Priest Calls Vote for Obama a Mortal Sin

A Catholic priest in South Carolina has decided that the democratic act of casting a vote is, in some cases, … Continued

A Catholic priest in South Carolina has decided that the democratic act of casting a vote is, in some cases, a mortal sin. Therefore, he has decided that parishioners who voted for Barack Obama are not entitled to the grace of Jesus Christ through communion until they’ve done penance.

“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,” Rev. Jay Scott Newman wrote in a letter to parishioners at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville.

“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.”

Perhaps I’m not the best person to question any clergy person’s right to deny the body and blood and grace of Christ to any Christian. I’m a Methodist and we’ll serve communion to just about anyone with a pulse.

But really?

Newman is denying communion not to those who have conducted or received an abortion, and not to those who enact laws that allow for abortion, but to those who cast a vote for a candidate who supports abortion rights. In effect, he’s saying that thinking is now mortal sin. He’s saying that having an opinion is a mortal sin. He’s saying that freedom of speech and thought is a mortal sin.

I wonder what would happen if parishioners could elect their own priests.

Meanwhile, a Vatican official said Friday that a Georgia priest, Rev. Roy Bourgeois, faces excommunication for attending the priestly ordination of a nun in Kentucky.

After I posted this, I got an email from Kerry McGrath, Fr. Bourgeois’ friend. Mr. McGrath asked me to post a copy of the letter Fr. Bourgeois sent to the Vatican on Nov. 7. So here it is:

Rev. Roy Bourgeois, M.M.
PO Box 3330, Columbus, GA 31903
November 7, 2008

TO THE CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, THE VATICAN

I was very saddened by your letter dated October 21, 2008, giving me 30 days to recant my belief and public statements that support the ordination of women in our Church, or I will be excommunicated.

I have been a Catholic priest for 36 years and have a deep love for my Church and ministry.

When I was a young man in the military, I felt God was calling me to the priesthood. I entered Maryknoll and was ordained in 1972.

Over the years I have met a number of women in our Church who, like me, feel called by God to the priesthood. You, our Church leaders at the Vatican, tell us that women cannot be ordained.

With all due respect, I believe our Catholic Church’s teaching on this issue is wrong and does not stand up to scrutiny. A 1976 report by the Pontifical Biblical Commission supports the research of Scripture scholars, canon lawyers and many faithful Catholics who have studied and pondered the Scriptures and have concluded that there is no justification in the Bible for excluding women from the priesthood.

As people of faith, we profess that the invitation to the ministry of priesthood comes from God. We profess that God is the Source of life and created men and women of equal stature and dignity. The current Catholic Church doctrine on the ordination of women implies our loving and all-powerful God, Creator of heaven and earth, somehow cannot empower a woman to be a priest.

Women in our Church are telling us that God is calling them to the priesthood. Who are we, as men, to say to women, “Our call is valid, but yours is not.” Who are we to tamper with God’s call?

Sexism, like racism, is a sin. And no matter how hard or how long we may try to justify discrimination, in the end, it is always immoral.

Hundreds of Catholic churches in the U.S. are closing because of a shortage of priests. Yet there are hundreds of committed and prophetic women telling us that God is calling them to serve our Church as priests.

If we are to have a vibrant, healthy Church rooted in the teachings of our Savior, we need the faith, wisdom, experience, compassion and courage of women in the priesthood.

Conscience is very sacred. Conscience gives us a sense of right and wrong and urges us to do the right thing. Conscience is what compelled Franz Jagerstatter, a humble Austrian farmer, husband and father of four young children, to refuse to join Hitler’s army, which led to his execution. Conscience is what compelled Rosa Parks to say she could no longer sit in the back of the bus. Conscience is what compels women in our Church to say they cannot be silent and deny their call from God to the priesthood. Conscience is what compelled my dear mother and father, now 95, to always strive to do the right things as faithful Catholics raising four children. And after much prayer, reflection and discernment, it is my conscience that compels me to do the right thing. I cannot recant my belief and public statements that support the ordination of women in our Church.

Working and struggling for peace and justice are an integral part of our faith. For this reason, I speak out against the war in Iraq. And for the last eighteen years, I have been speaking out against the atrocities and suffering caused by the School of the Americas (SOA). Eight years ago, while in Rome for a conference on peace and justice, I was invited to speak about the SOA on Vatican Radio. During the interview, I stated that I could not address the injustice of the SOA and remain silent about injustice in my Church. I ended the interview by saying, “There will never be justice in the Catholic Church until women can be ordained.” I remain committed to this belief today.

Having an all male clergy implies that men are worthy to be Catholic priests, but women are not.

