Loading
Local priests support S.C. pastor in trouble over misreported communion ban
Fr. Jay Scott Newman
Fr. Jay Scott Newman
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- 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

Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
Sep
17

Liturgical Calendar

September 17, 2014

Wednesday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 7:31-35

Gospel
Date
09/17/14
09/16/14
09/15/14

Daily Readings


Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
09/17/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 7:31-35

Homily
Date
09/17/14
09/16/14
09/15/14