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“…shifting the focus of our marriage laws away from the interests of children and society as a whole, and onto the desires of the adults involved in a same-sex relationship will result in the most profound long-term consequences. Such a paradigm shift says to children that mothers and fathers don’t matter (especially fathers) – any two “parents” will do. It proclaims the false notion that a man can be a mother and a woman can be a father – that men and women are exactly the same in rearing children.

“We will have an inevitable increase in children born out of wedlock, an increase in fatherlessness, a resulting increase if female and child poverty, and a higher incidence of all the documented social ills associated with children being raised in a home without their married biological parents.

“Ultimately, we as a society all suffer when we fail to nourish a true, thriving marriage culture founded on the truth experienced by virtually every civilization in every nation since the dawn of time – marriage is the union of one man and one woman.”Archbishop John Nienstedt

Welcome to the early argument(s) issued by the St. Paul Chancery and the pen of the prelate of this archdiocese, Archbishop John Nienstedt, repeated in many Catholic pulpits around the state that all Catholics support the proposed state constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between one man and one woman. The ballot measure, passed and placed before the electorate by the Minnesota Legislature this past session will be voted on in November (the Governor has no say in the passage or placement of  constitutional amendments).

The formal Church hierarchy has been pushing for amendments out of fear that statutes already on the books that already define marriage as such could be overturned either by a court or a new Legislature friendlier to gay marriage, thus abhorrent. Yet another, longer letter, went out over Nienstedt’s hand August 30, pushing ever harder on parishioners and believers to vote YES.

But, as Beth Hawkins has reported in, not every parish under that umbrella has followed suit, to the great consternation and admonition of John Nienstedt. Priests and/or pastors daring to buck the boss have been taken to the woodshed. But the critics continue to flourish within the flock. Well over 100 former priests, some once-powerful clerics, and their disenchanted brethren have formed a group of Resigned Priests for Marriage Equality. And a practicing monk from St. John’s Abbey (outside Nienstedt’s jurisdiction) in Collegeville, Father Bob Pierson, gave animpassioned speech supporting Catholics’ right to vote NO.

Catholic churches are not the only communities of faith backing the Marriage Amendment, but the vigor with which the Church has funded (to the tune of $1 million-plus) and lobbied for the measure over the last several years is one of the most blatantly political incursions we’ve ever witnessed at this level.

This Church’s views are most important to many because its very existence is rooted in the core belief that Jesus Christ himself was its founder (“Thou art Peter, and, upon this rock, I will build my Church.”) Thus is it true that Catholics of every stripe accept that as doctrine. Where many part company with Church hierarchy is in the relationships the Church has defined as dogma: only single, celibate men may be ordained, making women subordinate; marriage is the only state in which sexual intercourse is allowed because procreation is only reason humans were endowed with the sexual function; nothing must interfere with the natural conception of life in the sex act; abortion is murder; and homosexuality is disordered.

That is not to say that gays and lesbians should be driven from the Church. No, they deserve our compassion and prayers, but they must not engage in sexual activity for all those reasons stated above. And they surely must never be allowed to marry. Marriage must never be defined as anything other than as between one man and one woman.

Courtesy Steve Sack and Star Tribune

Such dogma and its resistors within the Church, including former priests, existing priests and monks (some of them openly gay), and a significant number of current practitioners of the Catholic faith are pushing back on this archbishop and what appears to be an anti-gay crusade of puzzling dimensions – ask the parishioners at St. Joan of Arc and St. Stephens and others – who argue that none of this homophobia is parallel with Christ’s teachings or embedded in scripture.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL talks about this particular aspect of the Marriage Amendment argument this week and featuring spokespeople from a few walks of Catholic life to explain why they are voting NO on this ballot issue November 6th.

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post on TruthToTell’s Facebook page!


ROSE MCMURRAY – Mother of a gay son and parishioner at Church of the Risen Savior, Burnsville

ED FLAHAVAN – A Leader of Former Priests Against Marriage Amendment; Archdiocesan priest for 48 years; Head of the Archdiocese’s social-justice agency, the Urban Affairs Commission (UAC); and a member of former Gov. Rudy Perpich’s Task Force on Lesbian and Gay Minnesotans. Married for seven years.

MICHAEL BAYLY – Executive Coordinator, Catholics for Marriage Equalityan initiative of the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM); Editor of The Progressive Catholic Voice and co-chair of the Minnesota-based Catholic Coalition for Church Reform.



Archbishop Nienstedt’s latest marriage-amendment letter adds to Catholic turmoil –

The Thoughtful Voter’s Guide to Same-Sex Marriage by David Morris of the Institute on Local Self-Reliance