Thursday, January 5, 2012

Archbishop Nienstedt's Marriage Amendment Message to Priests: "The Stakes Could Not Be Higher"

Note: The following letter from Archbishop John Niensedt has come to the attention of the editorial board of The Progressive Catholic Voice. Originally published in Archdiocesan Updates (Volume 34, Number 12, December 2011), it is addressed to the priests and deacons of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis.

We believe it is important to republish this communique as the central issue it addresses, i.e., the hierarchy's support of the "marriage amendment" to the Minnesota Constitution, is one that many Catholics in the Archdiocese feel strongly about. Also, we at The Progressive Catholic Voice believe it is important to model a way of being church that is open, honest, transparent and participatory. We welcome your feedback to both our sharing of the Archbishop's letter and its contents.


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Dear Fathers and Deacons,

At our recent Clergy Study Day on October 19, I gave the following talk. I offer it here again for those who were not in attendance.

My dear brothers, I do not believe it is an exaggeration to say that in this movement to protect and defend the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman we are faced with one of the greatest challenges of our times. None of us can deny that the institution of marriage and family life are unraveling before our very eyes due to no-fault divorce, wide-spread cohabitation and promiscuous sexual activity. The end game of those who oppose the marriage amendment that we support is not just to secure certain benefits for a particular minority, but, I believe, to eliminate the need for marriage altogether. This can only lead to continued destabilizing the family unit itself. Both those realities will happen if marriage is redefined or, perhaps better put, “undefined.” Today we can say with clarity what the natural reality of marriage is. That may not be possible in years to come if we fail to be successful now. As I see it, we have this one chance as Minnesotans to make things right. The stakes could not be higher.

We did not choose this challenge nor do any of us relish the confrontation it will bring, but neither can we remain silent in order to get along. We must witness to the truth so as to realize the common good of our society. While the greatest good is surely life with God in heaven, we must, in truth, seek to foster the good here on earth. And we are not the first to confront this task, our brothers in California, Maine, Hawaii among others, have all taken up this defense and have been successful in doing so.

In doing so, we must never vilify or caricaturize those who argue otherwise. Indeed, we must acknowledge that all men and women are God’s sons and daughters. But it is this very truth and the fact that the truth is one and bears no contradiction that the Church and her ministers must witness here and now.

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.

I see our united effort as a part of the New Evangelization, that of building a new culture for marriage. You know, this effort to pass a constitutional amendment is not an end in itself. We began a year ago to host 25 seminars across the Archdiocese to explain why marriage is what it is and why we believe in it.

Presently, I have appointed teams of a priest and a married couple to go into each of our Catholic high schools to address the topic of marriage.

I want the focus here to be a positive one — let’s celebrate the reality of what God designed from the beginning as affirmed in the first chapter of Genesis and that Jesus reaffirmed in the 19th chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel.

I am actively raising funds to assist in this educational endeavor. And if you and your parish wish to benefit from these programs, please let me know.

I thank you for your support. I count on your prayer. Be assured you have the same from me. Together, let us turn to our Blessed Mother — mother of all families, Mother of the Church and patroness of the new evangelization. Through her maternal intercession, our Lady will secure for us that which is needed most in these days — protection, wisdom and peace through the grace of her Son and Savior, Jesus Christ.

May God bless us all.

With every good wish, I remain

Fraternally yours in Christ,

The Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt

Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

48 comments:

  1. How can the "focus be a positive one" when what he is actually advocating is for the Contestation of Minnesota being revised specifically to forbid gay couples from having the same rights as everyone else in an effort to harm and punish them. He doesn't agree with gay people. I get that, but he doesn't have a right to deny them the same rights as other couples get. This amendment is mean spirited, it will harm other people, and the ads that will run will create animosity and fear against gay people. How is any of that "positive"?

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  2. "Today we can say with clarity what the natural reality of marriage is."

    Is the Archbishop speaking about civil marriage? What is the "natural reality" of civil marriage? If there is such a thing, the reality behind the laws on civil marriage would be something about people's promising to be responsible for one another in order to make a stronger society, wouldn't it? Does it make a difference what gender the partners are? I wish the Archbishop would allow and take part in conversation about these questions.

