This turbulent priest

A reader, Matthew Butler, sent me this e-mail today:

Obviously I’ve read the news (over the top) about the actions of Fr. Newman
in Greenville, what appears to be NOT over the top is the type of echo
chamber that St. Mary’s is. This is Fr. Longnecker’s, the pastoral associate
(and a married priest!), response to the election. I know we’re supposed to
‘speak truth to power’ and sometimes that involves harsh words, but really?
Just wanted to get your opinion on the matter.

Here’s the reply I sent:

St. Mary’s is
a very conservative parish. I’ve been to Mass there. I know we’re not supposed
to make judgments about people based on outward appearances, but I have to admit
that that was the most WASPish, Republican-looking, country-club congregation I
ever remember seeing in a Catholic church. It gave me a sense of dislocation.
Not that any of that should matter.
As for Fr.
Longnecker (sounds like a guy you’d want to have a beer with, just going by the
name)… in his position, as a person who admittedly doesn’t think much about
politics, I could see having his attitude.
I like Obama.
But to like anybody, there’s always something you have to overlook. With Obama,
the biggest thing I have to overlook is his position on abortion (plus the
mental gymnastics he goes through to justify his position constitutionally). If
I did the opposite, if I looked at Obama primarily through his position on
abortion, I would be horrified by him. And being horrified, I could see myself
using some pretty strong language to describe him (although I’d probably be more
likely to invoke Henry II than Herod). Obama does have a cold-blooded view of
the issue that is disturbing
, considered in a vacuum.
Fr. Longnecker’s view of Obama is untempered by any consideration of him beyond

Ironically, that exchange occurred while I was working on my Sunday column, which is all about POSITIVE thoughts I’m having about the president-elect…

40 thoughts on “This turbulent priest

  1. Ozzie

    It won’t move folks like Bud one inch, but this article by Michael Gerson on George Bush
    may help some to view him with more kindness. I think probably his historical legacy, viewed from further down the line, will not be quite as awful and many presently think. Meanwhile, Gerson serves up some good advice for Obama, and I quote a small bit of it, in case one or the other is interested, but has problems with the link:

    Political indifference to durable poverty in our midst has long been a scandal; from Obama it would be a tragedy. America does need to “spread the wealth” — but not in the simply redistributionist sense. The racial divide in our country is widest when it comes to assets. The median net worth of white and Asian Americans in 2004 was $142,700. The median net worth of African Americans was $20,400. There are many reasons for this massive disparity, including what Lincoln called centuries of “unrequited toil.” Reparations are a politically self-destructive dead end. But what if President Obama, for example, proposed to set up tax-free savings accounts for every poor child at birth and seeded those accounts with a few thousand dollars? Addressing the wealth gap through the miracle of compound interest would be a lasting contribution to the justice of our country.
    When it comes to Africa, Obama’s roots and popularity on the continent — evidenced by jubilation at the news of his election — are a significant foreign policy advantage. Africa is a growing source of trade, energy and voting support in international institutions. Continuing and expanding President Bush’s emphasis on Africa would not be narrow but visionary — and would find a receptive audience among Americans, including religious conservatives, with humanitarian commitments on the continent.

  2. Doug Ross

    McCain’s adultery apparently is okay these days in the Catholic church. It’s not what you do, it’s what you think.
    I went to the funeral of a friend at St. Peters yesterday. Hadn’t been in a Catholic church in twenty years. My wife and I both were disappointed that the service seemed to be more about the rituals of the church than about the man who died.

