Archbishop orders Minnesota priests to support or stay silent on anti-gay-marriage amendment
“There ought not be open dissension on this issue,” is the message the Catholic hierarchy is telling priests in Minnesota — “this issue” being same-sex marriage.
In a private speech to Minnesota’s priests last October, Archbishop John C. Nienstedt said that any priest who disagreed with the church’s efforts to place a constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples should remain silent. Any disagreements should be brought to him personally, he said. The Catholic Church in Minnesota has been a driving force for the anti-same-sex-marriage amendment since it passed onto the 2012 ballot last May.
Nienstedt later sent the text of that speech to priests who were unable to participate in the gathering. Someone in the church recently leaked the text to the Progressive Catholic Voice, a group working for reform within the church. On Thursday, PCV published statements condemning Nienstedt’s speech.
In the speech, Nienstedt told the priests he expects participation in getting the amendment passed from everyone within the church:
It is my expectation that all the priests and deacons in this Archdiocese will support this venture and cooperate with us in the important efforts that lie ahead. The gravity of this struggle, and the radical consequences of inaction propels me to place a solemn charge upon you all — on your ordination day, you made a promise to promote and defend all that the Church teaches. I call upon that promise in this effort to defend marriage. There ought not be open dissension on this issue. If any have personal reservations, I do not wish that they be shared publicly. If anyone believes in conscience that he cannot cooperate, I want him to contact me directly and I will plan to respond personally.
Nienstedt also noted that he’s created teams of “a priest and a married couple” to go into Catholic schools to talk about the amendment.
In a public statement, various members of Progressive Catholic Voice said the Archbishop’s direction is unbelievable.
“When I first read this letter I couldn’t believe that the Archbishop was telling priests and deacons to be silent if they were opposed to the marriage amendment,” said Paula Ruddy, parishioner at Minneapolis’ St. Boniface. “Is one’s position on whether the State constitution should be amended a matter of Church doctrine? How are Catholics to form their consciences if their pastors are not candid with them?”
Ruddy is also a member of the editorial board of the Progressive Catholic Voice.
That group’s editor, Michael Bayly, called the speech problematic.
“The Archbishop’s letter is problematic in many ways,” he said. “As a gay man, I find it particularly offensive that he can’t even bring himself to name gay and lesbian people. We’re simply a ‘minority’ seemingly out to destroy the church and civilization. Such an absurd caricature would be funny if not for the hurtful and damaging consequences to individuals, couples and families resulting from the Archbishop’s anti-marriage equality activism.”
Minnesota’s Catholic hierarchy has come under intense scrutiny over its support for the anti-gay constitutional amendment.
In the run-up to the 2010 gubernatorial election, the church sent out approximately 400,000 DVDs and mailings urging Catholics to vote for Republican Tom Emmer, the only candidate in the race who opposed marriage equality for same-sex couples and a staunch Catholic.
The campaign, paid for by an anonymous donor and produced by the Knight of Columbus, sparked protests against the church.
More recently, the Archdiocese’s lobbying wing, the Minnesota Catholic Conference, has joined with the National Organization for Marriage and the Minnesota Family Council to form the Minnesota for Marriage Coalition, a group dedicated to passing the amendment in November.
Photo: New Yorkers celebrate the law legalizing gay marriage (Photo: Flickr/Zach Roberts)
Anybody that remains within the Catholic Church is abetting the political gay bashing of the world’s single largest anti-gay hate group. The Catholic Church excommunicates one for ordaining a female minister but not for raping a child. What more do you need to know? That Hitler was baptized and never excommunicated? What will it take to make you leave this evil organization?
Looking forward to the proposition 8 evisceration from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Nobody will have the power to tell anyone whom they may or may not marry via a vote. If you don’t like this reality, I don’t mind because the federal court system is more powerful than a bunch of Christian fundamentalists.
Darn Gay Bigots, just not willing to accept anothers view on things. Pure Hate and Bigotry. Thats right gay people. I called YOU a BIGOT…
Oh silly me, I must have missed the memo about gay people trying to take away civil rights from straight people.
A tired old argument there nate. Essentially your saying that if someone is not being tolerant of your bigotry it makes them a bigot and not you. Your a bigot nate own it, don’t run from it.
Thank you Archbishop for standing up for this. You are in my prayers.
