Friday, November 14, 2008

No Communion For Obama Supporters?

Rev. Jay Scott Newman of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greenville, SC has told his parishioners that they should refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they voted for Barack Obama because the president-elect supports abortion, and supporting him "constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil." He went on to say that "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."

Oh, where to begin?

First, using his pulpit to threaten parishioners because of their political choices is inappropriate. It's all well and good to talk about his church's opposition to abortion, but to couch it in political terms is another thing entirely. It is enough for him to talk about the Catholic church's position on abortion, then to leave voters to vote based on their own consciences.

Second, responsible voters choose a candidate according to a wide range of issues, not just a single issue such as abortion. If one uses abortion as the only litmus test for an acceptable candidate, we must remember that Hitler was against abortion, but that hardly made him a worthy candidate to vote for.

It's also interesting to note that Obama opposes the death penalty -- which agrees with another official position of the Catholic Church.

So, why then is Newman being inconsistent and hypocritical by not cautioning voters who voted for pro-death penalty candidates and demanding penance out of them? Does he consider some official Catholic positions on various matters to be more important than others?

Fifty-four percent of Catholic voters in SC voted for Barack Obama, a state which ended up going to McCain in the recent election. It's quite possible that concerns about the economy, health care, the war in Iraq, and so on, took precedence in influencing their choice of candidate, rather than imposing their church's stance on abortion on the American population, most of whom who are not Catholic, through secular law.



dudleysharp said...

Obama says that he is for the death penalty, btw.

The threat is not because of political choice, it is because the Church finds all abortions intrinsicly evil. Under all choices, political or otherwise, the priest would give the same instruction.

In Catholic teaching, abortion and the death penalty are very different moral issues
From Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters, contact info below.

Catholics in good standing can support the death penalty and even an increase in executions, if their own prudential judgement calls for it.
What Ardent Practicing Catholics Do (1)
By Fr. John De Celles, 9/1/2008
"Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is … a grave and clear obligation to oppose them … [I]t is therefore never licit to … "take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it."
In other words: it is always a grave or mortal sin for a politician to support abortion.

Now, some will want to say that these bishops-and I- are crossing the line from Religion into to politics. But it was the Speaker of the House (Nancy Pelosi) who started this. The bishops, and I, are not crossing into politics; she, and other pro-abortion Catholic politicians, regularly cross over into teaching theology and doctrine, And it's our job to try clean up their mess.

But there's something more than that here. On Sunday, before the whole nation, she claimed to be an "ardent, practicing Catholic." Imagine if someone came in here and said "I'm a mafia hit man and I'm proud of it." Or "I deal drugs to little children." Or "I think black people are animals and it's okay to make them slaves, or at least keep them out of my children's school."
Are these "ardent practicing Catholics"?  No, they are not."

And neither is a person who ardently supports and votes to fund killing 1 to 1.5 million unborn babies every single year. Especially if that person is in a position of great power trying to get others to follow her. Someone, for example, like a Catholic Speaker of the House, or a Catholic candidate for Vice President of the United States, or a Catholic senior Senator who is stands as the leading icon his political party. Like the proud and unrepentant murderer or drug dealer, they are not ardent Catholics. They are, in very plain terms, very bad Catholics."

But the reason I say all this is not because I want to embarrass them or even correct them — they’re not even here. It’s because of you. Because back in the 1850’s when Catholic bishops, priests, and politicians were either silent or on the wrong side of the slavery debate, they risked not only their souls, but the souls of every other Catholic they influenced. I cannot do that, and I won’t do that.

Some would say, well Father, what about those people who support the war in Iraq, or the death penalty, or oppose undocumented aliens? Aren’t those just as important, and aren’t Catholic politicians who support those “bad Catholics” too?

Simple answer: no. Not one of those issues, or any other similar issues, except for the attack on traditional marriage is a matter of absolute intrinsic evil in itself. Not all wars are unjust — and good Catholics can disagree on facts and judgments. Same thing with the other issues: facts are debatable, as are solutions to problems."
 Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) "stated succinctly, emphatically and unambiguously as follows":

"Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia." (2)
(1) "What Ardent Practicing Catholics Do: Correcting Pelosi", National Review Online, 9/1/2008 6:00AM

(2) "More Concerned with 'Comfort' than Christ?", Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick: Catholic Online, 7/11/2004 NOTE: Ratzinger was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and delivered this with  guidance to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Cardinals, Bishops and Congressmen Slam Pelosi on Abortion

New York Cardinal - Pelosi Not Worthy of "Providing Leadership in a Civilized Democracy"

Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
e-mail,  713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas
Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.
A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.

Cat said...

I saw that and it disgusted me.
Someone needs to get a hold of his bishop and explain the separation of church and state, not to mention some of the rules regarding tax exemption for not for profit religious groups in these parts.