According to USA TODAY (Feb. 28, 2008) in the United States alone, nearly 5,000 Catholic priests have sexually abused more than 12,000 children. Many bishops, aware of the abuse, remained silent. These priests and bishops were not excommunicated. Yet the women in our Church who are called by God and are ordained to serve God’s people, and the priests and bishops who support them, are excommunicated.

Silence is the voice of complicity. Therefore, I call on all Catholics, fellow priests, bishops, Pope Benedict XVI and all Church leaders at the Vatican, to speak loudly on this grave injustice of excluding women from the priesthood.

Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador was assassinated because of his defense of the oppressed. He said, “Let those who have a voice, speak out for the voiceless.”

Our loving God has given us a voice. Let us speak clearly and boldly and walk in solidarity as Jesus would, with the women in our Church who are being called by God to the priesthood.

In Peace and Justice,
Rev. Roy Bourgeois, M.M.
PO Box 3330, Columbus, GA 31903

TO THE CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, THE VATICAN

I was very saddened by your letter dated October 21, 2008, giving me 30 days to recant my belief and public statements that support the ordination of women in our Church, or I will be excommunicated.

I have been a Catholic priest for 36 years and have a deep love for my Church and ministry.

When I was a young man in the military, I felt God was calling me to the priesthood. I entered Maryknoll and was ordained in 1972.

Over the years I have met a number of women in our Church who, like me, feel called by God to the priesthood. You, our Church leaders at the Vatican, tell us that women cannot be ordained.

With all due respect, I believe our Catholic Church’s teaching on this issue is wrong and does not stand up to scrutiny. A 1976 report by the Pontifical Biblical Commission supports the research of Scripture scholars, canon lawyers and many faithful Catholics who have studied and pondered the Scriptures and have concluded that there is no justification in the Bible for excluding women from the priesthood.

As people of faith, we profess that the invitation to the ministry of priesthood comes from God. We profess that God is the Source of life and created men and women of equal stature and dignity. The current Catholic Church doctrine on the ordination of women implies our loving and all-powerful God, Creator of heaven and earth, somehow cannot empower a woman to be a priest.

Women in our Church are telling us that God is calling them to the priesthood. Who are we, as men, to say to women, “Our call is valid, but yours is not.” Who are we to tamper with God’s call?

Sexism, like racism, is a sin. And no matter how hard or how long we may try to justify discrimination, in the end, it is always immoral.

Hundreds of Catholic churches in the U.S. are closing because of a shortage of priests. Yet there are hundreds of committed and prophetic women telling us that God is calling them to serve our Church as priests.

If we are to have a vibrant, healthy Church rooted in the teachings of our Savior, we need the faith, wisdom, experience, compassion and courage of women in the priesthood.

Conscience is very sacred. Conscience gives us a sense of right and wrong and urges us to do the right thing. Conscience is what compelled Franz Jagerstatter, a humble Austrian farmer, husband and father of four young children, to refuse to join Hitler’s army, which led to his execution. Conscience is what compelled Rosa Parks to say she could no longer sit in the back of the bus. Conscience is what compels women in our Church to say they cannot be silent and deny their call from God to the priesthood. Conscience is what compelled my dear mother and father, now 95, to always strive to do the right things as faithful Catholics raising four children. And after much prayer, reflection and discernment, it is my conscience that compels me to do the right thing. I cannot recant my belief and public statements that support the ordination of women in our Church.

Working and struggling for peace and justice are an integral part of our faith. For this reason, I speak out against the war in Iraq. And for the last eighteen years, I have been speaking out against the atrocities and suffering caused by the School of the Americas (SOA). Eight years ago, while in Rome for a conference on peace and justice, I was invited to speak about the SOA on Vatican Radio. During the interview, I stated that I could not address the injustice of the SOA and remain silent about injustice in my Church. I ended the interview by saying, “There will never be justice in the Catholic Church until women can be ordained.” I remain committed to this belief today.

Having an all male clergy implies that men are worthy to be Catholic priests, but women are not.

According to USA TODAY (Feb. 28, 2008) in the United States alone, nearly 5,000 Catholic priests have sexually abused more than 12,000 children. Many bishops, aware of the abuse, remained silent. These priests and bishops were not excommunicated. Yet the women in our Church who are called by God and are ordained to serve God’s people, and the priests and bishops who support them, are excommunicated.

Silence is the voice of complicity. Therefore, I call on all Catholics, fellow priests, bishops, Pope Benedict XVI and all Church leaders at the Vatican, to speak loudly on this grave injustice of excluding women from the priesthood.

Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador was assassinated because of his defense of the oppressed. He said, “Let those who have a voice, speak out for the voiceless.”

Our loving God has given us a voice. Let us speak clearly and boldly and walk in solidarity as Jesus would, with the women in our Church who are being called by God to the priesthood.