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  3. Comment I received from Chuck Pilon with the request to post:

    Archbishop Nienstedt seems to be increasingly out of touch, apparently unaware or unaccepting of the fact (and our Tradition) that revelation and the unfolding of the universe is ongoing. Jump on Board, Archbishop!

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  4. The church teaches what is required of Catholics and the Catholic clergy with respect to marriage. The church does not claim to tell people of other religious traditions what they must do. Thus the church cannot obligate its members or clergy to take a particular position on a political issue that affects all citizens, not just Catholics. Legitimate disagreement on such political issues does not imply dissent from church teaching.

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    1. This is very well stated. Thank you.

      Delete
    2. Ridiculous. Catholics live in the world. We must let our light shine before all. We believe what we believe is true, good and beautiful for all people. We must not let it be hidden. People have a right to hear the truth, even you people on this site. Peace to you.

      Delete
    3. to anonymous, Take heart in the fact that
      even though you don't agree with this site, at
      least they allow you to post. I sometimes
      try to post to the national association of lay
      catholic site and they block the posts since
      I argue the other way. I like this site because
      it is encouraging to see a site that allows
      free thought. Maybe me an anonymous can agree on that I hope.

      P.S. maybe we can agree on one more thing.
      These anti robot things are getting impossible
      to deal with!

      Delete
  5. "None of us can deny that the institution of marriage and family life are unraveling before our very eyes due to no-fault divorce, wide-spread cohabitation and promiscuous sexual activity."

    Solution: a constitutional amendment to outlaw divorce, cohabitation, and promiscuous sexual activity.

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  6. Absolutely Mary! What good does it do to deny gays marriage when gays aren't the ones unraveling marriage through no fault divorce, wide spread cohabitation or promiscuous sexual activity resulting in unwanted children?

    However, what gay marriage might do is remove another fifty percent from the 'celibate' Roman Catholic priesthood.

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  7. What on earth is "the New Evangelization" or "the new evangelization?" Can I find any explanation of it on the web? Do the priest and the married couple taking up classroom time know that they're the new evangelizers or New Evangelizers? Who's the architect who made the plans for building this new culture for marriage? Will the culture be beautiful or ugly, functional or dysfunctional? Perhaps the time for home schooling is upon us. Or will it be like the culture in a petrie dish that grows and grows and grows. (Oh, I forgot. I don't have to worry about any of that. Marriage is going to be eliminated.)

    The Archbishop is passing out his biretta to collect money for this New Evangelization or new evangelization. Who's giving him money?

    What's going to need a new cultural building next? Now, isn't that a scary idea.

    A last comment. Priests and deacons, be not afraid. Be scared unto death. Let there be no dissent heard from thee or the Vox Populi. And, whatever you do. Go to the Archbishop's next Clergy Study Day. I'll bet he takes attendance. Ellen

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  8. Didn't the GOP Senate leadership do enough to unravel and discredit marriage on their own? Where is the Arch on what has happened in the Minnesota State Senate regarding respecting marriage.

    Forbidding any discussion in opposition the Diocesan position ignores recent world history. One only needs to look at countries practicing authoritarian control over their people to see how well that works and how the people respond.

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  9. Unfortunately, the Catholic church has been helping 'countries practice authoritarian control' such as in Nigeria, where the Catholic Bishops Conference recently endorsed sending all Gay men to prison for 14 years and any member of a liberal religious group (gay or straight) to prison for 10 years. The Catholic Church advocates jailing Gay persons in Belize as well. These are in full violation of statements issued by the Vatican stating that they do not support the imprisonment of persons because they are Gay. If the Vatican allows national Catholic Bishop leaders to violate Vatican doctrine, then why does the Abp in Minneapolis (who has not condemned the Bishops engaged in advocacy of jailing all Gays and removing freedom of religion protections for other faiths) insisting that Catholics not violate his political doctrine

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  10. Separation of Church and State (it is that simple): Catholic church and all other Faith communities stay out of my life and I will stay out of your places of worship. Do what you want w/ your respective communities without imposing your beliefs on all since, after all....there is a Separation of Church and State in the U.S.A.

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  11. This is such a disgusting embarrassment, not just to the Catholic Church but to humanity in general. A clear example of how dangerous schools of thought lead to widespread discrimination against groups of people who are completely innocent. And yet because select groups of people are "different," and or misunderstood, they are chastised, condemned and stripped of their rights.

