Loading
Local priests support S.C. pastor in trouble over misreported communion ban
Fr. Jay Scott Newman
Fr. Jay Scott Newman

.- Fr. Jay Scott Newman, a South Carolina priest whose parish bulletin letter gained national attention due to an inaccurate Associated Press headline “S.C. Priest: No communion for Obama supporters,” is receiving support from priests in his diocese.  The show of priestly support comes after Fr. Newman was criticized by the diocesan administrator for pulling the Church’s teaching into the “partisan political arena.”  

In the weekly parish bulletin, Fr. Newman emphasized the need for people to examine their consciences before receiving Communion and noted that self-described Catholics had played a role in electing Barack Obama as president.

 “Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exists 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,” Fr. Newman wrote.

He further added such persons should not receive Holy Communion until they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance. The pastor of Saint Mary’s Church in Greenville, South Carolina also told his parishioners that they must pray for the president-elect and cooperate with him “wherever conscience permits.”

Fr. Newman’s letter originally prompted a largely favorable reaction, with parishioners saying by a 9 to 1 margin that they appreciated his column on the election.

In fact, sources close to the matter told CNA that after Fr. Newman published his original column for the parish bulletin and provided responses to The Greenville News for an article on the column, he received a supportive email from the Diocese of Charleston Administrator Monsignor Martin Laughlin.  In the email Msgr. Laughlin thanked Fr. Newman for his statement and said, “I wish the bishops would have been as forthright. Why did they not speak before the election?”

However, when the Associated Press picked up the story from The Greenville News, it twisted the facts in its headline, which reads, “S.C. Priest: No Communion for Obama supporters.”

The original article in The Greenville News correctly noted that Fr. Newman said 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.”

According to a letter from Fr. Newman to his parishioners, the AP reporter who wrote the misleading article received the same responses from Fr. Newman that he provided to The Greenville News.

Following the publication of the AP article this past Friday, Monsignor Laughlin did an about-face and issued a public repudiation of Fr. Newman’s statements based off of the inaccurate headline that accompanied the AP story.

In his statement, Msgr. Laughlin wrote that the Catholic Church’s “clear, moral teaching on the evil of abortion” was “pulled into the partisan political arena” by the priest’s letter and that Fr. Newman’s actions have “diverted the focus” from Catholic teaching on abortion and “do not adequately reflect the Catholic Church’s teachings. Any comments or statements to the contrary are repudiated.”   

Fr. Newman responded to fracas surrounding his original column in this yesterday’s bulletin from St. Mary’s, saying that he never imagined that his bulletin would be read outside of the parish and that his comments must be read in light of “the teaching of the American bishops on ‘Faithful Citizenship’ which was distributed in the bulletin the week before the election and explained from the pulpit.”

Furthermore, the South Carolina pastor stated that, “From that document and the teaching of the Church's Magisterium, no one could conclude that a vote for Senator Obama is in itself or by itself a mortal sin. But from that same teaching, though, we must conclude that a vote for a pro-abortion candidate can be a mortal sin if the intent is to support abortion, that abortion is not merely one issue among other important issues, and that no Catholic should endorse a pro-abortion politician if a plausible pro-life alternative is available.”

He also pointed out that he purposely did not endorse a candidate, “make myself or any human authority the judge of an individual's conscience” or “presume to know or determine for others what constitutes being a "plausible pro-life alternative" to a pro-abortion politician; I asserted only that there can be such.”

Since the Diocese of Charleston does not have a bishop, Archbishop Gregory has the final say on diocesan personnel decisions and was likely consulted on the statement repudiating Fr. Newman’s remarks.

In the wake of the statement from the Diocese of Charleston, a group of local priests is organizing a public statement of support for Fr. Newman. The priests’ statement will also criticize the way his words were distorted by the media, CNA has learned.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

A state without territory elects new government
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Syrian Christian refugees
Papal Foundation Pilgrimage
Jul
25

Liturgical Calendar

July 25, 2014

Saint James, Apostle

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 20:20-28

Gospel
Date
07/25/14
07/24/14
07/23/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: 2 Cor 4: 7-15
Gospel:: Mt 20: 20-28

Saint of the Day

St. James »

Saint
Date
07/25/14
07/23/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 20:20-28

Homily
Date
07/25/14
07/24/14
07/23/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: