Thursday, November 13, 2008

No Communion for Obama Supporters

This statement by Fr Newman angers me on a number of levels. Perhaps as Catholics we need to hang up our citizenship altogether, because there is not a guiltless place to lay one's head on the political landscape. If one must do penance after voting for Obama, then one must do penance after voting for McCain. Perhaps one ought to do penance for voting for George W. Bush who bloodied our hands in an unjust war and taught us how to justify torture. Perhaps one ought to do penance for voting for Bush Sr., since after Clinton took office the number of abortions dropped by nearly half a million from where it had previously stood. I swear, how we love to bully and sway until those around us cower, delighted.

I thank God for those bishops willing to lovingly rebuke Catholic politicians who are ignorant of the Church's teaching on abortion. Where are the bishops in the Church who are willing to stand up against this kind of behavior, which plays at holiness but forgets charity? It's just more Turkish Delight.


Dan said...

That is really pretty extreme. I doubt his bishop would approve of his stance, so he's clearly out of line. As to the drop in abortions, much of that can be attributed to the implementation of parental notification laws, no result of Clinton or his cronies. There's definitely one party who's committed to life, and it ain't Clinton's or Obama's.

But enough of that from me.

Scott Lyons said...

Personally, I don't believe either party is committed to life, but I surely agree that the Clintons and Obamas of our world need us to pray that they'll see the evil of abortion and, by God's grace, have the strength and courage to change.

Dan, I admire your passion on this issue. I've ultimately tried to remain silent because time and again I miscommunicate what I attempt. But here I am again, against better judgment, speaking. This discussion is not at all about politics for me other than to say that I have no faith in any party, in any kingdom but God's. At least I hope that's true of me. From what I've read of what you've written, from what I know of you, I think that's true of you as well. I don't know how to adequately delineate how Catholic priests and bishops ought to express themselves in a democratic society - perhaps there's no clear path there and I'm playing the fool looking for it. I haven't entirely thought it through. But my spiritual gut (if there is such a thing) says they ought to err on the side of silence. They have their whole lives to help form these malformed pots (a responsibility we all share) and then they need to let us use the discernment and faith the Spirit of God gives us, coupled with our reason, to make wise decisions. Our decisions certainly won't always be right or smart or good. But unless a Catholic votes for a candidate because he or she is pro-abortion, then Fr Newman goes too far. And even then, perhaps an issue left to the work of the Spirit rather than nailing on the church door. Except for extreme cases, is a priest called to judge between sheep and goat at holy Eucharist?

I don't know. I don't know so very many things these days.

Anonymous said...

Hindsight is always 20/20. Keep in mind that these things, too, shall pass. Also, yiour Mother's famous words...10 years from now this probably won't count...there is much to do today that you can make a difference in!

Anonymous said...

Mom does know how to spell...apparently anonymous does not...have a special day! It's raining here today, also.

Scott Lyons said...

We live, we move, we breathe - we have our being in God. We make choices and pray that they are good and wise or, at least, better. And then we pray, we always pray: Lord, have mercy. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

How can I judge my brother when I am so worthy of judgment? What business do I have to withhold mercy when mercy has been lavished on me?

Scott Lyons said...

"Anonymous," have you ever heard of the story of King Solomon's Ring? Here's a version:

One day Solomon decided to humble Benaiah ben Yehoyada, his most trusted minister. He said to him, "Benaiah, there is a certain ring that I want you to bring to me. I wish to wear it for Sukkot which gives you six months to find it."

"If it exists anywhere on earth, your majesty," replied Benaiah, "I will find it and bring it to you, but what makes the ring so special?"

"It has magic powers," answered the king. "If a happy man looks at it, he becomes sad, and if a sad man looks at it, he becomes happy." Solomon knew that no such ring existed in the world, but he wished to give his minister a little taste of humility.
Spring passed and then summer, and still Benaiah had no idea where he could find the ring. On the night before Sukkot, he decided to take a walk in one of he poorest quarters of Jerusalem. He passed by a merchant who had begun to set out the day's wares on a shabby carpet. "Have you by any chance heard of a magic ring that makes the happy wearer forget his joy and the broken-hearted wearer forget his sorrows?" asked Benaiah.

He watched the grandfather take a plain gold ring from his carpet and engrave something on it. When Benaiah read the words on the ring, his face broke out in a wide smile.

That night the entire city welcomed in the holiday of Sukkot with great festivity. "Well, my friend," said Solomon, "have you found what I sent you after?" All the ministers laughed and Solomon himself smiled.

To everyone's surprise, Benaiah held up a small gold ring and declared, "Here it is, your majesty!" As soon as Solomon read the inscription, the smile vanished from his face. The jeweler had written three Hebrew letters on the gold band: _gimel, zayin, yud_, which began the words "_Gam zeh ya'avor_" - "This too shall pass."

At that moment Solomon realized that all his wisdom and fabulous wealth and tremendous power were but fleeting things, for one day he would be nothing but dust.

Dan said...

Perhaps you're not willing to answer this, and I understand if you don't. I'm just trying to understand if your comments since the election stem from a personal position as a result of your vote, or from a more general concern.

Did you vote for Obama?

kkollwitz said...

Fr. Newman's original text is here:

as well as a followup post.

No harm done just to read what the man actually wrote.

Scott Lyons said...

I'm trying kkollwitz, I'm just not having much luck. Perhaps their servers have been overloaded with visits. I'll keep trying. I certainly would like to hear what he said unfiltered by the media.

Scott Lyons said...