I’m beginning to think the church is nervous that the plethora of gay men hiding behind the collar may say, “ok, enough is enough” and jump into a union with one of their many colleges. Wonder if the hierarchy has considered that might bring an end or selling of the pedophiles among the orders?! They should consider such! How does the church’s blatant involvement (outside their Canon law) in civil law matters not violate the long-standing interpretation on separation of church and state? Perhaps a bit of ad velorum taxation on its many properties in the U.S. is in order. Money talks…they’d shut up in a nanosecond!
Aberrosexual priests can leave the priesthood and enter other denominations that are willing to accommodate their “lifestyle” any time they please.
It would be nice if more of them would do it rather than attempting to promote the lifestyle behind the scenes.
The ignorance and hatred exhibited by many on this site is truly awesome. For 5,000 plus years marriage has been defined as between one man and one woman. Anything else is a distortion.
There are going to be a lot of silent priests in the Archdiocese and a few who will speak out against this and won’t be punished.
I’d love to be proven wrong.
“Progressive” Catholics? That’s a hoot.
Kudos to His Grace for proper instruction to his priests.
There’s no padlock on the door of the Catholic Church. If you don’t like what She teaches and think the seat of truth is in your own mind (God help you), then hit the road. We’ll stay behind and pray for you.
My daughter is in a lesbian relationship. I WISH SHE WASN’T. I love her dearly. But GOD has said it is an abomination. I am not narrow minded or stupid or behind the times. This is the great test of Christianity in our day. Eventually people will be put to death for apposing these matters. But life eternal is my goal.
John, I have two son’s that are completely out of the faith….they don’t practice, they don’t teach their children and they reject any suggestion they should revisit the Church’s teaching. Their circumstances are different from those of your daughter but the effect is the same. Both my sons are great guy’s, both are faithful husbands, both are fantastic daddy’s. But I still worry about their eternal desitination. So all I can suggest brother is to pray….pray….pray and trust in His mercy.
Every priest makes a promise of obedience to his bishop on the day of his ordination. Priests do not represent themselves, but the Church. It is certainly not a question of any church doctrine whether a state constitution may be amended. However, it is a matter of doctrine that marriage is a union of a man and a woman. The Church has a divine mandate to teach the truth. When priests teach in the name of the Church, they are morally obligated to teach what the Church teaches. There is no scandal or surprise in this. But there are activists who would like to make the Church change divine law, which it cannot and will not do.
Hitler rejected Catholicism and left the Church. He hated the Church and tried to destroy her. Excommunication of someone who has left the Church is meaningless. The Pope publicly condemned Hitler in his encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge. Read up on your history.
Thanks for the reference to Pius XI’s encyclical ‘Mit Brennender Sorge’. This is helpful to understand conundrum the Church was in at the time. Criticising Hitler and his follows was a very dangerous thing to and it is clear that the pope wrote this encyclical with that in mind. None-the-less….his message was very clear. Please see my reply to Scott Rose.
Yet again, the good Archbishop demonstrates how completely the Catholic Church hierarchy is bent on destroying equality for all Americans and is woefully out-of-touch with both the average Catholic layperson, and the priests who deal with them.
The Archbishop knows that the majority of Catholics including his own priests support equality, so the Archbishop must attempt to stifle any dissenting voices in order to maintain his own bigoted beliefts.
Shame on the Catholic Church.
Shame on Archbishop Nienstedt.
What happens if you violate civil laws? For example if the speed limit is 25 MPH on a country road and you believing the speed limit ridiculous go 50 MPG. Then it gets ugly, you get busted, you get a ticket, you incurr a fine and your mad as X#!Z. But if you don’t appear in front of the judge (if required) or refuse to pay the fine, you’ll get arrested. When you got your drivers license you were instructed not to violate speed laws and if you did what the likely consequences would be. You can’t opt out of civil law. You can’t say, I’m not going to accept that ticket because I don’t like the speed limit! But it’s different in the Church. When priests are ordained they take a vow of obedience to the Church. The Church in this case is represented by the bishop. The Church as every right to set rules and laws and to remind the priests that they are obliged to comply to them in faithful obedience. So what is difference between civil law and Church law? A priest can opt out if he doesn’t agree with the Church’s teachings. If a priest doesn’t like the rules he is free to leave the Church. Since the Church’s doctrines are biblically based, the Church is not free to change them to suit current culture and neither are you. So the archbishops, as the priests boss, is entitled to remind him of his obligations.
Your view that most priests agree with the ‘gay lifestyle’ and ‘homosexual marriage’ simply isn’t true.
Sorry, fast fingered submit comment.