In Peace and Justice,
Rev. Roy Bourgeois, M.M.
PO Box 3330, Columbus, GA 31903

Speak up, Church. Is Father Newman right? Is Father Bourgeois right? Can they both be right?

————-

(Note: Monsignor Martin T. Laughlin, administrator of the Diocese of Charleston, said in a statement late Friday (Nov. 14) that Fr. Newman was wrong to warn parishioners who voted for Obama to confess their sin before receiving Communion. He added that Newman pulled the church’s moral teachings “into the partisan political arena” and “diverted the focus from the church’s clear position against abortion.”)

About

  • jimhammer1

    I seem to recall Hitler was able to garner the head of the Catholic Church in Germany’s endorsement of his government. It would behove the sectarian to avoid advising in secular matters.

  • bevjims1

    jckapla wrote: “A priest with the courage to TELL THE TRUTH! BRAVO!”A priest who enjoys not paying taxes IF he stays out of politics. And not just the priest, the whole church including the tax exemption of the donations of its members. This is what he has put at risk, which is fine if he doesn’t care about that, but he cannot have both an exemption on taxes and get involved in politics. He can talk about the evil of abortion but he cannot tell his flock who to vote for or retaliate against those wh voted a certain way. There is a huge difference. This priest stepped over the line. Time for him and his flock to pay some taxes like you and me.

  • qban-boi-84

    So wait? This means that killing people in Iraq would be a sin too! So Christians shouldn’t vote. I like that idea.

  • madest

    Why is this news? South Carolina is nude dancer strip joint / church capitol of the nation. They’re stranger than their own liquor laws. Nobody likes the taste of them awful crackers anyway.

  • opdave

    I’m tired of churches trying to influence voting and would like to see the churches that choose to do so lose their tax exempt status.

  • sphericalcoordinate

    Religion is madness. Always has been, always will be. The world is filled with realities that we don’t like so we make up stories and absurd rules to deal with a universe we can’t control. Humans may be born with the capacity for intelligent thought but it doesn’t mean we all develop it. Leave the dark ages of ignorance and superstition behind, come into the light.

  • jaypem

    As former Catholic U law school dean Doug Kmiec so articulately points out in his writings, the bishops are falsely equating opposition to abortion with opposition to Roe v. Wade. If Roe were overturned tomorrow – as the bishops and their “pro-life” candidate John McCain advocate – it would not outlaw abortion, only give the states the right to outlaw it. And while some would, many would not. In fact, the absolute numbers of abortions might not change at all if Roe were overturned, only their geographic location. (As Kmiec points out, McCain’s stand against Roe is as much about federalism as abortion.)At that point, the bishops and the rest of the pro-life movement would have to decide whether they want to fight a Civil War to resolve the issue (as the country did in the case of slavery), try to pass a constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion (which “pro-life” John McCain has never proposed in 30 years in Congress, and has almost no chance of passage), or live with abortion as a reality in the US, and try to change hearts and minds to reduce the number of abortions as much as possible, as Obama has proposed. (Ironically, this approach of changing hearts and minds when you are not in the political majority is the Church’s approach to other matters which are immoral for Catholics but have no broad political support, which is why the church is not working day and night to outlaw divorce and remarriage, or contraception, or invitro fertilization.)This priest can rant all he likes, and continue to use communion as a weapon to try to coerce Catholic voters to vote Republican as he likes to do (WWJD, Fr. Newman?). But I do not believe that I, as a pro-life Catholic on abortion, who also opposes the war in Iraq, the death penalty, and euthanasia, have committed a mortal sin because I disagree with the bishops on political strategy, and voted for Obama.

  • beyita1

    This is why we have seperation of church and state! Thank God.

  • krisj451

    Wow… As a Lutheran, I believe that we’re saved by faith alone by God’s Grace.That said, I’ve also come to believe that Catholicism was engineered by the preists, bishops, papacy, etc. to be a medieval control mechanism – a way to keep the ‘common folk’ under control.Evidently, this priest thinks it is still 1514 – I wonder if he sells indulgences too?

  • resurgam

    Well-written piece, Mr. Waters. There’s a reason the Protestant Reformation took place, and this is a prime example of it.

  • jckapla

    @JAYPEMHe never said you must vote for McCain. I know plenty of Catholics who either voted third party or did not vote.

  • bosoko

    Neither does the bishop or the pope speak for christ.Why does the catholic church not take quotes from the bible rather than their book, which was written with the intent of power and money.I just want to ask one question the roman catholics.What makes the pope speak for Christ? when he is chosen and voted by men?Why does the popes crown have the latin inscription “Vicarius Filii Dei” which if added with roman numerals become 6 6 6 also if translated into english means Vicar of son of God Or In the Stead of christ.Such blasphemy by a man chosen by men.

