Church Repudiates Priest Who Demands Penance Before Obama Voters Receive Communion

17975580_240x180The Catholic Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina has repudiated the actions of Father Jay Scott Newman who told his parishioners that anyone who voted for Barack Obama should confess and do penance before receiving communion. So that there is no mistake, the Diocese released both a statement and a video denouncing the actions by Rev. Newman.

Monsignor Martin T. Laughlin, Administrator of the Diocese of Charleston, issued a statement that says in part:

This past week, the Catholic Church’s clear, moral teaching on the evil of abortion has been pulled into the partisan political arena. The recent comments of Father Jay Scott Newman … have diverted the focus from the Church’s clear position against abortion…. [L]et me state with clarity that Father Newman’s statements do not adequately reflect the Catholic Church’s teachings. Any comments or statements to the contrary are repudiated….

Christ gives us freedom to explore our own conscience and to make our own decisions while adhering to the law of God and the teachings of the faith. Therefore, 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…. 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.

It is not clear what penance will be required from Rev. Newman, but it is clear that tickets to the inauguration are out of the question at this point.

For the full story, click here.

17 thoughts on “Church Repudiates Priest Who Demands Penance Before Obama Voters Receive Communion”

  1. I guess it’s time to start taxing the churches since they want to be political. Isn’t this the reason they aren’t taxed? Such as out in California when the Mormon Church and other churches gave money to stop gays from be able to marry. This is deffineately not seperation of church and state. It’s also blackmail in my opinion. Tax them and see if they continue doing this kind of crap!

  2. Gyges,

    That priest has pennance to do, Obama is the antichrist! Do not tell the relative as it may cause a nervous breakdown. As I see it the priest has been berating people who are ushering in the end times and maybe HE should be denied wafers a few times! (from Alternet)

    “When bizarre, fringe publications speculate openly about who may or may not be the Antichrist, it’s easy to dismiss. When Newsweek publishes a 600-word piece on those who wonder about Obama being the Antichrist, one really has to wonder what on earth the editors were thinking.

    On Nov. 5, Todd Strandberg was at his desk, fielding E-mails from around the world. As the editor and founder of, his job is to track current events and link them to biblical prophecy in hopes of maintaining his status as “the eBay of prophecy,” the best source online for predictions and calculations concerning the end of the world. Already Barack Obama had drawn the attention of apocalypse watchers after an anonymous e-mail circulated among conservative Christians in October implying that he was the Antichrist. Former “Saturday Night Live” ingenue Victoria Jackson fueled the fire when, according to news reports, she wrote on her Web site that Obama “bears traits that resemble the anti-Christ.” Now Strandberg was receiving up-to-the-minute news from his constituents in Illinois. One of the winning lottery numbers in the president-elect’s home state was 666 — which, as everyone knows, is the sign of the Beast (also known as the Antichrist). “It is very eerie, and I take it for a sign as to who he really is,” wrote one of Strandberg’s correspondents.”

  3. Gyges,

    That is hilarious! Maybe prince charles is the “john the baptist” for the real antichrist, obama? Maybe charles is the antichrist of the old testement and obama the antichrist for the “new age”. Stay tuned to this universe to find out!!!

    Also, why not play karlheinz stockhausen at your Viking funeral?

  4. Jill,

    I actually heard the “end times” theory brought up by one of my more entrenched relatives. Oddly enough it was the relative who remains relatively convince that Prince Charles is the Antichrist.

    My canned response to any attempt to mix politics with religion is something along the lines of “How’d that whole Divine Right of Kings work out for everyone?”

  5. Mespo that kung fu reference was funny! Fr. Meyer will be joining Fr. Newman in the competition for worst person in the world! Fr. Meyer’s actions seem more egregious in that he may have singled out Ms. Caster and the Obama bumper stickers based on race. The follow up attack on the reporter should give him a clear shot at the tittle.
    I know we are joking but it is concerning how outrageous these priests are behaving; they are supposed to know better and lead by example. I worry and pray (however futile prayers may be) and hope our First Family will be kept safe always!

  6. STORY UPDATE: I have an update on Fr. Meyer. Apparently the diocese is also investigating the attempting notebook snatching/arm clawing incident as part of its global investigation of the incident. A diocesan spokesperson did say however, that the incident was likely related to the following religious ritual and that Fr. Meyer harbored no malicious intent (try at about :35 seconds:

  7. Jill, Mespo & Rafflaw,
    Unfortunately most politicians today have been forced to temper any religious criticism. I think that is because the MSM gives the religious right unprecendented and normally non-critical coverage. The MSM is afraid to call a crazy white guy (Hagee, Robertson, Falwell, etc.)a crazy white guy. By the same token they are all to ready to make a capital crime out of 3 minutes of Rev. Wright’s long and distinguished career. On one hand the crazies are almost lionized even when they state that 9/11 and Katrina were examples of God’s judgment for our condoning abortion and homosexuality. Their statements were more than equivalent to Rev. Wright’s when his is taken without the context. Within context his statements were rather reasonable, where as the others were just crazy in or out of context.

