Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Pastor Speaks the Truth

Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

9 November 2008

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

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.


Father J. Scott Newman, St. Mary’s in Greenville, SC

thanks to Fr. Zuhlsdorf of WDTPRS


Dawn said...

We should all be supporting our Priests and Bishops in this matter. Father Longknecker, at Standing on My Head ( got a terrible email in response to Father Newman's article.

radio45 said...

An open letter to priests and religious discouraged by an Obama administration:

From what I have seen, some amongst the religious and pro-life are at a loss for the fact that so many Catholics voted for Barack Obama. Some have even called it sinful. I understand this astonishment. After all you are not subject to the ups and downs of the economy. You have a guaranteed salary, all be it very small. At the very least you are guaranteed 3 hots and a cot for life. It may be difficult to believe that many in your churches are but two to 3 pay checks away from knocking on the back door of the rectory asking you to share some of your "hots" and maybe even your cot. And you are subject to your superiors. When they say come, you come, and when they say go, you go. It maybe difficult for some to realize what it is like to seek a higher wage in the US for their family, and then get treated as if they were a criminal, for simply seeking a better life for themselves and the very basics for their children. Understand that some in your congregations are very nervous about how many in the country are reacting to the aliens amongst us who at the very least should be treated with dignity and compassion.

Contrary to what you may feel, I think that most Catholics take their faith seriously and their role as American citizens seriously. I believe they prayed and studied the two candidates and their parties, prayed some more and then voted. At least I know I did. I am very satisfied with an Obama administration. I prayed and the Holy Spirit guided me. I do not believe that, as Republicans embraced Joe the Plumber, Obama embraces Joe or Josephine the abortionist. In any event I am not convinced that any action against abortion can be made until most Americans believe that life begins at conception. Most Americans believe life begins at the first breath. Just as I prayed and made my decision, I am sure you prayed that I would choose otherwise. Yet God honored my prayer and not yours in spite of the fact that your prayers carry so much more weight! Why would God say "no" to one and "yes" to another? When Moses asked to see the Promised Land, God replied with a resounding, “Enough!” and then promptly told Moses no. Of course God said no to Paul when he prayed for his thorn in the flesh to be taken away. We only know that when God says no to one door, he says yes to another.

I am very sure that legislation against abortion is far in the future. But I believe that God is asking those in the Church to take this opportunity to be the agents of change that they can be. Clearly Obama was hired to be an agent to bring change to our country, to get our country on the right track. Priests, religious, and pro-life Christians are also agents of change. They have been since Pentacost. Now as then the Holy Spirit fills the faithful with words to powerfully change hearts. While Obama can work within government to make a better life for the breathing, the Church can bring about a conversion of the hearts to ensure life for the pre-born as well. The calling of the Church and the pro-life movement is to bring about conversion in the hearts of those who call themselves pro-choice, to change their hearts of stone to hearts of flesh. God may be shutting the political door and opening up a door to eangelization. If hearts are changed, the laws must surely follow. God has committed this ministry to the Church to he the evangelists for the pre-born, engaging people one on one in the marketplace of ideas. A more difficult task than to force people to vote one way or another, but one that will bear more lasting fruit.

We just read this past Sunday the Gospel of the talents. God, through His Word, inspires us not to hide behind our fear but to use boldly that which God gives us. In the first reading of Proverbs, the writer extols the virtue of an excellent wife. Is not the Church the Bride of Christ and are we not His hands, feet and mouth? Proverbs urges us to use our talents in a practical way, working diligently, keeping in mind the love of Christ as we deal with others. Finally, when Paul speaks to the Thessalonians, he exhorts us to remember that we are children of light not of darkness, we are not to be discouraged but rely on the help of God through the Holy Spirit to help us in our evangelization.

When I read the sermon from the South Carolina priest, I was angry and wished to push back. I now feel that it reminded me of the apostles on the road to Emmaus. They were sad thinking all was lost though Christ was with them. Lastly, threatening your flock with mortal sin will not change many hearts. It will only prevent those seeking the sustenance of true life to be rejected by a Church that will need then for the giagntic task on hand. Real conversion comes from the heart. True conversion of the heart begins with evangelization.

Thanks for your time.
From someone who voted for Obama (and was fairly pleased with the outcome)

Padre Giovanni Trigilio said...

While I would not impute any motives and as only the Good Lord knows with metaphysical certitude what was in the mind and will of each voter, I can and must as a priest teach the moral law. While the economic concerns you express are very important, the consistent teaching of the Church for two thousand years has been and remains that the right to LIFE is of the highest priority. It does not negate the other issues but it places them in CONTEXT.

Our economic status, even whether or not you and I are employed or not; whether you and I are homeless or home-owners; whether we are rich or poor, insured or uninsured, etc., the bottom line is that ABORTION is currently the most URGENT and the most GRAVE evil in our time. Millions of innocent unborn children are SLAUGHTERED and more will be under an Obama administration if he keeps his word during the campaign to enact the FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act).