The Church’s teaching on homosexual marriage is clear and is being upheld by bishops, priests, deacons, etc. It is true that many poorly formed Catholic’s support homosexual marriage. However, that does not change Church teaching in anyway. Authentic Church teaching comes from the Pope and only those bishops in union with him. Sense of the Faithful (you refer to as the opinion of the majority of laypeople) is only valid when it adheres to the truth as revealed by God and interpreted by the Magesterium. In other words because your views and those whom you believe constitute a majority support gay marriage….does not make it right.
So the good archbishop is right.
You shouldn’t be so quick to shame anyone.
Your characterization of the Catholic Church is so far off track it’s hard to know where to start. I’m only guessing but from your comment I concluded that you are not Catholic. So here are a few points for you to chew on:
1. The Catholic Church has dealt with it’s child abuse issues, it’s old news. From 1950 – 2010 there were about 11,000 child abuse complaints against about 4,500 priests. This represents that about 4.5% of active Catholic priests were involved. The vast majority of these complaints occurred between 1960 and 1985 and have steadily declined since then. In 2010 there were 10 valid complaints made against Catholic Priests. In addition the Church has paid out more that $500,000,000 in compensation to victims and provided numerous victim recovery services. That is the motivation of ‘ambulance chasers’ who dig up 30 – 50 year old allegations and want to sue for compensation. The Church has opened itself like a book. Fact is…..a Catholic institution today is the safest place a child can be. So you need to update youself. Start by reading the John Jay College of Criminal Justice report, ‘The Nature and Scope of the problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests, 1950 – 2010′, you can find it on the Internet.
2. The Church does not hate gays. The Church is merely upholding Scripture against gay relationships so you need to take your argument up with the author of the Bible.
3. When the Church resorts to public excommunication it is sending a message. Quite frankly I wish they would use it more. Having said that you need to understand that priests, politicians, et al who manifestly, publicly and persistantly violate Church doctrine incur authomatic excommunication ‘Latae Sententiae’ style. Abusive priests are removed from ministry, jailed etc. Their eternal standing is between them and their confessor who acts ‘in persona Christi’.
4. Pope Pius XI ecxoriated Hitler in 1937…..see Fred’s post. Take a minue to read the encyclical, Mit Brennender Sorge’. In there you will find that the Pope said, “A Christianity which keeps a grip on itself, refuses every compromise with the world, takes the commands of God and the Church seriously, preserves its love of God and of men in all its freshness, such a Christianity can be, and will be, a model and a guide to a world which is sick to death and clamors for directions, unless it be condemned to a catastrophe that would baffle the imagination.” I believe this is as applicable today as it was when the Pope wrote it in 1937.
That’s exactly what I’ve done, left the church. Except the problem is, the church is attempting to impose church law into secular society. I left you behind for a reason. Your “laws” are oppressive and outdated. Pray for me all you want.
Calling this an issue of “equlity”…totally false assertion…you are trying to redefine what marriage IS ontologically….what it has always been. I can call myself a couch, I can even get people to agree to it, heck I can even pay off politicians to pass a law stating that from this point on I am now to be thought of and referred to as a couch. That doesn’t, and never will, make me a couch. Marriage is between a man and woman with the underlying act of procreation at its core…it is the most basic element of human society, rooted in natural law, and anything else claimed in its name is a cheap counterfeit.
Thankfully there is a Bishop properly upholding Catholic doctrine.
What part of the Catechism is it that “progressive” Catholics find so hard to understand?
Simply stated, you cannot consider yourself a faithful Catholic and support homosexual “marriage.”
Can’t do it.
The “progressive catholic voice” is not a Catholic voice at all. It is dissenters that are trying desperately to justify their misguided acts as “normalcy”. Homosexuality is not natural. (period). Jesus would have voiced a positive opinion on the matter if HE approved. The Good Bishop is RIGHT!
Repent “progressive” catholics while there is still time.
God Bless Archbishop John C. Nienstedt! Great job. Hope you find the leaker and deal with that person appropriately.
Finally!!!! We are starting to have US bishops do their job. Thank you Your Eminence!
Gay folks are here to stay folks. The RCC is free to say what they want but not when it crosses the line and denies basic liberties like marriage for people who aren’t Catholic—like it or not marriage is a civil union that deals with property rights, end of life healthcare issues, etc.
Don’t worry—you can’t catch “gayness”—folks are born that way. And what they do in the privacy of their bedrooms is their business; not yours. And for God’s sake stop the judging crap. You only drive more folks (gay and straight) away from religion with your holier than thou spewage.
