Monday, November 17, 2008

Priest excommunicates those who voted for Barack Obama

One could not quite imagine it here. It is simply not, well, English, or even British. Excommunication belongs to bygone era. Good grief, if the Rt Hon Tony Blair QC is not deserving of excommunication, Cranmer is not sure who is. Yet Mr Blair was welcomed into the Roman Catholic fold with open arms – no penance, no apology, no regret.

But in South Carolina a Roman Catholic priest has told his parishioners that ‘they should refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they voted for Barack Obama’.


Cranmer cannot wait for a priest or bishop of the Roman Catholic Church in the UK to threaten to excommunicate those who vote Labour at the next general election. While Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor has hinted at his displeasure with the present regime, he would not dare go so far as threatening excommunication.

Yet Labour has done more in the past decade to erode the Christian foundations of this nation than any monarch or prime minister in centuries. And all in the name of ‘equality’. Labour has become intolerant of and antithetical to some of the most fundamental Christian beliefs. It fails to protect the unborn child, it advocates experimentation on human embryos, it legislates for same-sex partnerships, forces Catholic adoption agencies to close, and tries to force faith schools to take students who do not adhere to that faith.

Labour shows itself to be consistently contending against the faith. Ergo, according to the reasoning of the Rev Jay Scott Newman, voting Labour may constitute a sin.

Pope Benedict XVI himself recently reiterated that Roman Catholics in politics must be ‘coherent’ with the faith they profess. He recommended that they act with moral rigour and work passionately for the common good.

In a democracy, all Catholics are involved in politics. And so Fr Jay Newman declares that those who voted for Barack Obama are effectively supporting his beliefs on abortion, and so they are complicit in murder and guilty of sin.

He writes: "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. 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."

And so they are excommunicated until such time as they have done penance for their sin.

This is clearly a matter upon which Rome is divided. While vice-president-elect Joe Biden has been excommunicated in some parishes, he finds a warm welcome in others. Doubtless the same is true of Nancy Pelosi. They believe what they want to believe, and misrepresent the teachings of their church with impunity.

The Rev Jay Scott Newman is a brave priest indeed, not merely for contending against the political zeitgeist, but also for confronting the majority of America’s Catholics, for, notwithstanding Barack Obama’s beliefs on abortion, he was supported by 54 per cent of them.


Blogger McKenzie said...

Can't argue with that, unfortunately.

17 November 2008 at 09:41  
Blogger Berenike said...

(rolls eyes)

That's not excommunication. I don't think priests even can excommunicate anyone.

(is it? can they? Am I wrong?)

17 November 2008 at 09:55  
Anonymous oiznop said...

Well, telling people not to take communion because they're unpenitent certainly sounds like a form of excommunication to me. The priest's a bit over zealous, maybe, but I think he's got a pastoral responsibilty to exclude parishioners who will be 'drinking judgment' on their own heads.

17 November 2008 at 10:45  
Blogger Berenike said...

That's not excommunication. If I knife an old lady, I can't receive Holy Communion till I've repented and confessed, but I'm not excommunicated.

I'm not trying to start a discussion about confession or the (non)existence of a distinction between mortal and venial sins or or or ...

The blogger has been sloppy, that's all I'm pointing out. If I am wrong, then I will have learned something.

17 November 2008 at 12:42  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr/Miss/Mrs/Ms Berenike,

His Grace sloppy?

All he is doing is reporting a news story which is clearly sourced, of which the headline is:

"SC priest: No communion for Obama supporters"

His Grace may be having a little fun (for he is known to be of a good-humoured disposition), but 'sloppy' he is not.

At the very least, this priest is communicating that Democrats are not welcome at his church. This may not be a formal excommunication, but the spiritual alienation and physical discomfort induced amount to the same thing. Indeed, as a result of the priest's 'suggestion', the Democrats who attend this church to participate in communion may be tempted to do so for wholly unholy motives.