I want to be as unbiased as possible here - especially as it concerns a servant of Christ. Here is the text of what Father Newman printed in their bulletin last Sunday:

Dear Friends in Christ,

We the People have spoken, and the 44th President of the United States will be Barack Hussein Obama. This election ends a political process that started two years ago and which has revealed deep and bitter divisions within the United States and also within the Catholic Church in the United States. This division is sometimes called a “Culture War,” by which is meant a heated clash between two radically different and incompatible conceptions of how we should order our common life together, the public life that constitutes civil society. And the chief battleground in this culture war for the past 30 years has been abortion, which one side regards as a murderous abomination that cries out to Heaven for vengeance and the other side regards as a fundamental human right that must be protected in laws enforced by the authority of the state. Between these two visions of the use of lethal violence against the unborn there can be no negotiation or conciliation, and now 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. We must also take note of the fact that this election was effectively decided by the votes of self-described (but not practicing) Catholics, the majority of whom cast their ballots for President-elect Obama.

In response to this, I am obliged by my duty as your shepherd to make two observations:

1. Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exits 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.

2. Barack Obama, although we must always and everywhere disagree with him over abortion, has been duly elected the next President of the United States, and after he takes the Oath of Office next January 20th, he will hold legitimate authority in this nation. For this reason, we are obliged by Scriptural precept to pray for him and to cooperate with him whenever conscience does not bind us otherwise. Let us hope and pray that the responsibilities of the presidency and the grace of God will awaken in the conscience of this extraordinarily gifted man an awareness that the unholy slaughter of children in this nation is the greatest threat to the peace and security of the United States and constitutes a clear and present danger to the common good. In the time of President Obama’s service to our country, let us pray for him in the words of a prayer found in the Roman Missal:

God our Father, all earthly powers must serve you. Help our President-elect, Barack Obama, to fulfill his responsibilities worthily and well. By honoring and striving to please you at all times, may he secure peace and freedom for the people entrusted to him. We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

Father Newman

Scott Lyons said...

Dan, my concern is for the Church and how her members have acted in this election cycle. I have been personally wounded by many of the comments made before and since the election, but I don't speak about up because I got my feelings hurt. There should not be this kind of behavior, this kind of judgment in the Church. Not this kind of fear. Not this kind of bitterness. Not this kind of turning away from charity and brotherhood.

I voted for Senator Obama in spite of his pro-abortion stand, rhetoric, and promises. And I pray that God has mercy on me. It's evident that very few others will.

Anonymous said...

No problem...Unconditional love is just that, unconditional. Know that you are loved and prayed for daily. Yesterdays decisions are just that, yesterdays. Get up and go! Keep smiling, laughing and have the joy of the Lord as your daily companion. Life is short and then we die. If it's any consolation, you were not the one vote putting him over the top. You had many Christian brothers with you. Each of us has made many mistakes and one day the rooftops will be echoing our secrets! No matter your age, always obey your Mom! Love, Mom...snowing in Michigan!

Anonymous said...

There is an excellent article on Fr Newman's letter at
titled- Shameful Betrayal of a Courageous Pastor.
Please take the time to go read it.
This is much better coverage of the topic. The secular progressive MSNBC that Scott has linked to in this post is not the best source for reporting when the Catholic Church is involved.

Scott Lyons said...

Anon., thank you for the link. I would agree with you that the "secular progressive MSNBC" is not the best source for reporting what Fr. Newman said. It was, however, at the time the only link I available to me. And it was not, by far, off the mark from what Fr. Newman wrote in St Mary's Nov 9 bulletin, which, after being directed to it, I posted here within this very thread. The only difference was that the MSNBC article, by its title, suggested that he would not give Communion to parishioners who voted for Sen Obama - that isn't true - but in the bulletin he said while he would not refuse Communion to anyone, the parishioners who voted in that manner ought to seek Reconciliation before presenting themselves for Communion, as if, by their vote, they had committed a grave or mortal sin.

Again, his own words are here in this thread. I placed them there as soon as I was shown them by a St Mary's parishioner, kkollwitz.

I would also like to reiterate here, if I haven't already, that everything I have ever heard of St. Mary's and Fr. Newman up until this letter in their bulletin has been outstanding. I do not think Fr. Newman is a bad priest, but that he went too far, made his comments too soon, without enough thought in this instance - I've done the same plenty of times here on my blog and on others.

I appreciate the honor that St. Mary's, led by their pastor, Fr Newman, shows the Liturgy. I don't have any qualms with the man. He was merely the latest of a number of clergy who I think could have better served the Church by their silence.

Just as I could.

Todd said...

Just as Dan said, Clinton had nothing to do with drop in abortions, this was definately due to parental notification laws passed. The same laws that BHO voted against in July 2006, see his own web page on this. I am sorry to hear that you have put your faith in someone who supports abortions. This isn't about party, it's about writing laws that will affect our country and the lives of millions. I think Newman is a true man of God, speaking with his heart. Voting for each President gives each of us a moral obligation to his actions. I thank God that my conscience is clear. Bush did not take us into an unjust war! Study American Government, and do a little research. Your congress sent the troops to war. President Bush put it to a vote. Your congress keeps them in Iraq. The executive branch can only send the troops to war not keep them there. Justification of torture, already been over that topic with you. Perhaps each person desiring to be President of the United States should be put to a waterboard to find his true stand, so we as a people would know who we could trust. I don't trust BHO. I believe in Christ because He died on the cross for us, maybe our leaders should be willing to do the same. Much of America has decided that a man, who is not a man of Christ, should be President when he has proclaimed the right of women to abort their children. Thou shall not murder. Pretty clear to me, not clear to BHO, since he doesn't think conception is life.

Todd said...

By the Way. Happy Thanksgiving.

Scott Lyons said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Todd. Love you guys.

Todd said...

We love you guys too! Sorry you and your family couldn't be here. You all were missed.