End of sermon.
“You only drive more folks (gay and straight) away from religion with your holier than thou spewage.”
Yes, I see how your gentle hand is ever so much more attractive and loving.
“…it crosses the line and denies basic liberties like marriage for people who aren’t Catholic—like it or not marriage is a civil union that deals with property rights, end of life healthcare issues, etc.”
This is what’s so frustrating about the redefinition of words, concepts, and institutions. Marriage is not a basic ‘liberty’ such as life is. It is an millenia old institution between a man and a woman that serves as the basic building block of society because it carries the potential of procreation. Humanity is composed of males and females, and a child NEEDS both role models to develop a healthy psyche…this is not even up for debate; check the latest studies. Homosexuals have ALWAYS had legal recourse in writing up powers-of-attorney, wills, and other legal means to take care of property rights, end of life healthcare, etc, so your comment there is a red herring. Marriage is no more a ‘right’ for a homosexual than is carriying a baby in utero a ‘right’ for a man. It doesn’t fit with the definition of what something ontologically IS.
You can protest that all you want, and throw temper tantrums all you want; but just because you want something, and think everyone else should be forced to give it to you, doesn’t make it right, good, or grounded in reality.
@Susan, Just from a legal POV, just because a Gay couple has everything that they can do in regards if 1 of them gets sick and/or dies, does not mean they will be able to act on them, I do not have the correct info at this time, but in last couple of years there have been numerous cases where the partner (with whom there was power of attorney, and everything they can do short of being able to get married.) was denied visitation by the hospital at the family of the person sick. Is that right? I mean your trying to say that the legal recourses can stand in place of marriage, because apparently that is all we want, (Yeah I said WE. I am Gay and proud of it.) that and of course living in sin because we *choose* to be homosexual. Those legal recourse’s are unfortunately the best we got, but they suck. In my lifetime there WILL be Marriage legal (Or Civil Union with the same rights as heterosexuals) In every state of the union.
@ Susan—If I ever have a “tantrum” about this topic I’ll be sure and use plenty of exclamations marks.
Allowing gays to marry is not giving me anything. I’m a married heterosexual who has the privilege to marry, have as many children as I want and have my husband make decisions for my end of life care without having to hire an attorney. It’s sad that you can’t see that this so called institution is more than just a religious ceremony/sacrament. It’s a legal binding agreement that entitles said parties to many benefits.
All that said, I will continue to stand up for my gay brothers and sisters and their right to be married. And get ready because most of the generation coming up now agrees with this idea because it is just.
It has nothing to do with being just…it isn’t. Most of the ‘generation coming up’ is in favor of it because they FEEL it’s just, and we’ve so dumbed down our kids and young adults in government schools that feelings and desires now trump objective truth and reason. Natural Law is trumped by “I want” and “I feel”…sad state of affairs…and the mob will indeed rule, and a golden age of civilization will most certainly fall.
Many commenters here are forgetting a very important fact. Society has supported Marriage civilly because Marriage supports society.
All these things that are being brought up as “rights” that are being “denied” same sex couples and therefore is being considered as a sign of inequality are granted to marital couples because marital couples support society and therefore it benefits society to encourage people to make the marital vow. This benefit that marital couples provide society is the ability to procreate (or adopt if some disorder of body prevents procreation) and provide the next generation of said society with the best possible environment to be raised in: a stable, committed household in which *both* parents, mother and father, are present.
Only in a committed marital relationship is this given to children. This is a benefit to society and is the very reason why society supports marriage.
Same sex couples are unable to provide society with the next generation, not because their bodies are disordered, but rather because they are working exactly as how they are supposed to: two men cannot create a child together, neither can two women. Nor are same sex couples able to provide any children they bring into the relationship with their fundamental right to *both* their mother and father. In fact the very nature of their commitment to each other prohibits any children in such a relationship from ever having this fundamental right. This makes the union not about family, for it ignores the needs of the children, but about the adults in the family, placing the desires and preferences of the adults over the needs and rights of the children.
The very nature of the commitment between same sex couples willfully keeps one parent from the child.
Since committed same sex couples by the very action of their committed union to a member of the same sex, are incapable of providing society with the very reason why society supports marriage, why 1)should so society give them the same benefits when they willfully are joined in a union which by it’s very nature prohibits them from supporting society in an equal manner?
2)should it be called a marriage when it is physically impossible for them to consumate the marital embrace?