  • agentlemon

    quoted for great truth”I’ve also come to believe that Catholicism was engineered by the preists, bishops, papacy, etc. to be a medieval control mechanism – a way to keep the ‘common folk’ under control.”

  • bevjims1

    broknprism wrote: “Voting, doing, aligning your world view with, favoring, being ambivalent about, or supporting pro-choice is sin, no doubt about it.”Its not a question of right or wrong or whether the priest had a right to say what he said, he did have a right to say what he did. This is America. What really matters is section 501(c)(3) of the tax code.Organizations which receive a 501(c)(3) tax exemption have a clear and simple choice to make: they can engage in religious activities and retain their exemption, or they can engage in political activity and lose it, but they cannot engage in political activity and retain their exemption. By not taxing churches, the government is prevented from directly interfering with how those churches operate. By the same token, those churches are also prevented from directly interfering with how the government operates in that they cannot endorse any political candidates, they cannot campaign on behalf of any candidates, and they cannot attack any political candidate such that the effectively endorse that person’s opponent. That is the issue. This priest has decided to break the provisions of his 501(c)(3) tax exemption for himself and his church, meaning his parishionars donations are no longer tax exempt as well as his salary. If that is what he wanted that is fine. If that is not what he wanted, then he needs to review his tax exemption again since right now the IRS is probably looking at it too.No one cares what this priest said to his flock, except maybe the flock. What we care about is that he is having his cake and eating it too, enjoying a 501(c)(3) tax exemption while engaging in politics prohibited by 501(c)(3). Sorry, I’m not about to stand by and see tax law broken by priests who use their power of guilt and church law to influence elections via their flock and then not pay a dime in tax.

  • bbkj

    “cooperation with intrinsic evil”?????Guess ill run right out to my local “guilt booth” and unburden my unclean soul to a potential pedophile so that i may return to the good graces of the Romans.Only then will I be able to, in good conscience, eat a waffer.Glad the Shaman made this righeous decree to help me out.

  • mullett

    This is exactly why the Catholic church is in the dire straits it has been in for so long.Terrorising your parishoners with :Mortal Sins”??Im so happy i parted ways with the church long ago.To threaten a persons own identity with the mess this country is in,in Bushes own words “god has spoken to me” really makes you wonder what God would really think about this position.And to seperate them from the church for Pennance,wonder how much that costs these days??This whole ideal allways brings up that cute phrase,WWJD!?I personnaly beleive Jesus would be pretty Irate at a priest, or alleged Holy Man, who would deny a willing participant for any reason.

  • mhadawy

    1, the catholic Priest can prove his case from the Bible with Scripture stating that abortion is Quote “an abomination unto the lord”2, to me it is interested that Obama supports both Abortion and Stem Cell Research

  • sea_lyon

    How old is the guy and what country is he from?I liked that quote, “serve communion to anyone with a pulse.” That’s us too. Presbyters are very similar to Methodists, but with more holiday decorations. Our church organization would cease to exist if we were condemned by it for our votes and opinions.You Catholics: Don’t let the thought police steal your freedom.

  • sher3

    Religion was thought up to control people. Period. Listening seriously to this priest is like relinguishing your free will!

  • enaughton27

    Mr. Waters, a priest does not speak for a diocese. Consult the bishop. End of story.

  • MikeL4

    This priest did not say any such thing about free speech. He said the truth. He said voting for politicians who support abortion, such as Obama, constitute material cooperation with evil. That is not knew nor controversial. Catholics have a moral resposibility with their votes in a democratic society to uphold Christian values. Upholding politicians who allow policies allowing the killing of unborn children is not a Christian value. You are free to think and speak what you want in America. You are also free to damn your soul.

  • enaughton27

    “He’s saying that having an opinion is a mortal sin. He’s saying that freedom of speech and thought is a mortal sin.”Is this really the mental leap you made? From condemning a pro-choice position to “having an opinion is a mortal sin”?

  • Subliminally

    I wonder how many people he denied communion for abetting racism. This is EXACTLY why there should be no mixing of church and state. Pick and choose your sins. Disgusting.

  • sed81650

    And going to war on false pretenses and having many people get killed due to that is not a sin? I think a great many people think that constitutes material cooperation with evil. I think evil resides in many more places than this article identifies and they all have to be viewed through the same glasses.

  • trosen2

    I’d be curious to ask the good reverend to find out if it would be a mortal sin to have voted for McCain, a Catholic who has been divorced (I believe the church frowns on that pretty big), and from what I remember, doesn’t attend Sunday Mass. I believe that Catholics are obligated to attend Mass every weekend (Saturday afternoon/evening, or Sunday) and failure to do so is a mortal sin unless you seek penance. Also, ask the good reverend to find out his opinion on the fact that even though Obama is for abortion rights, I do believe that he is personally against the practice. Basically Subliminally was right in the post above “This is EXACTLY why there should be no mixing of church and state.”