    Keep thumping your 2,000+ year old books, and contributing nothing positive to humanity, at all.

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  12. Maybe, just maybe the Bishop is simply enforcing Catholic Teachings and Morals. And as Bishop, He is well within His rights , and one may argue must, to do so. Disenting voices not withstanding, the Doctrine of the Church is not a buffet table wherein one may pick, choose or ignore that which may be inconvienient. Please learn your Faith, practice your Faith, and stop attempting to destroy the Faith in order to please the world.

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    1. Where does the Faith say that I have a right to impose a religious view in the matter of secular, legal marriage, on people I don't even know?

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  13. First, let me thank D. Morgan, who cuts to the chase and correctly asserts that the bishop is within his rights, and is being faithful to his calling. I will add that he is also pursuing the best interests of all concerned in this matter.

    Second, let me respond to Carol's comment on "The [Catholic] church does not claim to tell people of other religious traditions what they must do." Au contraire. Granted, some of what the Catholic Church teaches is intended for Catholics, e.g., declaring days of fast and abstinence, the order of the liturgy, and so forth, but much Catholic teaching involves an eternal nature, and is binding on all: Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Though shalt not commit adultery, etc. The former set are rules that have a certain discretionary aspect and may be changed according to needs of the Church, but the latter set are not matters of the Church's opinion, and will never change, because they are *God's* "opinion" which the Church is speaking so *all* may hear.

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  14. D. Morgan said it best. God's laws are our laws, and are not negotiable. God made it clear that marriage is between and man and woman. If you disagree with that - fine - but you shouldn't call yourselves Catholic. I don’t understand why some Catholics think they can rewrite God’s laws. The four marks of the Church - unity, catholicity, apostolicity and holiness - do not allow that.

    And why should homosexuals have a right to marriage? Homosexuality is a illness like diabetes or alcoholism. Like diabetics, they shouldn't be discriminated from jobs, or bullied. They should be treated as one of God's children, and give counseling and support to change their ways or at least practice abstinence.

    As a priest once told me, the difference between saints and sinners is that saints know their sins. And if you don't acknowledge your sins you can't be forgiven.

    The second epistle of Peter, Chapter 2 seems to reflect what's going on now in our society: "In times past there were false prophets among God's people, and among you also there will be false teachers who will smuggle in pernicious heresies....Their lustful ways will lure many away. Through them, the true way will be made subject to contempt. They will deceive you with fabricated tales, in a spirit of greed.”

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    1. Homosexuality is a biological trait. Who told you "it's a [sic] illness"? Do a bit of scientific research before you postulate on scientific things.

      More importantly, how does allowing all Americans the right to marry have anything to do with the views of the Catholic church? You certainly have the right to speak out and say what you believe. You do NOT have the right to limit the legal freedoms and rights of other people because you disagree with them or their way of life, no matter how much that way of life scares or upsets you. Even if homosexuality was an illness, what other group of people suffering from an illness are denied marriage?

      "Why should homosexuals have a right to marriage?" Why SHOULDN'T they? It's a RIGHT, not a privilege. No one has to earn a right - in this country, all they have to do is not lose it by doing something illegal. Homosexuality is not illegal.

      "God's laws are our laws"? I'm not sure what version of God you believe in - each religion seems to have its own version - but I was raised Catholic and the God that I was taught about loved all His children equally and wanted them all to love each other equally and show compassion for those who differed from them. Furthermore, in America, AMERICA'S laws are our laws - every citizen in this country is required to abide by them, and if they do, they are entitled to a full set of rights.

      My favorite of your quotes, though: "They will deceive you with fabricated tales, in a spirit of greed." Here we agree. Supporters of the marriage amendment are indeed trying to deceive the public with fabricated tales - that homosexuality is a 'curable disease', that restricting marriage will somehow ensure better futures for our children, that creating a second class of citizenship will strengthen our society. "In a spirit of greed" is spot-on too - amendment supporters can't fathom sharing the joy of the legal recognition of their opposite-sex unions with people who are sexually different from them.