Yes, I have security in that as a priest I always have a job, have a roof over my head and have food on my table. My salary, while very modest, is never in jeopardy. Even if I were unemployed, homeless, and uninsured, I would still in conscience vote for Senator John McCain. NOT because he was the BEST candidate, but because he was the more Pro-Life of the two alternatives we were given in this election.

I do not maintain that Senator Barak Obama is an evil man any more than I claim McCain is a saint. Both men are basically good, are patriotic and intend to do good in serving the common good. When you compare their public stand on abortion, however, you see that Barak Obama & Joe Biden support Planned Parenthood (which promotes giving contraceptives to school children) and staunchly defends Roe v. Wade. McCain & Palin, on the other hand, favor more pro-life legislation and more restrictions on abortion. Obama & Biden want to unravel what progress has been made since the Hyde Ammendment.

Yes, I am not in your shoes but neither of us are in the shoes of the UNBORN who are the most vulnerable in our society, followed by the terminally ill. Abortion and euthanasia kill more innocent people than all the wars combined. Food, shelter, education and employment are rights of the human person but without the right to life, these other rights are meaningless.

I cannot and will not bully or intimidate my parishioners and I pray that those who did vote for Obama acted out of ignorance or at least misguided compassion. I repudiate any all racism and I want an end to war and terrorism as much as anyone else. The problem is that there is a HIERARCHY of values and goods in this world. LIFE trumps all other rights but it is also the source of all other rights. Since human life is made in the image and likeness of God, to destroy human life is to deface the Almighty Himself.

I don't think that most Catholic voters were flippant or casual but I do fear that many are unaware of our MORAL OBLIGATION to not formally OR materially cooperate in evil. Voting for pro-abortion candidates is material cooperation in evil. Senator Biden, the Vice President elect openly admits that life begins at conception but he also defends Roe v. Wade and seeks to keep abortion legal and accessible. His actions and position are in complete opposition to the moral teaching of the Church. He and other Catholic politicians risk not only being banned from Holy Communion but also risk incurring excommunication.

If Obama had embraced a pro-life position, then he would have been a very viable candidate for election by any Catholic Christian.

I AM NOT EQUATING OBAMA WITH HITLER. The only comparison I make is that some voted for Hitler because they felt he could save Germany from economic ruin after World War I. Many ignored his anti-Semitism thinking more good would be done by stabilizing the economy.

AGAIN, I AM NOT PROPOSING ANY CONNECTION BETWEEN OBAMA AND HITLER. Some have ignored Obama's stand on abortion in favor of his ability to fix the economy and end the war. Laudable goals but the ENDS NEVER JUSTIFIES THE MEANS.

Killing innocent unborn babies in the womb is the second Holocaust. The first Holocaust exterminated six million Jewish men, women and children. ALL were innocent victims of unspeakable evil. The millions of babies butchered in their mother's wombs are AS innocent as those Jews in the death camps.

I do not fear President Elect Obama will ruin the nation or the world. As our validly elected leader, I PRAY for his well being BUT I also pray that he REPENT of his abortion stand and embrace PRO-LIFE to its entirety. We must respect his lawful authority and office as President and Commander in Chief. We must pray for his safety and well being. We must also pray for his CONVERSION of heart.

Put it this way, could you in conscience vote for a candidate who was openly anti-Semitic or racist YET was the best economist and had the best economic plan, the best diplomat who would end and prevent all wars, but whose only flaw was their toleration of injustice to Jews or to African Americans? Why be different for someone who tolerates the unjust killing of innocent unborn babies?

I respect your opinion but I vigorously disagree with it. No matter how many good ideas and potential Barak Obama has, his position on abortion disqualified him on a moral plane. Sometimes we must opt for the mediocre or less than desirable candidate in order to prevent a heinous evil from taking place. John McCain was not my firs choice but when he ended up as the Pro-Life candidate and Barak Obama became the pro-choice candidate, it was crystal clear. The fact that many Catholics did saddens me and shows me that the bishops, priests and deacons failed miserably at properly forming the conscience's of our people.

Diane M. Korzeniewski said...

I wonder....

If innocent, healthy, breathing, walking persons were executed at a rate of 4000 daily, would people be so quick to put the matter anywhere but first place when considering a candidate?

Would the bishops have unanimity with regards to denial of Holy Communion to those supporting legislation that would sustain or increase the executions?

A fundamental problem with the abortion issue, even for many bishops and priests who are relatively silent and do nothing, is that somehow, the developing baby is, perhaps subconsciously, regarded as less human than those who breath and walk.

The Rockin' Traddy said...

Have you seen where the "administrator" for the Diocese of Charleston condemned Father Newman's letter? Shameful. You can see it at

I also blogged on it. Makes me blood boil, it does!

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