  3. bud

    Brad, what EXACTLY is your position on abortion? And please, no lectures on the horrors of killing and the immorality of taking life and protecting the unborn. Those arguments are just empty platitudes that get us nowhere. I get the horror stuff. The world is horrible, so what? What’s important is defining the limits of ok killing vs not ok killing. Once you open the door to allowing killing under certain circumstance then you have to defend each type of killing that you support. Unless of course you oppose killing under all circumstances. Once you make exceptions to the no killing rule and accept that some killing is ok, then you are left with the task of sorting out which types of killing are ok and which types are not ok. It seems hopelessy inconsistent to be pro-killing in Iraq yet oppose a pregnant woman’s right to reach a similar pro-killing philosophy about her fetus. It makes zero sense.
    The Catholic Church seems to be very limited in the type of killing it finds ok. Killing that’s not ok includes abortion. But it also includes the death penalty for crimes and optional war killing, especially for civilians. I’m not sure but the Catholic Church is probably ok with killing in self-defence when one’s life is directly in jeopardy. The Amish even oppose killing in self defense. Then we have people who oppose killing animals. Seems like the Amish and vegitarians are the most consistent on this. (Of course Brad is not only ok with killing animals but is ok with making cruel and disgusting jokes about animal suffering; in effect forfeiting the moral high ground on this issue from the get go).
    As for me, I oppose killing my unborn fetus under all circumstances. Yet my own personal view on that is limited to me and me alone. I would NEVER impose that belief on others, even a woman who is pregnant with my child, through the force of government intervention. Since it’s their body they and they alone should make that decision. It’s the only thing that makes any sense. And the Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, supports that view.

  4. Chad

    If he refuses communion for Obama supporters, is he doing the same for McCain or Bush supporters? They support advancing and increasing the use of the death penalty which is also against Catholic doctrine.
    Lets be fair, even if we are being hateful. This guy is a joke and a hypocrit, and his higher ups supporting his wacko stand is a joke, considering they work for a system that covered up and helped perpertrate child molestation.
    Tell me you don’t support Obama, tell me his views are wrong and you recommend I vote for someone else. Just don’t tell me I’m going to hell for my vote or that my vote is not moral. To do so means you think of yourself as a god, which is blasphemy in the highest order.

  5. Jim

    All Catholic Obama supporters in the Greenville area should celebrate Mass at Fr. Newman’s church and take communion wearing an Obama/Biden ’08 sticker.

  6. bud

    The Catholic Church is nothing but a gigantic cult complete with mind-numbing, senseless rituals conducted by a bunch of pedophiles. No point in taking any of their idiot leaders seriously.

  7. Bub

    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.

  8. Brad Warthen

    This is what we get when we don’t have a bishop — anarchy. Next thing you know, somebody’s going to be nailing theses to the doors…

  9. Jim

    Escalate away, Mattheus. That church should have its tax-exempt status revoked (actually, no church should be tax-exempt, but that’s another issue).

  10. Reader

    Jim, when MM escalates — he will be given the golden bolden pen…anything you say will be magnified. Beware. You have entered THE CHURCH OF BRAD.

  11. Randy E

    I can’t believe that last post was from bud. bud, if that was your post I would like to you to justify your position.
    Doug, the Catholic church would focus more on Jesus and faith than on the individual. If the man was Catholic, he likely would want it to be that way. After all, he is now in God’s hands and his faith was about God.
    Priests are human. This priest, as a human, will have his moments. Even Msgr. Lehocky, as pious and grace filled of a human as there is, probably makes big mistakes.

  12. Reader

    Yes, MM — as a counterweight to ChurchWARTHEN. I do my civic duty as I see fit. Do you pay for this crap? I do. And I will certainly swat Brad down a peg or two as the general consensus sees fit.
    Give us Cindi — she has certainly put in her dues. For more years than I can count back. And has the tact befitting someone in the ‘go-to’ position for public discourse.

  13. Rich

    As a non-practicing, non-believing Roman Catholic who cherishes the church for its music, rituals, art, intellectual tradition, and some of its moral stands, I must nevertheless stand firmly against any political role for priests unless they are willing to lose their tax-exempt status.
    Actually, I think churches should be taxed. The net effect would salutary for the state treasury (S.C. is a particularly credulous place, so there is much to tax) and would have a dampening effect on the fissiparous, fundamentalist protestant churches that sing their hymns too loudly on Sunday morning and handle a few too many snakes for their own good.
    Time to recognize the proper role of religion as the repository of a nation’s mythology and the historic, but pre-scientific, attempt of its people to understand the cosmos and touch eternity.
    It is also time to stop believing that the myths are literally true. I no more believe in the literal existence of Jesus than I do of Zeus, Allah, Yahweh, or some tribal fetish.
    As the posts above show, S.C. is not as conservative as people think; and as the election shows, the U.S. is not really center-right; it’s just the undemocratic features of our constitution that make it seem to be the case.