      Because that's it. They're sexually different. Otherwise? I've yet to hear what makes them different enough from heterosexuals that they should be denied rights in this country. Not denied rights in your, or any other, church - no church can be forced to recognize the love between homosexuals, or perform wedding ceremonies for them - but then churches don't grant rights and aren't supposed to have any influence on them. Not killing and not stealing and not raping were adopted as laws in this country because they make sense, and because killing and stealing and raping actually causes harm to others. Being gay doesn't cause harm to anyone else. It might scare you to coexist with people who aren't like you - but it doesn't harm you.

      If this hateful, narrow-minded amendment does not pass, nothing changes. Gay marriage isn't legal or illegal. Hellfire and brimstone won't rain down from the heavens. If it does pass, we not only will have created a legal second class of citizenship by telling homosexuals what they can't do, but we'll also be telling many churches what they can't do – because many churches DO recognize homosexuals as whole people, capable of experiencing deep, romantic love for another person and worthy of having that love legally honored. If this amendment does pass, the government will be telling churches what they can and can't do. Think – really stop and think – about what happens if the government decides it doesn't like some practice that your church supports and practices. Are you sure you want to get on that train?

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  15. Well, I am certainly tempted to say plenty, so here are some thoughts on what our self elected leader had to say.
    First he attacks. The purpose of those in opposition is, he states, "to eliminate the need of marriage altogether." By misstating the facts, the premise becomes non valid, and therefore the conclusions are also called into being suspect. This is a typical approach when facts are not agreed upon, and is a tactic to inflame those who would buy into it with no particular desire to research factual data.

    Secondly, he attempts to justify. "We did not choose this challenge", and, three other states have taken this type of action. I do not recall that those in opposition have devised a plan to try to get a constitutional amendment to redefine marriage, or to impose same sex marriage on all people in the state. Would it not also follow that if three states have taken some similar action, that forty-seven have not? Would this be an attempt to lend weight to the argument, to make it seem like we're not the only ones doing this; another weak ploy by those that do not want to deal in factual data?

    Now he rises a bit more in anger. He states that he expects all to comply, and a final shout of, "We must witness to the truth." Of course if you have "The Truth", then the other people have something different, perhaps the "Untruth". This then will justify most of the actions that he has already decided to take. We have seen this cry historically bring chaos and destruction to an untold number of people.

    Lastly, he calls on God and Mary to bless this effort, and tries to find some justification in scripture. Almost in contrast to his declared action, he states that, "All men and women are God's sons and daughters". If he really believes this, then one would have to question his entire stance on this matter. He drags out old testament, always a great spot to find some radical view. He goes to the creation story, which has almost universally been declared to be in contrast to what we know factually, and tells us that God created man and woman, and told them to be fertile and multiply. If he read to the end it says, "God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good." In the Matthew reference, we find the story about divorce, and Jesus saying that not everyone is meant to be married. Jesus seems to be saying, there is different strokes for different folks, and he has certainly declared with must listen to our conscience. So God didn't say there was only one way, and the other ways were no good. Man does this for him, and by taking this helping role, violates the first commandment.

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  16. This is panicky slippery-slope thinking. To identify Christianity today with this world-shaking cause of defending marriage against gay couples is a wild misinvestment of goapel energy.

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  17. To Anonymous @ 9:06

    "God's laws are our laws"

    False. Compare "You shall have no other gods before me" to "Congress shall make no law respecting and establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". Those two laws are in direct opposition to each other. The first law is your personal, subjective law. The second law is the law of the United States.

    "Homosexuality is a illness like diabetes or alcoholism."

    False. "[...] lesbian, gay, and bisexual orientations are not disorders. [...] several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual relationships are normal forms of human bonding." from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/sexual-orientation.aspx

    Again, your characterization of homosexuality as an illness is your own subjective belief. Decades of scientific research, however, have led the premier medical and mental health communities to conclude it isn't.

    "[...]and give counseling and support to change their ways[...]"

