CHARLESTON, S.C. (November 14, 2008) - This past week, the Catholic Church’s clear,
moral teaching on the evil of abortion has been pulled into the partisan political arena. 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. 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.
However, I do dispute Msgr. Laughlin's claim. I dispute it passionately!
Father Newman did not divert focus from the Church's position against abortion. Father Newman's statements do very clearly reflect the Catholic Church's teachings.
Father Newman reminded his parish that the Catholic Church steadfastly, and without equivocation, opposes abortion. He reminded his parish that support of abortion - by promoting it, recommending it, advising it, providing it, or otherwise condoning that practice - is grave matter.
He reminded his flock that voting for a pro-abortion candidate when a reasonable alternative exists is grave matter.
In a letter to his parishioners to be disbursed on Sunday, forwarded to me by a friend in the parish, he says his written commentary to the Greenville, SC, paper and Associated Press included this statement:
I cannot and will not refuse Holy Communion to anyone because of his
or her political opinions or choices, even as I continue to teach what
the Church teaches about the necessity of being in full, visible
communion with the Church before receiving the sacraments. Only those
who believe what the Catholic Church teaches and who seek to live
according to that teaching should even be interested in receiving the
sacraments of the Church, and on the question of the intrinsic and
grave evil of abortion, there is and can be no doubt about what the
The AP turned that remark, and the observation that Barack Hussein Obama is the single most liberal pro-abort Senator and Presidential candidate in our history, into the headline "No Communion for Obama Supporters."
That twisting of the facts is a flagrant distortion of the priest's own words.
And the diocesan administrator has evidently not troubled himself to confer with Fr. Newman before issuing his statement - which has in the past hour been removed from his website and replaced with an embedded video, only.
Please continue to pray for Father Newman. He is being wrongly accused, vilified, and rebuked.