  8. Hi rafflaw,

    I mean to say the congregation complained about the bully priest in mespo’s story. That’s a good sign that people will stand up and protect the innocent against a bullying authority figure. You’re right, the line between church and state has converged, to the detriment of all!

  9. Mespo,
    A cranky white guy? That is funny! I remember the Jesus that the good Benedictine Nuns taught me about was a very liberal person who would not stand still for people not being allowed into his Church because of their political views. As Jill suggested it is heartening to see the diocese come out and repudiate this priest, but Mespo’s additional example (the cranky white guy) once again highlights the very thin line separating Church and State. This line has gotten thinner in the last 8 years and hopefully the Church elders will re-learn the true message of Christ.

  10. Jill:

    “As to the theology of this and likeminded priest inquisitors–how can he be so certain that god didn’t want obama to win?”
    Rule 2 in the Cranky White Guy rule book:

    God is omniscient and omnipotent unless a liberal minded person prevails in which case it is definitely not God’s will.

    Of course rule 1 is that God is a cranky white guy.

  11. There are two things that hearten me about this story. The first is that other parishners objected to this treatment–YEA!!! The priest is a bully and bullies are best confronted, preferably by a group.

    The second is the police are making an intervention. The church can lie about what happened all they want but evidently the facts are taking precedence here–YEA!!!

    As to the theology of this and likeminded priest inquisitors–how can he be so certain that god didn’t want obama to win? Maybe god will use obama to bring about the end times. How is he so certain god won’t use obama as his instrument? How also did he know the woman put the sticker on her van. Perhaps she recently purchased it used from her neighbor and it was her evil obama voting neighbor who will go to hell. Of course, she should do some time in purgatory for failure to immediately remove the sticker of evil, but that’s not the same as going to hell.

    This is 2008. The churches, for the most part, seem to be returning to around the 11th-17th century. I think this bespeaks desperate times. When religious doctrine turns neighbor against neighbor, becomes an inquistition on one’s conscience and forces people to reject scientific knowledge, this is dangerous. None of this leads to people who think for themselves and who will make a free society.

  12. Well it seems the friar from South Carolina isn’t the only angry white man in a Roman collar. The Reverend Sebastian Meyer in Fairfield, California and shepherd of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel RC Church doesn’t have much patience for Obama supporters either.

    On the Sunday following the election, parishioner Elizabeth Caster parked her SUV, adorned with Obama stickers and slogans, in a loading zone outside of the Church. Despite the fact two other vehicles were also parked there as was the practice during the busy masses, Fr. Meyer strode to the pulpit before the packed house and said in an angry voice:”We cannot have a car with Obama signs written on it on these premises. And I don’t care who Obama is.” He then followed the humiliated Ms. Caster (who is a 6 year member of the parish) to the parking lot and refused to let he move into a open space saying “you cannot park any place here, you have to go. He then allegedly told the shaken woman “you have to go and you cannot have a car with an Obama sign parked in there [the parking lot].”

    Of note is that Ms. Caster is African-American and was at the service to pick up her parents who were visiting from Kenya, and that her husband, Mr. Caster (who was at home), is white. Coincidental to the episode I am sure.

    The diocese is investigating but made this curious statement prior to interviewing several appalled parishioners who also complained: “The congregation and Father Sebastian are very sorry for any misunderstanding and there certainly was no intent to say anything bad about our president-elect.” I guess that’s a new spin on the old bromide to “give ’em a fair trial and then hang ’em” now it’s “let’s give ’em a fair trial and then congratulate the priest!”

    When a newspaper reporter attempted to question Father Meyer about the episode, the meek churchman reportedly attempted to snatch the notebook from the reporter’s hand and clawed at his arm. A battery investigation is pending by a more objective investigative body who wear badges. To quote my favorite hymn “We shall know they are Christians by their love.”

    Read more at :

  13. rcampbell,

    I think it is the volume level of the radio that determines the answer to your question. (See evangalist’s challenge above!)

  14. Archie
    1, November 16, 2008 at 9:45 am
    Oddly as a listener of Catholic radio, it is apparent voting on Bama was a sin in the Catholic faith.


    You’ve got me a bit confused. Are you stating that Catholic radio convinced you that voting for Obama was a sin and you thus approve of Father Newman or simply that this was the line being pushed by Catholic radio and you did not adhere to it?

  15. Oddly as a listener of Catholic radio, it is apparent voting on Bama was a sin in the Catholic faith. So, it seems the priest was indeed following orders to require penance. Maybe it is his boss that needs to do penance for “double speak”?

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