  14. Ozzie

    It is also time to stop believing that the myths are literally true. I no more believe in the literal existence of Jesus than I do of Zeus, Allah, Yahweh, or some tribal fetish.

    Now that is interesting. I wonder if Rich believes that Caesar existed, or Charlemagne, or a lot of other people in antiquity, because there is certainly more documentary evidence and historical evidence for Jesus than a lot of other figures.
    But what I think Rich is saying is that there is no unseen, spiritual world beyond what he can see, or science can detect.
    That would seem to be pretty myopic. I mean, even science suggests there are many dimensions beyond the four or five we know from experience.
    I can understand that Rich doesn’t see spiritual reality very well (maybe he doesn’t want to?)–but why insist that everyone else should be blind as well? Really?
    One of my pet peeves about Brad, whom I know does this with tongue in cheek, but I hope that someday he comes to the realization of the fact that the Protestant reformation was, in many ways (certainly not all), a great step forward in the history of mankind, and in many ways a foundation stone in modern democracy.
    I agree with Cindy, Brad does indeed tend toward elitism–a kind of Catholic arrogance towards Protestantism, but then maybe he is reacting against an arrogance of the opposite kind.

  15. p.m.

    If belief without empirical evidence is irrational, Rich, then why do you believe people shouldn’t believe? There is no empirical evidence we’d be better off without beliefs.
    And more than two centuries after the constitution mandated freedom of religion here, with the United States not only the weatlthiest and most powerful country on Earth, but also the world’s most effective policeman, why should people quit believing now?
    Our nation’s founders said we shouldn’t recommend people not believe what they want to.
    You think you’re smarter than they were?
    You think life has changed so much in just two centuries that freedom of religion should be chucked so you can tell everybody what to think?
    Surely you don’t think evolution is that fast, do you?
    Our founding fathers knew the government couldn’t play the role of religion in society, and it still can’t. Funny thing is, in my experience, intelligence and faith apparently have nothing to do with each other. Some of the smartest people I’ve known have been the most religious. Others have had no faith in faith whatsoever, like you.
    And like me. I’m a barely practicing, all-but-agnostic Methodist, but I learned a long time ago to leave people’s religion to them, and them to it. You don’t win many friends or influence many people by trying to make them shed their core beliefs. And, overall, I’ve found religious people (surprise, surprise) more reliable and trustworthy than non-believers.

  16. zachariah

    Prtoestants outnumber Catholics 12-1 in South Carolina:
    Christian: 92%
    * Protestant: 84%
    * Southern Baptist: 45%
    * Methodist: 15%
    * Presbyterian: 5%
    * Other Protestant: 19%
    * Roman Catholic: 7%
    * Other Christian: 1%
    Other Religions: 1%
    Non-Religious: 7%

  17. Michelle

    Considering the Catholic Church’s history with child molestation and their enabling of pedophiles…….