  • lmfran01

    The Catholic Church lost all authority to define morality when it refused to protect innocent children from predator priests. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds.

  • builder701

    As stated, Catholics have a moral resposibility with their votes in a democratic society to uphold Christian values.IF that’s the case, then supporting the war in Iraq is not upholding Christian values. As taught in the Gospels, the Christian value is to love your enemy.

  • captainkona

    ….”may be goin’ to hell in a bucket, but at least I’m enjoying the ride”….But Priests like this one who like to play hide the salami with alter boys just get relocated to a monastery.Well, ok then.

  • FallenUpCatholic

    So then it follows that a voter who votes for a politician who supports the death penalty or who refuses to commute a death sentence commits a mortal sin, as well as if he votes for a politician who supports an immoral war. Thus a voter who voted for President Bush also committed a mortal sin, it would appear to follow.

  • ThePhotogsBlog

    When a president is sworn in, he places his hand on the bible and swears to uphold the constitution and not the reverse. It’s that simple.

  • eoldham1

    MikeL4: You’re right, Catholic priests have the constitutional right to express their personal religious views. And the United States government has the constitutional right to tax and police them like any other business.

  • ruairc1

    As long as people look to others to define their morality, there will exist those who attempt to define morality for others.

  • bizecology

    Just read Article VI of the U.S. Constitution. If you believe in a religious test for office, get the heck out of this country and take your theocratic policies with you.

  • Responsible2000

    This priest is dangerously erroneous and I wonder what other deviant teachings he expouses. Men like these with tendecies to play God are the ones who destroy the christian faith from within.This priest ought to shut up and honor the spiritual institution of marriage (after all the first pope – Peter the apostle – was a married man) and think about denying sacrament to all the priests molesting kids instead of honoring the biblical institution of marriage.- abortion may be wrong, but it is a human vice like all the other sins and may be he ought to start denying sacrament to himself to he repents from the man-made error of requiring himself not be married.- marriage was created for humans (between a man and a woman), marriage was not created for “christians”. This priest is a hypocrite and they are the ones Jesus warned about much like the Pharisees.

  • cgallaway2000

    First off, just because a candidate is pro-choice doesn’t automatically mean that he/she will be able to or even try to change the law. So the arguement that abortions will automatically go up, based on the election, and not based on any changes in the law is rediculous and doesn’t stand up to any measure of a) intelligence or b) logic. So another logical question….does this priest also view a vote for McCain as an immoral vote and therefore would deny communion to those people? McCain is also pro-choice (at least he was in the past)…which is why the republicans wanted him to choose a vp candidate that was pro-life. He also prefers to keep an immoral war going, where Obama did not. McCain also killed people in his life (yes, as a member of the Navy, in Vietnam, as instructed by our Military), and the Bible says “Thou Shalt not commit murder” (and doesn’t go into when it is/isn’t ok to kill). Obama has never killed anyone.So, in the interest of not being a hypocrit in words and deeds, would this priest deny McCain supporters Communion? If so, than that wipes out almost every person who voted in this country from being able to take communion.

  • zzapynys

    An organization of Father Pedaphiles whose creed is ‘do as I say, not do as I do’ and whose influence is as impotent as Hitler’s balls, a Priest who condemns one to “mortal sin” – this should well mean something, but it means nothing.

  • twitchr

    PLEASE keep church and state separate! The good news is that this will further marginalize moderate Christians. Normal people don’t think like this and frankly, are turned off by this kind divisiveness.

  • dndesign

    Aside from his parishoners who must have drunk the Kool Aid, I’m kinda wondering who really cares what this priest says. This kind of talk is just divisive and hateful. Christ would have disagreed with this guy.

  • bjuhasz

    The hypocracy or at least inconsistancy of this Priest is extreme, if not common. I grew up Catholic and have a fairly good idea of what the mortal sins of the Catholic Church are. Number one is “thou shall not kill”, but McCain and frankly virtually all politicians in America support policies that have killing as their goal. McCain explicitly supported both war and the death penalty. Even Obama supports killing Bin Laden. For a religious belief to make any sense at all it has to be consistent, and none of the big Christian, Jewish or Muslim churches are against killing in war. Essentially they support the idea of one person taking anothers so long as their is a political goal involved. I don’t hear the evangelicals complaining to the RNC about the war in Iraq, in fact they seem to agree that we should stay there. I personally don’t see sin as an absolute right or wrong. We need to do whatever we can to try and stop the suffering in the world. End war. Most of the dead in any modern war are non-combatents. Is it acceptable to God that we kill innocent mem and women and children who just happen to be in Iraq or Afghanistan? If we make our standard for voting that the candidate not support any legislation that results in a violent death of a human, then I doubt that we could vote for anyone. I would have much more respect for churches if they consistently spoke up every time any politician did anything that might result in killing, but to fixate on one particular though not all that clear cut issue, while leaving all the others alone, seems stupid.

