Father Newman is in for a lot of controversy and criticism. Our admiration for his brave stance is huge.
Herein is the most unfortunate response this afternoon from the Diocese of Charleston - God help the poor Catholics of this diocese. (This statement is by the Administrator of the diocese, as it is without a bishop at this time.)
Statement of Monsignor Martin T. Laughlin
Administrator of the Diocese of Charleston
CHARLESTON, S.C. (November 14, 2008) - 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, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville, S.C., have diverted the focus from the Church’s clear position against abortion. As Administrator of the Diocese of Charleston, let 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.The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions.” The Catechism goes on to state: “In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path; we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord’s Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church.”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.The pulpit is reserved for the Word of God. Sometimes God’s truth, as is the Church’s teaching on abortion, is unpopular. All Catholics must be aware of and follow the teachings of the Church.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. Let us pray for them and ask God to guide them as they take the mantle of leadership on January 20, 2009.I ask also for your continued prayers for me and for the Diocese of Charleston.Office of the Administrator
119 Broad Street · Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Post Office Box 818 · Charleston, South Carolina 29402Phone (843) 958-2150 · Fax (843) 958-2152(The phone number above is Msgr. Laughlin's direct line. You may not get an answer, but you can leave a message.)Here is the parish web site that contains Father Newman's response to the diocese's criticism. Update: (Saturday a.m.) - This response has now disappeared from the parish website and in it's place is a link to the diocese's website statements. No doubt this is a small capitulation by Fr. Newman due to intense pressure by the diocese's Administrator. Our prayers for this courageous priest will continue.