The Greenville controversy continues

The controversy over Fr. Newman’s bulletin at his parish of St.  Mary in Greenville, SC has heated up and become complicated.

You will remember that Fr. Newman made strong statements about the propriety receiving Communion by Catholics who voted for pro-abortion politicians, such as is President Elect Barak Obama.

Many understood that Fr. Newman would refuse Communion to pro-abortion Catholics. 

The MSM got into this and the whole thing blew up.

Then Diocesan Administrator of Charlotte, seemed to repudiate what Fr. Newman wrote.

Then others say that the Diocesan Administrator is backing Fr. Newman.

There was a video piece on CNN.


It would be good to get to the bottom of all this.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Robin says:

    One little correction, Father — it’s the administrator of Charleston, not Charlotte.

    Thank you for staying on top of this story.

  2. Dan says:

    I noticed a few things from the video clip:

    1) An intelligent, well informed priest acting on his Catholic conscience and upholding church teaching on abortion;
    2) Well spoken and courageous laypeople standing up for thier pastor;
    3) A woman recieveing communion on the tounge;
    4) A large group of altar BOYS leading the procession for Mass

    Whatever the controversey, Fr. Newman is obviously doing something right at this parish!

  3. TNCath says:

    Msgr. Laughlin said, “As Administrator of the Diocese of Charleston, let 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”

    Even if he really did privately support what Fr. Newman said, what he said publicly doesn’t sound like “backing” to me. It sounded more like “back-stabbing.” However, I can’t help but wonder from whom Msgr. Laughlin took his cues (or orders) to issue that statement. From what I saw of the video, it didn’t look like Msgr. Laughlin was saying what he said with a lot of conviction.

  4. John says:

    Some comment on Msgr Laughlin’s disgraceful letter “correcting” Father Newman.

    1. “This past week, the Catholic Church’s clear, moral teaching on the evil of abortion has been pulled into the partisan political arena.”

    TRANSLATION: I have been publicly embarrassed because one of my priests upheld Catholic teaching on abortion and material cooperation with intrinsic evil. Catholics should never stand firm in the face of a barrage of negative publicity, but always compromise with evil.

    FACT: The Church’s clear moral teaching applies to any politician, regardless of political affiliation. To affirm it is to remain above partisan politics, or any other type of politics, and to re-state the moral law which guides all politics and which should be at its foundation.

    2. “The recent comments of Father Jay Scott Newman, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville, S.C., have diverted the focus from the Church’s clear position against abortion.”

    TRANSLATION: Father Newman’s affirmation of the Church’s clear position against abortion has made it very difficult for me to hide under a rock.

    FACT: The exact opposite is true: Father Newman’s comments have focused on nothing else other than the Church’s clear position against abortion.

    3. “…let me state with clarity that Father Newman’s statements do not adequately reflect the Catholic Church’s teachings.”

    TRANSLATION: I need to nuance his statements so I can wiggle out of the worldly consequences, and yet appear to remain faithful to Church teaching.

    FACT: Father Newman’s statements absolutely and completely reflect the Church’s teachings.

    4. “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.”

    TRANSLATION: I’m going to use that word “freedom” so I can de-polarize this whole thing and identify with modern man. Then I’m going to use that word “explore” so I can evoke the rhetoric of self-awareness.

    FACT: Christ does not give us the freedom to “explore” our own conscience. “Explore” is a new age term favored among those who would have us “explore” our sexuality, esp. while we’re enrolled in Seminary. How does one “explore” a blank slate, or “explore” a conscience enslaved to base instincts? What Christ actually gives us the freedom to do is to choose the good, and in so doing to FORM our conscience according to the moral teachings of the Church.

    5. “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.”

    TRANSLATION: While I’m creating loopholes, might as well add another “if.”

    FACT: Father Newman’s letter was addressed only to those Catholics who, by voting for Barack the Barbarian, have clearly demonstrated that they have NOT formed their consciences well.

    6. “The pulpit is reserved for the Word of God. Sometimes God’s truth, as is the Church’s teaching on abortion, is unpopular. All Catholics must be aware of and follow the teachings of the Church.”

    TRANSLATION: Here I’m summing up my self-preserving pretense that Catholic teaching and Father Newman’s statements are at odds with each other. I laid the foundation for that manufactured opposition when I said that his statements do not adequately reflect the Church’s teaching.