17 November 2008 at 12:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And where is/was Jay Scott Newman in attacking racial prejudice - a phenomenon not unknown in South Carolina. Will he excommunicate those who have not offered penance for supporting the Ku Klux Klan in the past. That would be real bravery - but perhaps that would be a real challenge to orthodoxy in his redneck part of the woods.

17 November 2008 at 13:34  
Blogger Holy Smoke said...

So how does one repent? Surely you can't undue your vote.

The US Catholic Bishops have created some of the confusion because they advocate a social agenda that is pro Democratic party. Thus manny of the Catholics who voted for Obama did so based on economic and social issues. Others have been life long Democrats and would never vote Republican.

Until the CC gets serious and excommunicates Bidden and Pelosi they are blowing smoke!

17 November 2008 at 15:12  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Your Grace, with bated breath I navigated to the website you cited to find that Monsignor Martin T Laughlin, the Diocesan Administrator has now 'clarified' the Churches position. As I read from the statement on the website, Fr Newman has been slapped on the wrist.

The Monsignor says that

"... 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."

I find that a tad worrying. So if Mr Joe Doe has a conscience about voting for Obama he must go to confession, but if Mr Sam Spade has no such qualms, he doesn't?

With the secrecy of the ballot box, there are the practicalities of denying anyone communion unless they have voted for the precise purpose of increasing abortions and tell everybody about it.

If anyone is to get excommunicated, they need to be a public figure and the ceremony public, like the scene in Becket with bell the book and the candle, in the Cathedral. The TV rights would be enormous.

17 November 2008 at 16:12  
Blogger Berenike said...

Goodness, I provoked! How exciting.


If not sloppy, we are left with with igronance, humour (quel humility!) or being deliberately misleading :-) The source don't enter innuit, unless we are to being relying on newspaper headlines for our understanding of other religions.

"No communion" is not the same as being excommunicated. Not any old mortal sin excommunicates one, and yet any old mortal sin bars one from communion. I am waiting for someone to correct me. Not, I should add, with great indignation or anything. I was just hugely disappointed by the non-correspondence of the headline and the article on what I had thought was a blog of accurate religious journalism.

Yours pointing-outingly,

Berenike bat Ionah

(some fellow papist please tell me if I have got it all wrong! I've never done more than flick through the CIC.)

17 November 2008 at 16:16  
Anonymous len said...

Whether you can get excommunicated or not is of little consequence to me (I am evangelical, not catholic).
What would frighten me witless would be the thought of appearing before the Great White Throne of God to explain why I condoned abortion!

17 November 2008 at 17:58  
Blogger The Gentleman Loser said...

Would Your Grace vote Labour if the only pro-life candidate were John Battle?
Should a Labour Voter be excommunicated in such circumstances?
Or is it more complicated than that?
Talking of papist films...remember the bit in Man For All Seasons where More says (along these lines) to Norfolk:
"And when you are sent to heaven for following your conscience and I am sent to hell for not following mine will you join me for companionship?"

Mortal sins requires, not just grave matter but full knowledge and deliberate intent.

I have a feeling that there are different types of excommunication... I'll find out.

17 November 2008 at 18:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the only person able to excommunicate anyone from His presence is the Lord Himself, not the catholic church. But it's nice that someone is making a stand against Messiah Obama, just surprising it's someone from the catholic church!

17 November 2008 at 18:23  
Blogger The Gentleman Loser said...

From New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia...
"Excommunication is an act of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, the rules of which it follows. Hence the general principle: whoever has jurisdiction in the forum externum, properly so called, can excommunicate, but only his own subjects. Therefore, whether excommunications be a jure (by the law) or ab homine (under form of sentence or precept), they may come from the pope alone or a general council for the entire Church; from the provincial council for an ecclesiastical province; from the bishop for his diocese; from the prelate nullius for quasi-diocesan territories; and from regular prelates for religious orders. Moreover, anyone can excommunicate who, by virtue of his office, even when delegated, has contentious jurisdiction in the forum externum; for instance, papal legates, vicars capitular, and vicars-general. But a parish priest cannot inflict this penalty nor even declare that it is incurred, i.e. he cannot do so in an official and judicial manner. The subjects of these various authorities are those who come under their jurisdiction chiefly on account of domicile or quasi-domicile in their territory; then by reason of the offence committed while on such territory; and finally by reason of personal right, as in the case of regulars."