  18. Rich

    Religion does not ensure goodness. Just look at the pedophilia among Catholic priests and the towering hypocrisy of fundamentalist preachers who screw around. I am thinking here of Ted Haggard, a fraud of epic proportions. Then there’s the immorality of preachers like John Hagee who actively encourage an extremist foreign policy that would ignite a war between the Arabs and Israel over the Temple Mount. If you don’t think he has no influence, you have not been paying attention to the influence fundamentalists have over the Republican party!
    P.M., you also make one logical error: only a proposition that something is the case requires empirical evidence. There is no empirical evidence to support the fantastic and contradictory claims of religion. It can be safely disbelieved prima facie.
    As for the value of belief without evidence, I think we have plenty of empirical evidence to suggest that it is dubious. Think of the many atrocities that have been committed on the basis of strong religious belief. Even the uneducated can readily think of 9/11.
    The problem with religious faith is that it tells us we can know something without actually being able to produce empirical evidence. The legwork of social science, history, philosophy, philology, and the natural sciences becomes unnecessary, even dangerous in the land of faith.
    Take for instance the belief in a Creator God. If one takes this literally rather than metaphorically, you still have all your work cut out for you intellectually. Who is this being? Where does he come from? What is his substance? What is the nature of his magic powers? How did he design the universe? What techniques did he use and how?
    These are the empirical questions we would ask of any designer who created any object. They are the reasonable questions of rationalism and religion is utterly bereft any substantive answers. Pointing to dusty old texts written in bronze-age Palestine by semi-literate priests and mad prophets attempting to understand why the great powers were forever oppressing their people does nothing but provide a hope that is ultimately not there.
    Make no mistake: you can take anything on faith. I can have faith in people, the economy (although not this year), democracy, freedom, human decency, or just in the idea of America as a beacon of freedom in the world. Obama’s election gives me such faith.
    But that’s not the same thing as saying that I know something to be the case without evidence and, indeed, frequently against all evidence. My faith has to be based on solid reasoning and some empirical evidence to suggest that it is not misplaced.
    That’s not what religious faith is all about. Remember what Augustine said: credo quia absurdum est. I believe even though it is absurd.
    Well, I disbelieve precisely because religion is, prima facie, absurd.

  19. Randy E

    Prima facie absurd? That can be interpreted as on the surface, religion is absurb, but upon further inspection it could be something different.
    There are archaelogical finds that support many details in the bible. There is ancient papyus paper with scripture that mirrors modern scripture. I don’t know off the top of my head any biblical claim that has been specifically disproven by hard evidence.
    On the other hand, man had determined, based on empirical evidence, that the sun revolved around the earth. Einstein shattered empirically based beliefs about time-space.
    If current truth is constantly challenged and revised, then it’s not absolute – hence the term theory. Empirical evidence provides us with justification for a theory but nothing more. Man perceives truth and must have faith in what lies beyond.

  20. Rich

    I recommend Bill Maher’s new documentary/movie, Religulous. I say with respect for your point of view that it answers a lot of the questions you raise about my assessment of religion. Again, I am not against religion as myth, as a repository for the national conscience and as a touchstone for beliefs about social justice. Think of Dr. King. He was a preacher deeply motivated to campaign for social justice based on his reading of Scripture.
    That reading, however, does not require a literal understanding in order to be meaningful. Religion has given us some crimes and absurdities, but it has also provided us art, literature, music, ethical principles, and a sense that there is something beyond that we do not understand. It gives us a sense of awe and transcendence. It stimulates us to think, to debate, to muse.
    None of this requires a belief in a literal God who dictated the Bible, the Koran, the Popul Vuh, or the Bagavad-Gita. To use a Biblical metaphor, I think we are “called” to “thresh the wheat from the chaff.”
    The wheat would be the nuggets of wisdom; the chaff would be the supernaturalism, intolerance, hate, and sheer irrationality of a literal understanding of any religious tradition.
    They can’t all be right in spite of their exclusivist claims. Besides, on what basis do you determine that Christianity has doctrines A & B right, while Islam has C & D, and Buddhism, E & F?
    This is the beauty of rationalism. The human mind, basing its thinking on empirical rationalism, is far better at rightly dividing the word of truth than any faith-based system that, ultimately, is both exclusivist in its claims and utterly bereft of empirical evidence.
    Oh, by the way, Israeli archeologists scoured the Sinai before 1979 looking for evidence of the Exodus described in the Old Testament. Their conclusion? It never happened. There was simply no evidence outside the claims of the holy book that it ever occurred.