    FACT: Father Newman’s statements and Catholic teaching are one and the same, but of these two clergy, only Father Newman has the courage to say so publicly. The other of these two, Msgr. Laughlin, is a mealy-mouthed coward, who by his public statement makes himself guilty of material cooperation with intrinsic evil!

  5. John V says:

    To help “get to the bottom of all this,” here’s the intro to Joseph Bottum‘s post at the “First Things” blog:

    “The following documents are useful in clarifying the truth of what Father Jay Scott Newman of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville, South Carolina, said in the aftermath of the November 4 election about conscience, voting, material cooperation with intrinsic evil, repentance, and the reception of holy communion. The truth in this case has been distorted by media reports, which have unfortunately been taken at face value by certain ecclesiastical authorities and by those in the Catholic blogosphere supportive of the Obama candidacy. We publish these documents in order to set the public record straight on a matter of grave importance to both the Catholic Church and the United States—and as a challenge to all concerned in this matter, which has drawn worldwide attention, to tell the truth.”

    Go here for the rest of the post containing the text of the relevant documents.

  6. Jordanes says:

    Catholic News Service, an arm of the USCCB, has an inaccurate, incomplete and misleading report on these events. They falsely claim Father Newman said something he didn’t say, and then note that Father Newman could not be reached for comment.

  7. TJM says:

    I think Father Newman is one fine priest and deserves our support. I plan on dropping a note to the Diocese and to Father Newman to commend him
    on his courageous defense of the Faith. Keep in mind, the media is anti-Christian and in particularly, anti-Catholic. I would not trust anything
    they print on religious issues. Tom

  8. Emilio III says:

    I wonder how Msgr Laughlin would enjoy working for Bishop Newman?

  9. BakerStreetRider says:

    The facts in this whole mess just don’t add up. I happen to know Monsignor Laughlin personally, and the things he is doing are completely out of character. Check out what “Off the Record” reports.

    It seems he is acting under orders, or perhaps coercion. Since he is not a bishop, his authority is minimal, and his direct superior is Cardinal Bernadin’s disciple, Archbishop Gregory of Atlanta, who was so pleased to see a black man finally elected. Now, Monsignor Laughlin is reading a statement on video where he repudiates all he has said in the past on this matter. Connection? Maybe. Strange? Without a doubt. Let’s be sure we direct criticism to where it belongs, and not to an elderly, ill priest who is perhaps suffering more than anyone in this whole situation.

  10. Jane says:

    The diocese of Charleston, SC (currently without a bishop) is under the direction of the diocese of Atlanta. Wilton Gregory, past president of the USCCB or NCCB (or whatever acronym they went by then), is their archbishop. Have you seen Gregory’s statement regarding Obama?

    In a post-election interview, Gregory was quoted as stating that Obama’s victory was “a great step for humanity.” Does the archbishop consider aborted babies–those past, present, and future–to be part of humanity?

    Wilton Gregory was MC for Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. In addition, he was consecrated to the episcopacy by Bernardin, cut of the same “seamless garment” no doubt.

    Connect the dots….

  11. sradagan says:

    For what it is worth, here is the statement made publicly by Msgr. Laughlin at the end of October . Link:

  12. Henry says:

    Msgr. Laughlin is said by some in South Carolina to be a faithful and orthodox priest who is (for what it’s worth in this context) Tridentine-friendly.

    According to Diogenes, Msgr. Laughlin initially issued a public statement of “full support” for Fr. Newman, and also e-mailed him on Tuesday (Nov. 12) after Fr. Newman’s Sunday statement, saying “Thank you for your statement. I wish the bishops would have been as forthright. Why did they not speak before the election?”

    Then, on Thursday (Nov. 14) came Msgr. Laughlin’s about face and public disavowal of Fr. Newman. Diogenes says “Wouldn’t you love to see Msgr. Laughlin’s phone log for November 12-14?”

    Knowing little about affairs at these lofty heights, I myself wonder what outside pressure a diocesan administrator might be subject to.

    Hmm … Just now, I see the preceding posts that appeared while I wrote this one. However, I have some small familiarity with the Church in Atlanta, and wonder whether it is typical of Ab. Gregory to be this “proactive” on his own. Although it’s hardly analogous, I recall that some years back when there was some unpleasantness in Alabama, the outside pressure reportedly came partly from further north and partly from further west.