    Potentially harmful. "The American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation conducted a systematic review of the peer-reviewed journal literature on sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) and concluded that efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm, contrary to the claims of SOCE practitioners and advocates. [...] Thus, the appropriate application of affirmative therapeutic interventions for those who seek SOCE involves therapist acceptance, support, and understanding of clients and the facilitation of clients’ active coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, without imposing a specific sexual
    orientation identity outcome." - Report of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation

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  18. The Church must (yes, must) proclaim the truth about marriage, and its crucial importance in society. The fact that so few bishops, priests and other church leaders are doing so does not indicate progress or enlightenment. It indicates neglect of duty. Archbishop Neinstad stands in sharp contrast as one who upholds the Church's values even in the face of rejection and insult. Other Church leaders, indeed all faithful Christians, should also be doing that.

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    1. Please explain the crucial importance of marriage in society. You don't have to be married in order to conceive children, or to raise them. You don't have to have children in order to be 'fully' married. You don't even have to be able to conceive, or have the desire to conceive and raise children, in order to be married. Single people are capable of supporting themselves on a single income and finding relationships and communities in which they feel complete and satisfied with their lives.

      Statistics vary, but roughly half of all marriages end in divorce. Is the 'crucial importance [marriage in] society that it's providing a ton of income for divorce lawyers?

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  19. Dear D. Morgan, Octavius, and Anonymous: Can we talk reasonably here? I don't think anyone who has commented is against marriage. If it were about strengthening marriage, the Archbishop's agenda would have my full support. But how is it about strengthening marriage when it is marriage that is being denied to people who want it? Can you clear up that question first?

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  20. Sorry, D. Morgan, Octavious, and Anonymous, I think I see your position now. You think there is an ideal of marriage--one man and one woman--and if same-gender couples are allowed civil marriage it will somehow tarnish that ideal? Do I understand you correctly now? That Platonic way of thinking has an appeal--somewhere, outside of this imperfect world, exists an ideal that is the standard for how things should be. But in the real world where institutions are set up and evolve to serve people's needs, don't we have to start with what actually exists? There we find same-gender couples with or without children trying to live productive, good lives. Why shouldn't our institutions evolve to serve everyone? Can you see it that way?

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  21. Every week, Catholic churchgoers are urged to donate more cash to help end poverty, hunger, illness, and homelessness. But they’re never told how many tens of millions of those dollars get laundered into anti-LGBT politics while children starve.

    Now Archbishop Nienstedt is requiring his employees to lie to the public when asked about their own moral convictions.

    It’s time for Catholic churchgoers to demand an independent public audit showing all dollars spent on anti-LGBT propaganda, lobbyists, campaigns, and politicians.

    The Church has never disclosed these expenses to anyone, so it's time the donors see where their dollars are going.

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  22. Your publication of the communique is a very important public service.

    It is critical you continue to shine lights and seek others spread the word on the political polarization of publicly funded leaders as publicly and persistently as possible.

    The bishop, who served in the political secretariat office of the Vatican, is political. He and Archdiocese are funded by US taxpayers and government grants.

    The bishop is a publicly-funded leader and head of a publicly-funded Corporation.

    Andrea Morisette Grazzini
    Founder, DynamicShift

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  23. One the more eggregious misrepresentations of the Archbishop's letter is that "We did not choose this challenge nor do any of us relish the confrontation it will bring" Same Sex marriage is not permitted in Minnesota so there seems no reason to amend the state constitution. The Republicans, then led by a Senate majority leader who was having an affair, and fellow-minded conservatives chose to start this fight because they felt they could whip up passions against a minority the dislike anyway. This man, Nienstedt is cruel and dishonest.

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  24. This bishop writes as a bishop of the R.C. Church and should be read as such. He does not write as a social or natural scientist. Also, he is addressing his priests and deacons whose ordinations are extensions of his own as bishop. He is sharing his beliefs and doing that in a style that has become expected of him.
    His writing is designed to convey certitude; i.e., to express a universal truth that is founded on his reading of the Bible.
    We are mistaken if we look to Bishop Nienstadt to tell us the scientific meaning of sexuality or gender. He is not writing in that genre. His mistake is that he fails to make a distinction between marriage as a sacred relationship and public policy regarding marriage as a legal entity. He also makes the undocumented claim that "...the institution of marriage and family life are unraveling before our eyes due to no-fault divorce, wide-spread cohabitation and promiscuous sexual activity." He accuses those of us who oppose the amendment as having the purpose of eliminating the need for marriage itself. This claim is off hand and without supporting evidence.
    This address is an extreme statement by a desperate man
    Donald Conroy, PHD

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  25. Interesting point about the genre, Don. Though this archbishop-to-priest-from-the-heart-and-bible genre should not be scrutinized for scientific detail, can others who are stakeholders reading it expect it to make sense at all? For example, what does "the fact that the truth is one and bears no contradiction" mean? Is that a trope that goes with the genre and is understood by priests when it comes from the pen of an archbishop? Whatever he says is "fact" which is to be taken for truth without contradiction?

