At 11/16/2008 2:33 AM, Anonymous Michele said...

The ex-Hillary democrats who supported McCain had a number of blogs. They were always pointing out that Obama has people who troll the internet to make nasty comments on posts they don't like.

I notice that you normally only have a few comments on your posts. It seems that Fr. Jay Scott Newman has rubbed the Obama people the wrong way and he is in their sights.

I commend Father Jay for his courage and I do believe that he has taken the canonically correct position. He is asking them to judge themselves and he is giving them good advice on what that judgment should be. With the election of Obama unless God does something extraordinary abortion will be enshrined in our culture for at least 30 or 40 more years. The other thing that will happen with FOCA is that Catholic hospitals will be forced to either do abortions or have to shut down. No conscience clause for us - these radical Democrats will make sure of that.

Yes, I think if someone voted for Obama (depending on how aware they were about the consequences - and there are a few really clueless people out there who didn't really understand - but I think many people probably were aware on some level) it could constitute a serious moral failing requiring confession.After all what we are talking about is murder.

 
At 11/17/2008 6:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sixty years after the Nazi era, the scoop is that Pope Pius XII did nothing to stop the holocaust.

Wouldn't the Catholic haters love it if the Church did nothing to stop abortion.

 
At 11/18/2008 2:19 PM, Anonymous EW said...

People should evaluate all issues and if they think the whole of the campaign disagrees with their vote for the leftist illuminati, THAT'S when they should do penance. Unfortunately, we can't agree with everything any politician says.

 
At 11/18/2008 3:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

" Sodomize any boys lately, Newman?"

Well, statistically, a child is a lot more likely to be molested by their relatives or close family friends than a Priest.

Molest your nieces lately, genius?

 

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