  13. Lindsay says:

    Thank you John V. The whole thing makes much more sense in light of all the FULL statements available on the First Things blog.

  14. John V says:

    Fr. Z.

    The link was at the end of my original post at 1:35. Here it is again, tagged to the title of the post instead of the short word “here”:

    What Happened in South Carolina

  15. Andrew says:

    Hoping I’ve remembered the original post correctly, I cannot recall Fr Newman specifically saying what most main stream media are attributing to him, namely that he called on people who voted for Obama to confess. I believe he issued that call to those who backed any pro-choice candidate, presumably also for other elected positions, without mentioning names.

    If people voted for a “pro-choice” candidate in good conscience, then they need have no fear of Fr Newman’s implications. Perhaps their rush to judge Fr Newman arises from their own guilty conscience because they know that they did wrong?

    Incidentally, Catholics really should try to take back the moniker “pro-choice”. Choice means also the choice to NOT have an abortion. The debate should properly be termed between those who are “pro-life” and “pro-death/anti-life”. They’re much more Catholic terms. Perhaps they can also be picked up in the main stream media.

  16. Dan: I noticed a few things from the video clip: ….. A woman receiving communion on the tongue ….. A large group of altar BOYS leading the procession for Mass.

    Some additional perspective may be offered by a page I wrote a couple years ago after visiting Fr. Newman’s church to see for myself his “reform of the reform” of the liturgy.

    Based on what I saw on that occasion, I’d assume you’d see only altar BOYS there, and guess that perhaps a majority of his parishioners would receive on the tongue. Of course, since then he’s famously turned exclusively ad orientem at Mass.

  17. Joe says:

    I thought so many bishops were silent before the election because they didn’t want to confuse religion and politics. Isn’t this the perfect time to address these issues (for those with that concern) now that we are the farthest away we will ever be from the next election? If not now, when?

  18. As far as understanding the stuff going on under the surface in G’ville, SC, the CNN piece is largely unhelpful, though I suspect the purpose in posting the piece was to illustrate the relief the issue has achieved. Dan’s points at the top of the thread strike me as right on.

  19. Jim Dorchak says:

    There is a leadership crisis here in SC.

    I was on the picket line on Saturday night.

    The Diocese came out in favor of what Fr. Newman said……………

    Then it changed its mind……….. a woman has a right……

    There were +/-60 of us on Saturday night. Moms, Kids and Dads. It was very peaceful as we prayed the rosary. Fr. Newman came over and made a statement to us the we should pray for him and pray that we have a new bishop soon. It has been over a year since we lost our bishop to Birmingham AL.

    Fr. Newman was spoke of on national talk radio today and several of us who were there called in, only Ivan Ortiz was able to get on, and he did an excellent job of parcing it down to Pro Life VS. Pro Abortion.

    Nothing was said about the next president. Only about being pro life and Catholic.

    I have spoken with no less than 4 other priests in SC who are terrified to be pro life. They are all appalled at the Diocese’ treatment of Fr. Newman, but they are afraid of life under the bus. Many of them I feel will no longer support the Life Chain.

    We here in SC feel like the Catholic Church is not in support of LIFE when the rubber hits the road. It is quite confusing.

    Is the Catholic Church Pro Life or sort of Pro Life? It does not appear so in SC!

    If there are Bishops who are very prominent in the USA saying that Fr. Newman is to be commended, and then our Administrator is for, and then against such Pro Life statements, what is a Catholic to believe?

    The (newest) Diocicean statment is very muddy. What else / next will the Diocese change on us?

    For years my wife, children and I have been standing outside abortion clinics and in life chains, and attending pro life ralleys. Now I feel that all of this was for NOTHING! I do not think that we will be doing this anymore if it is no longer the Churches position.

    The Church in SC better decide what we believe soon.

    Jim Dorchak

  20. Concerned says:

    BakerStreetRider, you make several implications that are based on incorrect assessment of the facts. The diocesan administrator, though not a bishop, possesses all the power of a diocesan bishop (except those things which are excepted by the their nature [i.e., he may not ordain] or by law. Thus, for the time he is running the diocese, he is fairly powerful in his own right. As metropolitan, Archbishop Gregory has limited oversight of his suffragan bishops and their diocese. The most important canon dealing with these matters actually speaks to the power the metropolitan does not have over his suffragans. (c. 436 §3). So, the two major premises upon which you base you argument are wrong. Perhaps you wish to rethink it. There was no need for outside pressure; Msgr. Laughlin may have simply realized that he needed to speak.

