On November 9, the Sunday after the election, Rev. Jay Scott Newman of St. Mary’s Church in Greenville, SC, wrote in his parish bulletin:  “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.”   He added that those who had voted for Obama should go to confession before receiving communion.

Newman’s comment was eventually picked up by the AP (Nov. 13) with the title: SC priest: No communion for Obama supporters.

Jeff Mirus and Phil Lawler, both writers on  the Catholic Culture site (Trinity Communications) simultaneously,  depending on what they had been reading, came out with differing opinions about what Father Newman should have/shouldn’t have said.
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On November 16 Father Newman wrote: ” I regret that I did not take time last week to parse out every stipulation of the Church’s teaching, because the failure to do so allowed those who oppose that teaching to ridicule it by falsely asserting that I intended to deny Holy Communion to anyone who voted for the president-elect or that I presumed to know or judge their conscience.”

And Jeff Mirus approvingly comments: “… he left so much out of his original statement that it seriously distorted the Church’s teaching in a way that could damage souls. Nonetheless, he quite properly corrected himself within days, and how often do we see that?”

Father Dwight Longenecker (also of St. Mary’s) on November 20 recaps the tale of the “perfect media storm” that visited them after Father Newman’s bulletin comment.  (How news does get around!) He states the parish received over 5000 e-mails which he puts into four categories:  Loyal, Lame, Defiant, and Demonic. “But the “defiant” category makes up the largest number of our respondents, and is the saddest category of all. Statistics show us that these are the Catholics who sealed Obama’s victory. They are people who were poorly catechized over the last 40 years in America. They have been nurtured in the Protest Generation and told that it is fine, even noble, to disagree with the Church. They have been taught to act according to their conscience without taking the trouble or time to inform it. “ FatherLongenecker’s comments are well worth reading and help one to understand the appalling fact that 54% of Catholics voted for Obama.

Finally, hidden among the comments following Longenecker’s post is this little gem by Deal Hudson:

November 20th, 2008 | 6:29am

I haven’t made any comment on the ruckus until now, because I knew there was more to the story than was being reported in the media, and no one should be surprised that the AP would be the primary culprit in twisting the facts.

I knew Fr. Newman back when, and know him to be very articulate, intelligent, and a great priest. His only mistake, in my opinion, was not realizing that his message in the church bulletin would take about a nano-second to make it into the national headlines, and from there nothing could control the spin.

I appreciate knowing the real story of what happened in South Carolina, and sorry for all the heartburn this must have caused, but I’m also glad the so many more people know about Fr. Jay Scott Newman who is one of the finest priests I have ever known.

Written by Deal Hudson

Jeff Mirus says that truth is tricky.  It is, indeed.  But it is a beautiful thing to watch truthseekers study, parse, nuance, even recant, until they come up with what, for the time being, seems to be as close to the whole truth as they can get.   I love truthseekers and I feel I have found some. God bless you all!

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And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.  John 8:32