Obama Supporters Souls At Risk Unless Seek Penance Before Communion

Catholic Bishops Urge Huge Anti-FOCA Campaign to Stop Abortion Expansion at Life News November 11, 2008, notes the church’s intent to fiercely fight Barack Obama’s policies on abortion.  Catholic bishops: Fight FOCA at Hot Air opines as follows.

Unfortunately, the Catholic Church didn’t spell this out explicitly enough earlier in the year, when it may have made some difference with parishioners.

So let the wrath begin.

SC priest: No communion for Obama supporters from AP/ Brietbart, November 13, 2008, reveals one South Carolina Catholic priest’s attempt to counsel his parishioners before their next attempt at receiving Holy Communion.

This would not be the first example either.  Virginia Virtucon’s June 17, 2008 article noted, “Conservative” Catholic Lawyer Denied Communion Over Support For Obama.  This highlighted from the Washington Post’s June 3, 2008 article, For an ‘Obamacon,’ Communion Denied.

Douglas Kmiec, a staunch Republican, firm foe of abortion and veteran of the Reagan Justice Department, had been denied Communion.

His sin? Kmiec, a Catholic who can cite papal pronouncements with the facility of a theological scholar, shocked old friends and adversaries alike earlier this year by endorsing Barack Obama for president. For at least one priest, Kmiec’s support for a pro-choice politician made him a willing participant in a grave moral evil.

“Live birth abortion.  Obama.  You keep out of this.”
Image courtesy of http://virginiavirtucon.wordpress.com/2008/06/17/conservative-catholic-lawyer-denied-communion-over-support-for-obama/.

Getting back to the South Carolina priest.  Rev. Jay Scott Newman of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville notified his parishioners by letter recently, about supporting Obama

“Our nation has chosen for its chief executive the most radical pro-abortion politician ever to serve in the United States Senate or to run for 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. 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.”

Wow.  Harsh reminder.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, many bishops spoke out on abortion more boldly than four years earlier, telling Catholic politicians and voters that the issue should be the most important consideration in setting policy and deciding which candidate to back. A few church leaders said parishioners risked their immortal soul by voting for candidates who support abortion rights.

But bishops differ on whether Catholic lawmakers—and voters—should refrain from receiving Communion if they diverge from church teaching on abortion. Each bishop sets policy in his own diocese. In their annual fall meeting, the nation’s Catholic bishops vowed Tuesday to forcefully confront the Obama administration over its support for abortion rights.

And confront they have.  But dissent always throws a wrench into the discussion.

“Father Newman is off-base,” said Steve Krueger, national director of Catholic Democrats. “He is acting beyond the authority of a parish priest to say what he did. … Unfortunately, he is doing so in a manner that will be of great cost to those parishioners who did vote for Sens. Obama and Biden. There will be a spiritual cost to them for his words.”

Guess Mr. Krueger missed what Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl said about Catholic doctrine, in response to the blathering mistatements  from Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi about abortion.  Biden was warned not to take Communion at that time also.  Fox News on August 26, 2008.

“The current teaching of the Catholic Church on human life and abortion is the same teaching as it was 2,000 years ago,” Wuerl noted. “From the beginning, the Catholic Church has respected the dignity of all human life from the moment of conception to natural death.”

“Since the first century the church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion,” the catechism states. “This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.”

Likewise, Mr. Krueger missed what The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said without hesitation.  Boston Globe on August 26, 2008.

In fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, ‘Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. … the Church’s moral teaching never justified or permitted abortion at any stage of development. …the Church teaches that from the time of conception (fertilization), each member of the human species must be given the full respect due to a human person, beginning with respect for the fundamental right to life.”

And just in case there is any confusion.  Catholic church has made no exception regarding abortion since ancient times.  Delaware Online on October 26, 2008.

In his interview with The News Journal published Oct. 19, Sen. Joe Biden presents a seriously erroneous picture of Catholic teaching on abortion. He said, “I know that my church has wrestled with this for 2,000 years,” and claimed repeatedly that the Church has a nuanced view of the subject that leaves a great deal of room for uncertainty and debate.

This is simply incorrect. The teaching of the Church is clear and not open to debate. Abortion is a grave sin because it is the wrongful taking of an innocent human life. The Church received the tradition opposing abortion from Judaism. In the Greco-Roman world, early Christians were identifiable by their rejection of the common practices of abortion and infanticide.

The Didache, probably the earliest Christian writing apart from the New Testament, explicitly condemns abortion without exceptions. It tells us there is a “way of life” and a “way of death” and abortion is a part of the way of death. This has been the consistent teaching of the Church ever since.

Rev. Newman in South Carolina however has support from within his church.

A man who has attended St. Mary’s for 18 years said he welcomed Newman’s message and anticipated it would inspire further discussion at the church.

“I don’t understand anyone who would call themselves a Christian, let alone a Catholic, and could vote for someone who’s a pro-abortion candidate,” said Ted Kelly, 64, who volunteers his time as lector for the church. “You’re talking about the murder of innocent beings.”

Seems like the Catholic Church relies on teachings from 2,000 years ago, not penned to coincide with more recent political popularity.  Thus, the church is practicing long held beliefs, and certainly entitled to profess and practice accordingly.  What seems odd is how current parishioners conveniently choose to follow otherwise, all the way to the voting booth.

Will they follow just as vociferously into the confessional though?

Image courtesy of http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1645160,00.html.