    Perhaps, the administrator, who might have even agreed in principle with Fr. Newman, also understood that the letter which had become so public needed to be addressed for its theological and canonical errors, or at least, its lack of specificity. Fr. Newman, attempting to speak pastorally to his flock, drew unwarranted and/or confusing conclusions – a reality which is spoken to to by his own clarification. He confused a state of sin with a loss of full communion – the latter of which is a term of art in canon law that speaks to an identifiable juridic category of persons. Mere sinfulness does not cause one to loss full communion. What Fr. Newman wrote, even if he didn’t mean it in that way, is categorically wrong. Even if one were to conclude that one broke one’s communion through a repudiation of the deposit of faith (and thus committed heresy), he is still wrong. First of all, one would be hard pressed to posit an understanding of a specific vote – which is an act built on an informed conscience about right and wrong but then placed after assessing the situation with the virtue of prudence – to be an act of heresy unless one clearly and principally intended that vote to be a repudiation of a specific church teaching. Even then, though heretical in fact, it probably would not rise to the canonical offense of heresy which must be the obstinate denial or doubt of some truth which must be believed by divine and Catholic faith. Should one keep the heresy to oneself – though deeply held – or teach heresy or engage in heretical practices, it is not the offense of heresy. The offense requires obstinate denial or doubt. To arrive at obstinacy requires ongoing denial or doubt in the face of authoritative correction. That simply cannot happen in a single, secret vote. When Fr. Newman wrote that Catholics who cast such votes have fallen out of full communion with the Catholic Church, he was wrong. And so, the administrator operating with the authority of a bishop in his diocese needed to speak. He should rightly have consulted with others – perhaps even the metropolitan archbishop as this was an issue which had already quickly engulfed the province -and taken their advice on how to address the issue. The administrator might have applauded the effort of a pastor to shepherd his flock, but he also needed to correct the error (or the lack of specificity which could be read as an error).

    There is no need to see a conspiracy behind every statement or act we don’t like. Sometimes, it is just good and holy churchmen like Fr. Newman and Msgr. Laughlin struggling together to faithfully represent what the Church teaches so as to lead the flock to salvation.

  21. Jim Dorchak says:

    Concerned said:

    “There is no need to see a conspiracy behind every statement or act we don’t like. Sometimes, it is just good and holy churchmen like Fr. Newman and Msgr. Laughlin struggling together to faithfully represent what the Church teaches so as to lead the flock to salvation.”

    When it walks like a conspiracy, and talks like a conspiracy, and the bus drives over the priest like a conspiricy…. and with the obvious attempts to tell everyone that it is not a conspiracy by diocicean pundits:

    it stikes me that it is a conspiracy.

    Of course usless you say it is not a conspiracy.

    Jim Dorchak

  22. J.D. Rasnick says:

    Are there any more demonstrations planed at the church in support of Father? If so I would like to know so my family and I can attend and support Father

  23. Brian Mershon says:

    “Perhaps, the administrator, who might have even agreed in principle with Fr. Newman, also understood that the letter which had become so public needed to be addressed for its theological and canonical errors, or at least, its lack of specificity. Fr. Newman, attempting to speak pastorally to his flock, drew unwarranted and/or confusing conclusions – a reality which is spoken to to by his own clarification. He confused a state of sin with a loss of full communion – the latter of which is a term of art in canon law that speaks to an identifiable juridic category of persons. Mere sinfulness does not cause one to loss full communion.”

    Mortal sin? How about mortal sin? Do we really need a “canonist” on here to “clear things up”?

    Do we?

    Let me ask a question. I have been in this diocese for 15 years. I have read more heresy in the diocesan newspaper nearly every week, as well as scandalous stories, immodestly dressed women, for nearly 15 years–both with a modernist bishop and Bishop Baker–who did little to change the newspaper. And now we are to be so concerned because Fr. Newman did not write a multi-page theological treatise on this subject? Seriously.

    The world needs to understand things in a simple manner. If a person, knowingly or unknowingly, votes for a person with Barack Obama’s record on abortion and he is a Catholic, he should OBJECTIVELY refrain from Communion. If he had been a member of Fr. Newman’s pairsh for the past several months, he would know it was grave matter and then would also have sufficient reflection and full consent of the will, right?