  21. Randy E

    Rich, “there is no evidence” is hardly conclusive. If there is no evidence to find someone guilty, the court decision is not “innocent”. There was no evidence in Jesus’ day that the world was round. Columbus didn’t make the world round with his discovery.
    Regarding religions and conflicts of beliefs, I offer the following analogy. A man robs a bank. The witnesses offer conflicting reports of what they believed happened. Some say the robber wore jeans other say it was blue slacks. Some say he yelled “stick em up”. Others claim he said “give me the money”. Because people were wrong or offered conflicting testimony, does this mean there was no robbery?
    Again, do you have hard evidence that disproves aspects of the Bible? In 2000 years, you would think someone could offer some counter example. Either they can’t because the Bible is the Word, or the early Christians at Nicea who editted the Bible perpetuated the greatest fraud on mankind.
    I’ve listened to Maher disparage religion but he did not offer conflicting evidence to undermine the Bible. He is excellent at criticizing the justification of religion, but that does not disprove the existence of God.
    Citing man’s abuses in the name of God is the same as citing the abuses of teachers. If 50 teachers in South Carolina touch a student inappropriately or cheat on the PACT test, can we conclude teachers or the system is bad as a whole? Referencing the Crusades or suicide bombings on behalf of Allah hardly provides evidence that religion is bad. In fact, by acknowledging that we need Jesus as our savior, we acknowledge that we are inherently sinful before God.

  22. p.m.

    Wow, Randy. Here’s an issue about which I actually agree with you.
    By and large, the church people I’ve known have been responsible citizens, nothing like Jim Jones, Jim Bakker, David Koresh and the religious people famous for their misdeeds.
    Was Nazism mistaken rationalism or errant religion?
    If we discount the exodus, should we also claim there was no Holocaust?
    How well did the suppression of religion in the Soviet Union work out?
    Here’s hoping that in a country where church and state are constitutionally separate, we don’t have a teacher trying to dissuade his students from their religion.
    That would be an even bigger sin than having the Ten Commandments displayed in the school cafeteria.

  23. Rich

    The law requires that teachers neither advance nor disparage religious belief. Unfortunately, our problem is not with atheism in the classroom but with teachers who keep Bibles on their desks and implicitly advance their religious beliefs in the classroom. Even if the community is completely in agreement, it’s unconstitutional under Lemon v. Kurtzman.
    Even though I am a non-believer, I do not discuss those beliefs in class, but I also expect a committed Christian to do the same. Far better it is for a teacher to model his/her religious or non-religious (ethical) beliefs through appropriate and laudable behavior than to indoctrinate students. If you want that, we still have parochial and so-called “Christian” schools you can send your kids to.

  24. p.m.

    I just want us to have freedom of religion, Rich, not freedom from religion. I don’t think Bibles on teachers’ desks are causing tremendous problems, but I’d much rather public-school teachers give instruction in just three R’s, not four.
    So, basically, I agree with you, too, short of Bill Maher, at least, and as long as you don’t immerse children in his tired, tastelesss spiel, you can think and say whatever you want outside your role as a teacher. That’s the American way.
    Don’t be disappointed, though, if 20 or 30 years from now, you find yourself where I am now, 20 or 30 years after thinking some things akin to what you’ve been expressing, when there was no blog to record my thoughts, and there was almost no adult audience, even in one-on-one conversations, for such ideas.
    Personally, I hope there isn’t much audience for Maher’s film, if it’s anywhere close to being as classless and offensive as his anti-religion website:
    People believe what they want to believe. Maher couldn’t change their minds if he wanted to, but he probably will make a lot of money making fun of them and their icons.
    To me, that seems sad, childish and maddeningly arrogant all at the same time. I don’t understand why, in a world where race and sexual preference aren’t supposed to matter, that religion wouldn’t be something to be tolerant about, too.
    Anything but tolerant, Maher’s website is just plumb hateful.

  25. Randy E

    Rich, you stated your need for empirical evidence but you offer none to disprove the authenticity of the Bible. (I’m not trying to convert you but only to debate).
    There is historical evidence of Jesus as man (Josephus’ accounts for example). Bible accounts have been supported historically and with archaeology. The Council of Nicea was full of many smart guys (smarter than us) who reviewed the evidence and pulled together the Bible.
    What does empirical evidence does Maher provide that disproves the Bible? Can you conclusively determine that the Bible is false? If not, then you do not have science and reason on your side any more than believers have.
    PM, my value set is based on Catholic Faith – from social justice to pro-life. Both sides, when espousing Christian ideals, are choosing from the menu what they personally like. Brad’s pretty good at aligning his political views with Catholic Faith, but I would challenge him on the “just war” issue regarding Iraq.

