Catholic Church says Priest was wrong in Obama/Communion Flap

November 19, 2008

A South Carolina Catholic priest was wrong to warn parishioners who
voted for President-elect Barack Obama to confess their sin before
receiving Communion, according to the head of the priest’s diocese.

Monsignor Martin T. Laughlin, administrator of the Diocese of
Charleston, said in a statement late Friday (Nov. 14) that “if a person
has formed his or her conscience well, he or she should not be denied
Communion, nor be told to go to confession before receiving Communion.”

Last week, the Rev. Jay Scott Newman of St. Mary’s Catholic Church
in Greenville, said that by receiving Communion, Obama supporters
“drink and eat their own condemnation,” because the president-elect
supports abortion rights. Newman later said he would not deny the
sacrament to anyone “based on political opinions or choices.”

Newman’s statements “do not adequately reflect the Catholic Church’s
teachings. Any comments or statements to the contrary are repudiated,”
Laughlin said. 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.”

Laughlin cites the Catholic Church’s catechism, which states that
“man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally
to make moral decisions.”

“Christ gives us the freedom to explore our own consciences and to
make our decisions while adhering to the law of God and the teachings
of the faith,” Laughlin said. “We should all come together to support
the president-elect and all elected officials with a view to
influencing policy in favor of the protection of the unborn child.”

Laughlin was appointed the interim administrator of the statewide
Charleston diocese when Bishop Robert J. Baker was transferred to
Birmingham, Ala., last year.

Source: Pew Forum

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