    Then that means he would be in mortal sin. You can do your canon law dance with us all you want, but the bottom line is that Msgr. Laughlin has scattered his sheep. He has thrown Fr. Newman under the bus and we all know it.

    Here is a link with the best TV news coverage to date on this fiasco.

    By the way, there is no conspiracy. I dropped that one long ago. There IS gross incompetence, poor morale, no comaraderie among priests and buffoonery within the diocese. No need to think conspiracy when the gross negligence (same legal counsel for two bishops advising and we’re still up for more than $12 million due to the abuse crisis!) will accomplish the same thinkg. Msgr. Laughlin’s statement was the worst public thing he could have done–not to mention this “teaching” did not reflect Church doctrine and was a much worse presentation than Fr. Newmans’s.

  24. Cliff Baggett says:

    Perhaps, now the conservative Fr. Newman will not be so quick to cast all traditionalists as paranoid.

  25. Brian: You can do your canon law dance with us all you want, but …

    … canon law LAP dance …?

    Sorry, nut these learned theological explications seem so irrelevant to the real issue at hand here that I just couldn’t “think before posting” on this one.

  26. jarhead462 says:

    Wow! It seems that the good Fathers’ letter (and reaction to it) is beginning to seperate the wheat from the chaff…..interesting.

    Semper Fi!

  27. Concerned says:

    Henry Edwards:

    God forbid that “learned theological explications” have any role in the discussion of the most important theological, political, and cultural discussion of our day.

    So you all just carry on with whatever you are doing.

    And I did “think before posting.” ; )

  28. Brian Mershon says:

    Concerned. Comments somewhat meant in jest. With an M.A. in Theology, I don’t mean to poo-poo your learning.

    However, Msgr. Laughlin’s statement as it stands by itself:

    1. Does not adequately reflect Catholic teaching.

    2. Was a TERRIBLE pastoral move and serves no one but the enemy and those who seek to divide and destroy.

    Yes, the full and partial communion analogy may indeed not have been a precice one, and someone on this blog mentioned that and pointed it out with precision the day the media got on this story.

    However, let’s leave the intricate theological and canonical nuances aside right now and toalk about the media–which is my expertise and how I make a living.

    The media boils things down to its essentials–the best they can. Headlines are short, cripsy and precise and intended to capture the essence of a story.

    Theological and canonical nuance is not for the popular media–and even seldom for the nCatholic news media. Popular media has a primarily non-Catholic audience.

    CNN and CBS and ABC have now been “vindicated” by Msgr. Laughlin in their eyes and the eyes of their viewers. That is the reality and the shame of it all.

    More abortions will now happen because of the lack of clarity and united front and poor use of the media by the Church–It is as simple as that.

  29. Concerned: Thanks! I probably needed (and maybe even deserved) that.

  30. RANCHER says:

    I thought, and now I’m posting. Those who want to nit pick about what Fr Newman really said, really meant to say, or whether what he said was or was not 100% accurate from the perspective of Catholic doctrine fit in very well with the stuffed shirt intelligentia and the vast majority of Catholics who voted for the Death merchant Obama. As I noted before in related posts this ain’t rocket science. The Church is clear that a vote for a pro-aboriton candidate in the absence of a compelling reason and in the absence of a reasonable alternative is a grave sin. Seems to me that is what Father was saying. So rather than second guess and obfuscate this matter to death I fully support Fr. Newman and pray that there were more like him. Nope, like all of us he is not perfect…but he’s a heck of a lot more perfect than those without the guts to speak forcefully on the issue of abortion. If the budding canon lawyers out there in the blogosphere spent as much time thinking about the “bottom line” here as they do about their theoretical arguments maybe they wouldn’t sound so much like Bishops—and maybe some real progress in terms of educating Catholics might actually occur.

  31. TJM says:

    As promised, I sent an email of support for Father Newman to Msgr. Laughlin. I will post his response if I receive one. Tom

  32. Lisa says:

    I’d like to offer two observations:

    I’m a parishioner and I was there Sun. morning outside the church. I was also in church later that morning. Fr. Newman’s remarks were brief and to the point. He quoted the text, “If Christ be for us, who shall be against us?” and concluded with: BE NOT AFRAID! A standing ovation followed.