  • sparrow4

    By telling those who voted for Obama not to take communion he most definitely is politicking and telling Catholics they are not allowed to have an opinion differing from the church. If that doesn’t call into question their tax exempt status, I don’t know what does. I can’t answer for Catholics but this country was established on a foundation of freedom, justice and liberty for all. Not that we always live up to that, but the intent was to establish a country that every one was free to practice their religion, but that there was a common ground, a common set of values that everyone accepted for the good of everyone. Since specific religious beliefs and values differ from religion to religion, this common good acts as a buffer and protection for the rights of all. Unfortunately, it seems that religious groups today interpret freedom of religion to mean “yes, MY freedom of religion which overrides yours, because otherwise you are restricting my right to practice my freedom of religion.” We see how well that works.religious institutions that involve themselves in politics a la Prop 8, are no longer acting for the common good. they are also breaking a trust given them in the form of tax exempt status. So my feeling is this- the priest can talk politics and tell people how to vote (if he likes igniting religious wars, that is), but we must rescind tax exempt status for religious organizations who do so. If they want to be part of the democratic process, they have to be responsible to it and pay for it- like the rest of us. G-d knows, we could use the money.

  • blazn40

    Now I remember why I left the Catholic Church, backwards thinking and draconian punishments.

  • davey_m_m

    This is typical of the catholic church: Do what we say, follow our doctrines, or you will be ostracized and go to hell. Unfortunately, this is not confined to the catholic church — it is typical of most religions.That’s why I left the catholic church. That’s one of the reasons I am an atheist. The other is that I’m a scientist who prefers reason and critical analysis to superstition.

  • JohnBrown08

    He’s only mouthing the dictates of the bishops (aka brahmin) who recently met to annouce their intention to “actively confront” pres-elect Obama. Of course these are the same men (what? no women?) who remained silent in the knowledge that scores of priests were abusing young boys for decades. Where was their moral outrage then? And when victims of abuse at the hands of priests sought relief from the church, what happened? The bishops (perhaps even the cardinals and the pope himself) pursued one strategic line to downplayy the claims of abuse or to discredit the victims. At the end of the day, catholicism, as promulgated from Rome, is incompatible with American democracy.

  • brianbunting1939

    It is nonsense like this and more from priests of questionable sexuality that made me an Atheist more than 50 years ago.

  • jckapla

    “In effect, he’s saying that thinking is now mortal sin. He’s saying that having an opinion is a mortal sin.”You honestly don’t believe that, do you? Voting is an action. Thinking and having an opinion is not. He said no such thing:”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.”Like it or not, that is the teaching of the Church, and he simply reminded his flock of that fact.He DID NOT say one had to vote for McCain instead. In fact, I know many Catholics who voted for third-party candidates or did not vote at all.I think it’s terrific that a priest actually had the balls to tell his parishioners the truth. Sure, countless members may leave his parish, but countless others will join for his courage.

  • lorax2

    Jesus warned us about Pharisees like this one.

  • egdell

    This is the way the world ends…not with a bang, but a whimper!

  • remzod

    You know, I like to think that if I take the time to post a comment, it will add something to the discussion and will be presented in a thoughtful, logical and, hopefully, articulate manner.But I fail here on all counts, and instead go with my initial impression: this guy’s a douchebag. Sorry.

  • markscoular

    Somehow, the concept that this country is a democracy built on the principle of free speech and freedom of religion seem to escape the right wing-nuts, like this priest.I am embarrassed to admit that I was raised Catholic and spent 2 years in the seminary after hearing this kind of rhetoric coming out of the mouth of “church representatives”. Compound that with the backing of Prop 8 in California, the Bishop Conference threat to attack Obama and the loss of mission, this version of the church deserves no respect.This type of attack is no better than the shrill screams of the other right wing-nuts. Perhaps they can move the U.S headquarters to Palinville.

  • Disgusted123

    This twisted little man is telling people their souls are in danger if they vote in opposition to the mandate of the catholic church. It threatens to reduce their political and funding base if people refrain from having babies for Jesus.I am an ex-Catholic. Know when I quit? When my Jesuit religion teacher wanted to touch me. Piss on the catholic church and its two thousand years of lies and deception. The most prolific pedophile cult in the world. All led by a “Holy Father” … what a dark, nasty cartoon. When will the suckers awaken???