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  26. Celibacy is ruining marriage, ergo.

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  27. Paula, Trope is an excellent word in this instance. Yes, the words of the bishop to his priests and deacons must not be read in their literal sense. These men, only men, may not be informed sufficiently on the mind set of this bishop when he uses the language you quoted, but , I expect if you ask them about the rhetoric, many would read it as Not a figure of speech, but as "truth itself."
    You are putting your finger on one of the central problem of the language in this address. It is not contemporary communication, and as such sends a message that is easily misread. What is this "truth" he is proclaiming? Religious? Scientific? Self disclosed personal faith? A teacher who wishes to be understood is required to tell us what it is he is teaching;how did he go about learning what he is teaching;and express it in a manner that those he wishes to teach can understand.
    Donald Conroy, PHD

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  28. Thoughts on the Bishop's Letter
    First he states that this is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Has he forgotten about the sexual abuse scandal that has and still is bringing down the church, the billions of dollars spent on it and the ongoing investigations? What about the crisis of the poor, the homeless, the hungry amongst us? Has he forgotten about all of the people eliminated from the Medicaid program.
    He states that if we don't pass the amendment we could eliminate the need for marriage altogether, I have never heard that argument before and do not believe that this is the intention of the opposition. Should the amendment pass won't we be discriminating against one group of people
    He uses his bully pulpit to tell all priests and deacons that he expects their help in this matter and if they have a problem with it, he will deal with it personally. Seems like is is being a bully not a Shepard.
    He is actively raising funds for this educational endeavor, where are these funds coming from? If they are from the parish assessment funds then again we have no say in how our money that he takes from our parishes is used. Let's hope that he comes clean and say's where the money is coming from, how much it is and how it is being used.
    This letter points out to me how woefully inadequate he is as our leader.He is not an example for all of his flock and should be relieved of his duties

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  29. Comment sent from Ed Kohler:
    Archbishop Nienstedt admonishes priests that their promise of obedience
    taken at ordination mandates their support for a constitutional amendment to
    deny gay marriages. The threat is reminiscent of James II, the 17th century
    monarch who proclaimed, ³Know I am your king. I will be obeyed.²

    Ed Kohler

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  30. Perhaps the Church should stick to matrimony and stay out of marriage?

    Marriage is a civil rite: it confers the right to file jointly for taxes, have one's lifetime companion as "next of kin" for medical concerns, and other similarly secular things.

    Matrimony is the rite by which a man and a woman, being faithful Catholics, are joined as one in the Biblically proscribed fashion, to procreate and help each other on the path to salvation.

    Neinhardt has the prerogative and obligation to officiate the sacrament of matrimony only upon those pairs of people who qualify, qualification being set out by the Vatican.

    The United States of America, on the other hand, has the prerogative and obligation to engender equality of rights for all: the right to marry is one of those rights, and must be upheld for man and woman, heterosexual and homosexual, Catholic and Hindu, African-American and Japanese-American alike.

    The Bible has as little bearing on this fact as the Vedas or the Quran, since the United States in not, contrary to Bishop Neinhardt's apparent belief, a theocracy.

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  31. The S'trib has a front page story about the Archbishop's letter in its January 15th edition.

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  32. Geez, there are some silly opinions expressed here. More bigotry than critical things I'm afraid
    It really does not take much brain power to understand that the Catholic Church holds, and always has held an understanding of what marriage is. It has not changed since the time of Christ, and that understanding is based on natural law and biblical teachings.
    Some here fake surprise and indignation over the Catholic Church teaching what it has always taught. They seek to perpetrate a malicious deception.
    A priest is a priest in good standing only as long as he supports the teachings of the church he has promised his allegiance to.
    The reason miscreant Catholics choose to change the church rather than change themselves is because they are engaged in sins they refuse to give up. Such faithless creatures ought to leave the Catholic Church, but they know their silly voices would merely dissipate in the wind and they would be left sounding foolish and without a soapbox.

