We’ve all seen the story on the South Carolina priest who announced that voting for Obama was a matter worthy of confession and people shouldn’t receive Communion until they do so.

Well shock of shocks. Commonweal, that famous liberal Catholic publication, is against this priest’s decision. What actually is surprising is their argument. The same magazine that runs almost daily tributes to Doug Kmiec and female ordination is arguing today that the Church can’t have “individual pastors freelancing all over the place.”

I guess priest are only allowed to freelance all over the place when it comes to the liberal causes.

Father Jay Scott Newman, pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Greenville, SC, wasn’t waiting for the bishops to figure out what they should do. He sent a letter to his parishioners telling them that if they voted for Obama (”Barack Hussein Obama,” as he makes sure to note) they should not receive communion. In his letter to his “Dear Friends in Christ,” Newman (good name) says:

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.

Father Newman of course also notes that Obama was duly elected, and we should pray for him. But he has some pretty strong culture war rhetoric as well, about the unbridgeable gap between pro-choicers and pro-lifers:

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.

Isolated instance? Or predictable collateral damage from the church’s war within? Either way, it seems grossly unjust if only because there is so much confusion over who can take communion, and you have individual pastors freelancing all over the place.

Just hilarious. Ironically, in the same issue they have an article by a priest, Thomas J. Reese S.J. doing a little “freelancing” himself in an article entitled “Reforming the Vatican. What the Church Can Learn from Other Institutions.” I guess that’s the good kind of freelancing pastor.