  • RonMax

    I wonder if this man wrote a letter condeming Bush for the death of thousands of children and innocent Iraqis? If he did, then I applaud him for his moral consistency. Otherwise, I find his views offensive to the body of christ.

  • clearsky54

    This priest has decided that he is God. He is NOT. He has no right whatsoever to condemn those who voted for Mr. Obama. He should be asked to step down immediately. It is not up to him to “interpret” moral law or make decisions on what he thinks is “morally right.” It is people like him that make life living hell for others who are just trying to live their lives. What is a “mortal sin,” Rev. Newman, is for you to place yourself in a position where you have judged everyone who doesn’t think/feel/believe as you. Voting for whom I want as president does not fall qualify as a “mortal sin.” Judging, condemning and denying others does.

  • Cheryl4

    If the Catholic Church would go back to teaching values and allow it’s members to act in good conscience, it might not be losing its constituency at such an alarming rate. As Catholic Bishops rant anti gay marriage proclamations and fight any common sense birth control efforts in this country,the priests they are responsible for are making ididotic statements and, if memory serves, also engaging in some very non priestly behaviourIf I had been involved in covering up hundreds of acts of pedophilia, I certainly wouldn’t be casting stones,

  • quadmech

    Do these pedophiles not know what they are supporting? The Catholic Church was founded on follow my god or die. This priest has no more ability to allow or disallow your ability to meet your maker. The bible states the JC died for our sins, this means “he” the son of our creator is all ready dead and therefore all of our sins have been forgiven. Just like the priest, we all have our opinions, freedom of speech and all. Just remember or freedom comes from our soldiers dying for our collective beliefs. This year, be believe Obama was the better man. De oppresso liber!

  • bevjims1

    This is no only politicking, its trying to bring back the church’s political power that it had in the dark ages. Two things need to be reviewed, The government needs to review this church’s tax exempt status, and the Catholic church needs to decide whether it plans to once again rule.The tax exempt status of this church needs to be reviewed first and foremost. Then the local bishop needs to either approve of disapprove of the priest’s actions, if the bishop approves, the tax exempt status of the diocese should be reviewed as well.The Vatican needs to review this priest’s actions and determine whether it is an action the Vatican approves of or not. If it approves, the Vatican needs to decide whether it is on a path to reestablish itself as a ruling governmental body as it long ago once was, and if so, how it plans to do that in continents full of democracies.Too many times some of those in the Catholic church have wanted to have it both ways. They want the protections of a secular state, they want the tax exemptions, they want the separation from the state while at the same time trying to impose theocratic doctrine through state law, through church law, through its dictates ands sermons. The Catholic church has chosen to remain separate from the American government and to enjoy a tax exempt status by staying out of politics. A revocation of that tax exemption would be a nice slap on the wrist to the church to remind them of their place.And my heart goes out to those members of this church who feel terrible, guilty, and basically like they were hit in the stomach. The priest should be fired. What he did was no less an evil act than his pedophile bretheran.

  • jmat2

    People that are the most scared of our uncertain world are the ones clinging so tightly to what they have been told is the unwavering truth. Add in enormous wealth, grandeur, power & absolute rules and folks like Rev Newman thrive in it. He knows less about people in certain conditions than he thinks he does.

  • mauiloa1

    Yet apparently the alternative vote for the parishioners of this “good Father” would be to vote for a man who implicitly condones the deaths of innocent civilians (collateral damage), the inhumane torture of others, the injustices of an economic system that espouses “survival of the fittest” and the wanton destruction of the planet. I understand and hate the idea of abortion as much as you do, Padre, but your simplistic elevation of this evil above a myriad of other evils you seem to easily ignore bankrupts your entire sense of morality and labels you as an intellectual and moral midget.

  • andude777

    Interesting to how uncomfortable it makes people when conservative Christian leaders express THEIR opinion, practicing THEIR freedom of speech and thought defending the sanctity of life. If turning from sin is not a prerequisite to communion with Christ, what is?

  • jckapla

    A priest with the courage to TELL THE TRUTH!BRAVO!

  • anniegreetsyou

    Divine Laws are man made rules not the quote:

  • zippy11

    Here we have a example of metaphysical belief morphing past dogma to out-and-out religious fascism. Some of us out there are atheists who happen to think Jesus was one of the best guys who ever lived. People like this intransigent priest dishonor him with legalisms.

  • lightgrw

    Let’s see… the priest doesn’t believe anyone should vote for a candidate that believes abortion should be legal when there is a pro-life alternative available.Does he also believe you shouldn’t vote for a candidate that supports the death penalty when there is a anti-death penalty alternative available?Guess you’re not voting if he does… And, if he doesn’t, why is there a difference between the two?