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    1. Allan: even your own statement that the Church has always held what marriage is is kind of accurate. It was not until the Gratian Decretals that the Church was specific about what constituted the marriage bond. Then , of course a point with which you most likely take exception, Reformed Churches introduced divorce and remarriage as acceptable under certain circumstances. You may not include them in your understanding of Church, however many Catholic theologians do include them in their treatment of Christian Ecclesiologies.
      The issue is a proper understanding of sexuality and same sex attraction and the rights of citizens to the civil bond of marriage. Our views do change as well as our practices.
      Donald Conroy, PHD

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  33. Archbishop Nienstedt's letter to the priests and deacons of the Archdiocese of St.Paul/Minneapolis contains a warning. He doesn't want to hear a peep of opposition to the marriage amendment from any of them. Consequences for ignoring the Archbishop's wishes could be grim. What does he really mean when he says that "the stakes couldn't be higher?" Sort of sounds like the Inquisition, doesn't it?

    There are many women religious in the Archdiocese. The Archbishop should have sent a few threats and warnings to them, too, but he didn't. Why not? Doesn't he know that women aren't easily silenced?
    To be "overlooked" or "ignored" is insulting, but we women are used to being "overlooked" or "ignored."
    We don't like it. We're also extremely good at collecting signatures to send to legislators, calling lists of voters, etc. Large numbers of women, religious and lay, will work to kill this amendment. Who needs it?

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    1. No, NanookMN, it does not should like an inquisition. Making a statement like that implies a lack of understanding of the Inquisitions and the nature of the Catholic Church. Unnatural sexual practices are an abomination to God and his plan for procreation. how do I know? God said so. The bishop is merely stating the always held belief of the Catholic Church. He appears to have a moral stability that you lack.

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    2. Allan there are some good points made in these comments which you are ignoring. First is the point made by anonymous about Nienstedt's sphere of influence being Catholic sacramental matrimony as opposed to civil marriage. Nienstedt is perfectly with in his rights to demand adherence to Catholic matrimonial doctrine from his priests and deacons as it applies to Catholic sacramental marriage. He is not with in his rights to demand these same sacramental understandings apply to everyone in the secular state of Minnesota.

      No organized group is demanding Nienstedt change the Church's doctrine on matrimony. He on the other hand, is demanding organized Catholicism change the State constitution on marriage as an issue of obedience to him. That is so out of the realm of American understanding of the use of power it had to come straight from his experiences in Rome.

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    3. Colkoch, I must be of his Roman ilk. The state has no moral right to impose evil on the populace. It's a strange Catholic voice that would choose the American political system over the One True Church of Almighty God that Catholic Church.

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  34. "We did not choose this challenge nor do any of us relish the confrontation it will bring, but neither can we remain silent in order to get along."

    "There ought not be open dissension on this issue. If any have personal reservations, I do not wish that they be shared publicly."

    Hmm.

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  35. Nice coverage of the Rosary Procession last Sunday by MPR and the one lone protestor. Where were you?

    http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2012/05/07/catholics-marriage-amendment/

    http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2012/05/07/religion/photos-same-sex-marriage-amendment-rosary-walk/

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  36. Oh my - so much to comment on here - lots of fodder to chew over. However, I would like to point out to just a few who seem to believe that God's law has, does, and always will apply to everyone. In the same books in which homosexuality is condemned in the Bible, so is eating shrimp. The difference is that homosexuality is condemned twice, whereas eating shrimp is forbidden no less than eight times. If people are really going to say you cannot "pick and choose" from the Bible which sins are still sins and which are not... I only hope they're also separating the linens in their clothing and milk from meat. "May he without sin..." - something about a stone... what was it...

    Also, I like to go back to the idea of separation of church and state coming from Jesus himself. "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's" - indeed, if clergy choose not to perform same-sex marriages, that is absolutely their right. But there is no place in the separation of church and state which allows the law to inflict one religion's morals onto the nation as a whole.

    I'm praying for a yes vote, and for political debate and commentary to begin to move away from "moral" social issues, and back to governing the people and deciding about funding, job growth, social security, the national debt, etc.

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