The nature of the union between two men or two women is non-marital and can never be marital. If a same sex couple wishes to enter into a lifetime commitment with each other and call it a marriage, no one is stopping them. If they find a member of some religious group to preside over a commitment ceremony, fill the Mpls Civic Center to the rim with attendees even, they have every right to do so. But requiring society to grant them the same benefits as a marital couple when they by the very nature of their union are incapable of giving back to society the very reasons *why* society supports marriage, is asking for special rights, not equal rights.
What, comments in the article only sought from those who oppose the Archbishop’s letter?
Calling the Marriage Amendment the “anti-same-sex-marriage amendment”?
Gee, no propaganda here.
And could someone kindly tell me how any group which publishes statements “condemning” their bishop’s speech can be considered a group working for reform “within the church”?
This tainted article shows a good deal of ignorance of, or an intent to promote ignorance of, the reality of what the Marriage Amendment is about and the Catholic Church is. But no surprise there. Both are calling society to have self-discipline for the greater good, something most people would rather not have to do and therefore mock.
I find the Bishop a complete joke. The catholic church claims to be helping so many people when all they do is take the money and try to influence politics. seperation of church and state?? If you don’t want a gay marriage – simple…don’t have one.Equality will prevail.
The actions of the Archbishop serve as a reminder that religion is not a democracy, nor is it compatible with one. The Wall of Separation is not a partisan talking point, it is to keep a hierarchy from taking control of a democratic nation.
It also serves to protect one religion from another. The RCC, for example, is aggressively working to trample the religious rights of Episcopalians to marry same-sex couples.
The Catholic Church does not believe in freedom of religion, or personal rights and liberties. It believes that it’s rights supersede all others. This is counter to American principles of personal and religious liberty.
The argument that marriage has always been defined as between a man and a woman is a misrepresentation of the facts. The States did not start recognizing marriage until the mid-1800s. Legally, there are two types of marriages, religious and civil.
A religious marriage is a religious contract made by a religious authority and recognized by the state through a marriage certificate.
A civil marriage is civil contract which is usually made by a Justice of the Peace or some other civil authority. It is also is recognized through a marriage certificate.
The Catholic Church has no legal or moral authority to define the conditions of any marriage other than those performed by their own people. Their religious authority certainly does not extend beyond their own congregations.
No matter what anyone says, it is ADAM and EVE, NOT Adam and Steve. No matter how you try to avoid it, that is what it is. This gay marriage thing is just a ploy for the divorce lawyers to line their own pockets. Don’t like the truth ? Tak some more of those stupid pills, you will feel better, but it will not change a thing. I say again, ADAM and EVE, not Adam and Steve.
- FIVE DEVASTATING “MARRIAGE EQUALITY” SOUND BITES -
Brief, simple and to the point!
So-called “Marriage Equality” is a clever scam created to trick people into thinking that “marriage” among members of the same sex is somehow a “civil right.” This scam must be exposed. The objective of the “Marriage Equality” scam is not to create a so-called right to “marriage” to same sex partners, but to force upon society the acceptance of biologically aberrant sexual behavior, which is automatically legitimized once so-called “Marriage Equality” is accepted.
1. So-called “Marriage Equality” is not based on MARRIAGE or EQUALITY! Two men or two women do not equal one man and one woman. Get over it!
2. Extremists mock the very notion of equality by demanding so-called “Marriage Equality” ONLY for aberrosexuals (homosexuals), i.e., those who engage in biologically aberrant sexual behavior. All the while conveniently refusing it to everyone else in a supposedly “loving, caring, committed relationship.” What about those who want to so-call “marry” their blood relatives, minors or multiple partners? Aren’t they entitled to “marriage equality” also?
3. It’s hypocritical to demand “Marriage Equality” for aberrosexuals (those who engage in biologically aberrant sexual behavior), yet cynically deny it to all others that, by the same logic, would be as equally deserving. True equality applies to everyone equally! It cannot be granted to a privileged few aberrosexuals, but unequally denied to everyone else.
4. Aberrosexualist (Homosexualist) extremists pushing so-called “Marriage Equality” need to be consistent! They can’t demand so-called “Marriage Equality” for a chosen few, while denying it to those who may want to so-call “marry” multiple partners or their grandmother so they can be covered by insurance plan or inherit her great pension benefits.
5. Americans in all fifty states already enjoy “Marriage Equality.” Regardless of their alleged sexual preference, everyone in America has the right to marry a member of the opposite sex on the same equal terms and equal conditions. That’s what true marriage equality is all about!