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Prominent South Carolina priest: Obama supporters must repent before receiving Holy Communion

Catholic World News - November 14, 2008

Father Jay Scott Newman, whose upstate South Carolina parish has gained an international reputation for its commitment to sacred music and ad orientem worship within the context of the ordinary form of the Roman Rite, said in a letter issued to parishioners on Sunday that Catholics who voted for President-elect Barack Obama that they must be ‘reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance’ before receiving Holy Communion.

[Note: Father Newman has emphasized that he "cannot and will not refuse Holy Communion to anyone because of his or her political opinions or choices"-- and that he made exactly that statement to an AP reporter. The headline on a widely read AP story, therefore, was misleading. The pastor encouraged his parishioners to examine their consciences about their votes, observing that support for abortion is a grave matter.]

‘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,’ wrote Father Newman. ‘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.’

‘Barack Obama,’ continued Father Newman, ‘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.’

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