Repenting an Obama Vote

Another pastor has recommended that some Catholics who voted for President-elect Barack Obama should go to confession before receiving Communion.

In a homily to parishioners and in a follow-up letter, Father Joseph Illo, pastor of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Modesto, Calif., suggested that voting for pro-abortion politicians with a clear understanding of their pro-abortion stance constitutes grave sin.

“If you are one of the 54% of Catholics who voted for a pro-abortion candidate, you were clear on his position, and you knew the gravity of the question, I urge you to go to confession before receiving Communion,” Father Illo said in his Nov. 21 letter. “Don’t risk losing your state of grace by receiving sacrilegiously.”

The letter has a similar message to that delivered after Obama’s election by South Carolina priest Father Jay Scott Newman. Neither pastor suggested they intended to withhold Communion from any individual Catholics who had voted for Obama but had not repented sacramentally for doing so.

According to The Modesto Bee, Father Illo’s bishop clarified that confession is warranted only for Catholics who vote specifically in support of a pro-abortion position.

Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, Calif., said confession is required only for voters “if someone voted for a pro-abortion or pro-choice candidate — if that’s the reason you voted for them.”

“Our position on pro-life is very important, but there are other issues,” Bishop Blaire said. “No one candidate reflects everything that we stand for. I’m sure that most Catholics who voted were voting on economic issues.”

Said Bishop Blaire, “There were probably many priests, and I suspect many bishops, who voted for Obama.”

In subsequent comments at Mass yesterday, Father Illo highlighted that it’s not voting for Obama that is the issue. It’s whether a Catholic voted for him in agreement with Obama’s pro-abortion platform and voting record.

“This is a serious issue,” he said, The Modesto Bee reported. “But it’s not about whom you vote for as much as it is what you vote for. We as Catholics have the duty to protect the rights of all people. We have a precious opportunity as Catholics and Christians to promote a culture of life.”

— Tom McFeely