    (Great shades of John Paul II, Batman!)

    Also, if anyone has not yet seen Fr. John Corapi’s website with his statement about the election, you might find it interesting. He doesn’t mince words either.

  33. Anthony says:

    Let us all pray for priests at our own parishes in the mold of Father Newman!

  34. From the first, I found Fr Newman’s statement to be actually quite refreshing, possessing none of the obfuscation and moral doublespeak so common to nearly everything on the subject coming from higher levels in America. [Amen.] There IS a responsibility on the part of people getting any pro-abortion political entity into power–they are elected by the people, after all (even if there’s an intervening electoral college), as their chosen representatives and functionaries. Every vote for such a person, whether considered or not, is therefore culpable in the greater scheme of things. Every participant, in this system, therefore bears a moral culpability for the actions of that person whom they have collectively placed in office. That’s simply reality, not some subsection of canon law. People need to take responsibility for their actions, and voting is one of those.

    Secondly, I find Msgr Laughlin’s statement very unfortunate: “Father Newman’s statements do not adequately reflect the Catholic Church’s teachings.” Rather, it is that they do not adequately reflect the Catholic bishops in America’s teachings, is what we need to understand him saying here, unfortunately. [Also… inadequate doesn’t mean “wrong”, unless what is left out is of critical importance for the proper understanding of the issue. Even the bishops’ collective statement is “inadequate”.] For the rest of us who are literate and who live lives of integrity and personal responsibility without trying to weasel out of a difficult situation in order to please either a majority or a vocal minority of mere men, the issue is entirely clear. What ideas and statements like Msgr Laughlin’s lead to is, simply, an excuse for the weak to support any pro-abortion demagogue who has any relatively minor and faintly redeeming item on the social agenda (later, all easily forgotten). This makes such guidelines, in the explication of Msgr Laughlin (and his puppet master, whoever he may be), to be utterly vacuous and thus easily ignored. [I am not sure about that.] Rules that were meant to guide the faithful into proper voting (for the salvation of their souls!) have been nuanced out of their own effective meaning! The malformed and unformed conscience therefore have no guide at all in this presentation of the matter.

    Such equivocation is reprehensible, however comfortable it may be. Once the new president signs the Freedom of Choice Act, which he has already promised to do, every one of those people who voted for him will be partly responsible for the consequences. I’m sure the US bishops will issue a properly nuanced press release about that!

  35. Jim Dorchak says:

    Kevin P. Edgecomb

    What you said was so eloquent that I am in awe.
    There is no “sort of” when it comes to the truth.

    Jim Dorchak

  36. Jennifer Jackson says:

    Apparently several of you do not know that following priestly formation at the Pontifical North American College and graduate studies in sacred theology and canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Fr. Newman also taught canon law at the Pontifical College Josephinum. I don’t believe any of you who have commented thusfar can one-up him in Canon Law; certainly Msgr. Laughlin cannot. That issue aside, I believe Kevin puts it all quite well for the layman who is, after all, the person for whom Father Newman’s original bulletin letter was intended.

  37. lcb says:

    this is creating a crisis of faith for me.

    I believe that a Catholic may not vote for a genocidial maniac who promises even greater genocide. Such a thing is gravely sinful.

    It seems the Catholic Church says I am in error. If I taught the above as if it were truth I would be teaching falsehood. Falsehood because the Faith of the Apostles says, “it’s okay to vote for genocidial maniacs, nothing sinful about it.”

    What does a Catholic who has studied the Church’s teachings and who has spent years actively trying to form his conscience do?

  38. Dave DeCleene says:

    The Holocaust by Bullets by Father Patrick Desbois relates the killing, village by village, of the Jews by Nazis in the Ukraine, forcing the local people to be accomplices. 1,200,000 murdered in full view of the townspeople, bullet by bullet. Sounds like abortion, which is just a euphemism for murder of people, village by vilage, legally, in America.

    Obama has supported the murder of people in the womb in every vote he has cast. He has promised to the largest murdering organization of those in the womb that he will support them (PP), and bring them the Freedom of Choice Act. He has promised to have US citizens pay for murders around the world in the Mexico Charter.

    No Canon law degree is required to be sure, to be as sure that Our Lord resides in our Tabernacles, that to vote for this man is to reject His Church, His teachings. It is time to stand firm against those who condone these murders. Let us no longer use that word abortion.