  • cdjung1

    Everyone should know by now that God is a Republican, and it is no coincidence that the Bible Belt is solidly Red and voted that way. Pronouncements like these are the very reason why Americans need to wake up to the overt agenda to seize power that has been vigorously exercised by the Christian Right in this country. Between comments like those from Congressman Broun of Georgia comparing Obama to Hitler, and self-proclaimed mouth pieces for God like this Priest, that pompous ignorance is on grand display. The problem is that there are too many people out there who nod in agreement to anything wrapped in the guise of the Holy Bible. There is little difference between the fanatic Ayatollahs demanding rigid adherence to Shari’ah law and our hate mongering Christian zealots who seem to have conveniently forgotten the New Testament. We need to affirmatively ride all these people out on a rail. Throughout history Christianity has occasionally been hijacked by those hungry for power. The results have uniformly been bloody and violent as the agents of intolerance suborn the true message of what is a compassionate and pacifist theology. Our founding fathers were acutely aware of the dangers of a Church-State, and fashioned our Constitution assiduously to avoid this pitfall. The best way for us to moderate the extremists is to remain vigilant and ensure that we prevent them from holding any meaningful positions of power in our Government. Electing President Obama is a marvelous first step. Ignoring people like this Priest and denying them a position in the headlines would be another.

  • lbodhi

    Recently, I read a fascinating book called: Priests, Politicians: The Mafia of the soul by Osho. The Reverend Jay Scott Newman exemplifies the inherent hypocrisy and deceitfulness found in the behavior of so many religious and political figures. They use the politics of fear and intimidation because underneath the respectability of their pulpit, they represent nothing more than what humanity is at its worst. Since they really are empty shells full of rage religion is nothing more than a tool to propagate hate and divisiveness under the guise of worship and love.

  • emsmedicwa

    Ohhhhh really? So when your patriarchal misogynistic clergy aren’t busy sexually abusing little boys they find the need to condemn the votes cast for the president elect on the grounds, ”it constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil?” How about the fact that President Elect Obama voted against the second Iraq war when John McCain forecast an occupation that would last 100 years? Rejecting my confirmation and leaving the Catholic church was the best decision I ever made. Go to hell you self righteous troglodyte.

  • grotron

    I think Mr. Newman need a bit of learning here. First, his comment is contradictory to our constitution. American constitution, which makes this country a beacon of hope and the land of free, clearly supports religious freedom as well as freedom of speech. The bottom line is, he can speak his mind but he cannot force his influence to the political sphere in a way he is trying to. Our constitution categorically rejects the merging of church and State, therefore he must express his opinion in a different way, since he has no authority in politics. Secondly, we need to look at history to judge our present day. Brief look at our history reminds us of the particular danger of religious or spiritual institutions act on politics. Do you remember the failed attempts to capture Jerusalem by Crusaders? How about 30 Years War that wiped out nearly half of German population? How about the collaboration of fascist government and Roman Catholic church during the Second World War? We all tend to have short memories but we cannot afford to repeat essentially same mistakes over and over. Mr. Newman might have been frustrated by modern day condition, but he should be instead grateful. Our freedom, granted by American Constitution, allows us to believe what we believe in. Before the establishment of democratic society, there was no religious freedom, one state, one religion, everything else was heresy. That what happened in Imperial Rome when Romans crucified Christ. So Mr. Newman, you ought to be happy with your share of freedom and respect others’as we respect yours.Yet first, you have to rethink the way you exert your influence as a servant of a religious institution. I think you will be glad if you do so. Because in the land of free, freedom and our constitution comes first.

  • jimhammer1

    I was beginning to not think about the Catholic Church – for good and personal reasons. Now it’s all coming back. The abuses by their clergy, not allowing women to serve as priests, not recognizing marriages or allowing divorce unless agreed to by the church, and the misuse of parish funds among other things. I, unfortunately, have witnessed first hand these acts by the holy men of the cloth. Let me understand; this unmarried, celibate man is going to counsel me on marriage, family matters, and tell me how to exercise a fundamental American right on how I must vote or he will withhold a sacrament of the faith. You would think that this must be against the law. After all it is illegal to buy votes. I suppose punishment for how I vote is ok. Just another of a religion Catch 22. I would enjoy confessing a few things to this “father”. To his parishners: I think God would advise you to ignore this turkey and take the sacrement of communion. Or, withhold your tithe until he removes his nose from secular matters enjoyed in a democracy.

  • broknprism

    Even if he had been saying that ‘thinking is a sin,’ he’d be in good company. Read the sermon on the mount lately? “… you’ve heard it said… but I say…” followed by a list of sins that begin as thoughts and desires. Eve wanted the fruit before she ate it. Wake up. Voting, doing, aligning your world view with, favoring, being ambivalent about, or supporting pro-choice is sin, no doubt about it.

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