17 November 2008 at 18:34  
Blogger Berenike said...

Mein host - My last comment was remarkably stroppy. I apologise. It was not supposed to sound like that, but it did.

HS - you can't unknife an old lady either. (I was about to put a smiley, but it seems inappropriate.)

GL - thank you! It looks as though the same principle applies in the current CIC; it makes sense, the bishop doesn't really delegate jurisdiction to his priests, does he?

Anon + Len - "whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,..." etc.

17 November 2008 at 20:50  
Anonymous len said...

Is that whatever I bind.?
The only authority I recognise is the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I recognise no pope!
He is not biblical!
and don`t give me the rock thing!

17 November 2008 at 21:27  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

To the Gentleman Loser
Yes, A Man for all Seasons is full of good one liners.

I agree with you that
Grave Matter + Full knowledge + Full Intent = Mortal Sin

Grave Matter: Most certainly

Full Knowledge: The US Bishops to their credit have made it clear what Obama stands for ( Freedom of Choice Act, voting record etc).

Full Intent:? Perhaps the Catholic voters felt that he really doesnt mean it. That has happened before; the voters ignored the signals and there were tears later.

But now we have to wait and see - and pray.

17 November 2008 at 23:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously the church should lose its tax free status. Then they may say whatever they want to. Until they let go of the tax free status, they should be advised not to use the pulpit as a platform for political power. The father seems to be inciting a lot of hate as well.

18 November 2008 at 08:34  
Anonymous Wallenstein said...

The Catholic Church in America is also clear in its opposition to the death penalty.

Therefore any christian who voted for McCain / Palin should also be refused communion. I look forward to hearing about this on this blog soon.

Or perhaps that's not going to happen... a case of IOKIYAR (It's OK If You're A Republican)?

18 November 2008 at 11:00  
Blogger Theresa said...

len said,

'and don`t give me the rock thing!'

Ok, we won't cast the first stone..:)

19 November 2008 at 01:29  
Anonymous len said...

Is that the little rock(peter)?

19 November 2008 at 18:42  
Blogger King Athelstan said...

Not to mention McCains own views on abortion then.

20 November 2008 at 09:40  
Anonymous len said...

My soul finds rest in God alone,my salvation comes from him.
He alone is my ROCK and my salvation,he is my fortress,I will never be shaken.
Psalm 62.
A question,How man times in the christian bible is God called a rock?.

20 November 2008 at 20:34  
Anonymous len said...

Moreover brethren,I would not that ye be ignorant
How that all our fathers were under the cloud,and all passed through the sea,
And were all baptised unto moses in the cloud and in the sea,
And did all eat the same spiritual meat,
And did all drink the same spiritual drink,
For they all drank from the spiritual ROCK that followed them,
AND THAT ROCK WAS CHRIST! 1corinthians 10 :1-4

20 November 2008 at 20:50  
Anonymous len said...

He is the ROCK,his work is perfect,for all his ways are judgment, a God of truth and without iniquity,just and right is he.

20 November 2008 at 20:56  
Anonymous len said...

This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders,which is become the head of the corner.
Acts 4:11

20 November 2008 at 21:54  
Anonymous len said...

Psalm 62 I will love thee O Lord my strength,
The Lord is my rock,and my fortress, and my deliverer,my God,my strength,in whom I will trust,my buckler,and the horn of my salvation,and my high tower.

20 November 2008 at 22:03  
Blogger killemallletgodsortemout said...

I have been excommunicated - for marrying a divorcee. The most wonderful person I have ever had the pleasure to meet.

God is great. Religion is pure shite.

23 November 2008 at 00:46  
Anonymous len said...

I will second that!
Jesus said I do not come to judge the world.
Religion however does!.

23 November 2008 at 09:28  

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