  26. TomWaits

    Altar Boy
    He’s an ol’ altar boy
    Lying out there in the street
    He’s an ol’ alter boy
    Bound up in leather and chains
    That’s why I’m feeling so blue
    I’m an old altar boy
    What about you?
    Now, I can order in Latin
    Make ’em au gratin, Joe
    I’m an old altar boy
    That’s why I’m so depressed
    I never got the rest of the dream
    Just the ritual
    Now I’m habitual
    Majoring in crimes that are unspeakable
    Cause I’m an old altar boy
    That’s what happened to me.
    I’m an old altar boy
    He’s hoping he can meet a woman dressed like a nun
    He knows there’s got to be some around here
    Drinking across from the church
    A little Father Cribari wine
    On a Sunday morn’ time.
    I’m an old altar boy.
    Why is he winking at this time in his life?
    He never took a wife, cause he’s an old altar boy
    Oh, yeah…
    What about you?

  27. Lee Muller

    So the priest is criticized for not modifying the Church doctrine to conform to the current political currents.
    That is why we operate under the First Amendment, to protect his religion from secular coercion.

  28. Brad Warthen

    Someone who goes by the handle "Diogenes" posted this about Msgr. Laughlin’s statement(s):

    When Father Scott Newman instructed his parishioners
    that they should make a good Confession before receiving Communion if
    they had voted for a pro-abortion candidate, he received both kudos and
    criticism. The most pointed criticism came from the administrator of
    the diocese, Msgr. Martin Laughlin, who announced:
    "Father Newman’s statements do not adequately reflect the Catholic
    Church’s teachings. Any comments or statements to the contrary are

    Now that’s interesting. Because on the very day Msgr. Laughlin released that statement, the local newspaper had reported:

    Newman has been the most outspoken of South Carolina priests in the
    wake of the election, the administrator of the diocese of Charleston,
    Msgr. Martin T. Laughlin, supports him fully, said diocesan spokesman
    Steve Gajdosik. 

    "I think it’s fair to say that Father Newman’s letter echoes the sentiments of Father Laughlin," he said.

    competent PR man would issue such a clear statement of support without
    first having checked with his boss– in this case (since the Charleston
    see is currently without a bishop) the diocesan administrator, Msgr.
    Laughlin. Notice too that Gajdosik used Laughlin’s name. Why do you
    suppose he felt so sure that he knew how Laughlin felt?…

    Actually, I had assumed that the statement "Any comments or statements to the contrary are
    repudiated" was indeed a reference to the views previously attributed to and/or expressed by Msgr. Laughlin.

    As I said before, it’s tough not having a bishop.

  29. Lee Muller

    The media has spent more time being outraged by this priest than it spent reporting the hatred spewed in Barack Obama’s cult church.

  30. Wachovia's Fine.

    Why would The Rooster want to hurl me @ Wachovia via Manpower Temps? Bizarre scenario, that. You have some wicked buddies, Brad.
    “How can two walk together except they be agreed?”

  31. G W Jefferson

    Father Newman,the Catholic priest in Greenville, was explaining the teaching of the Catholic Church about abortion. He was not judging anyone and neither was the Dioceson office in Charleston.
    Abortion involves a moral issue. Moral decisions are often made under mentally trying circumstances. An abortion may involve mitigating circumstances such as rape or incest involving a child that causes us to view abortion in a less sever moral light when considering the victim’s conscience.
    The victim of such a crime is likely to be be overcome with shame,confusion,and to be traumatized or even not to understand being pregnant. Under such stress, a victim may be unable to make rational moral decisions. A woman’s primary intent may not be to kill by abortion but to cure herself of the physical and psychological injury suffered. A victim of rape or incest should always be viewed with mercy and healing love in whatever moral decision she makes concerning abortion.

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