  39. rosie says:

    “Let us no longer use that word abortion.” I don’t. Glad to know I ain’t alone.

  40. lcb: I believe that a Catholic may not vote for a genocidial maniac who promises even greater genocide. Such a thing is gravely sinful.

    You’re right, of course. To vote for some who promises to even increase the genocidal slaughter of 1.8 million infants per year is gravely sinful. How could a Catholic possibly do it? When no other genocide, past or present, in war or in peace, compares with the 50 million babies already murdered by abortion in this country. If all moral decisions were this clear cut, life would really be simple.

  41. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Brent Bozell’s Newsbusters has a twist on this and supports the above comment that the CNS misstated the situation.

    Please see “Press Coverage of SC Priest’s ‘Repudiation’ Ignores Superior’s Earlier Support, Clever Dodges in Official Letter” at

  42. Brian Mershon says:

    Syndicated national talk radio show host Mike Gallagher just spent the past full hour backing Fr. Newman’s original statement and taking calls speculating as to “who go to Msgr. Laughlin.”

    A diocesan spokesman was supposed to call in to the show, but at the last minute was obviously told to back out.

    Why does it taken an ex-Catholic (Mike Gallagher) radio talk show host to publicly uphold church teaching with laymen calling and chiming in, while the authoritative Church leaders sit on their thumbs and “wait it out until it all blows over.”?


  43. ssoldie says:

    Read Barbara Kralis’s part 1 and part 2 in Renew America. excellent article. Fr Jay Scott Newman was right.

  44. Thank you for your comments, Fr Z. I do think that the problem with what is apparently the USCCB majority opinion lies in permitting too much leeway to the personal conscience of American Catholic voters, without regard to the formation of that conscience. The squiffy character of the statements, and the bold rejection of common sense embodied in them, owe more to the mistaken impression on the part of the bishops (as a body) that it is better not to rock the boat, that it is better to be inoffensive and thus ineffective (that is, not effecting any real change in ideas or behavior), while hoping that their example is somehow admired by the masses. Not taking a stand one way or the other is never admired by the masses. It’s better to take a stand, eliciting either love (on the part of the truly faithful) or hate (on the part of the truly unfaithful), as Fr Newman has done. Eliciting indifference is bureaucratically preferred, but ultimately a dead end. Had these American bishops been charged with writing the Ten Commandments, we’d read something like “Thou mightest consider in thy heart that it is perhaps, all things being equal, not in thy best interest to murder, though we shall leave it up to thine own conscience,” rather than “Thou shalt not murder.” Equivocation fails to persuade and can effect no good. Everyone with the slightest interest in reality and very little effort may learn that the historic teaching of the Church, East and West, has always been that abortion is evil, a grave sin, and that those who choose it and those who effect it and those who support it are gravely sinning. Watering down that reality of historical teaching in order “not to offend” the masses, too many of whom have not learned that simple fact (“It’s not written in the Bible” they say), is not doing those souls any good at all. The faithful have willingly submitted themselves to the Rule of God in this life, the Kingdom of Heaven, and that requires the guidance of the King’s rules adequately expounded, without equivocation and interpretation by his various functionaries. The King has been quite clear in his commands, and His loyal people are completely capable of hearing them and not rebelling. But there are those others who’d rather have “a king like those of the other nations around us” or somesuch. I think it comes down to that. Supporting that misguided desire through not being forthright, through an attempt at accomodation to the world’s mores, makes such functionaries as support the doublespeak interpretation of the King’s Rules guilty of collaboration, making themselves into quislings. Perhaps a next trip to the ecclesiastical tailor should not entail a fitting for the latest style of polyester pallim, but a millstone.

    Over the last few years, something has been building, and something has reached a tipping point in the last few weeks, a perceptible kind of sea change in this world, much more amenable to the goals of its current prince. It seems a turning point of the greatest import, and the time for accomodation and equivocation is over. It’s time, as it really always has been for every one of us, to take a stand, to take sides. The politically savvy parleys of the past seem so childish and wasteful now, in the face of a real and growing darkness. The people need leadership, not suggestions. The sheep need shepherds, not maps.

  45. To clarify for Fr Z’s readers who may not know, I’m a Greek Orthodox Christian.

    I also see my quippy “polyester pallium” is misspelled. So much for quick typing!

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