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Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 17, 2011

The Minnesota Independent reports on the most recent efforts of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to lend Catholic support to a ballot initiative that would constitutionally ban same-sex marriage in that state:

Archbishop John Nienstedt sent a letter to every priest in the state at the start of October urging them to put every Catholic church in Minnesota to work passing a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

“It is imperative that we marshal our resources to educate the faithful about the Church’s teachings on these matters, and to vigorously organize and support a grass roots effort to get out the vote to support the passage of the amendment,” the letter read. It went out on Oct. 4 to every priest in the state.

The archbishop said it wants priests in every parish to identify a “church captain” in order to create an “ad hoc committee” in every church in the state. The “church captain” is a component of the Schubert Flint strategy used in 2008′s divisive Proposition 8 battle in California.

The strategy mirrors a similar one used by conservative Christians in California to pass Proposition 8 and end marriage rights for same-sex couples.

The online paper links to a copy of the Archbishop's letter here. You may remember the controversy surrounding an expensive DVD campaign against same-sex marriage in the same archdiocese last year. Some background on same-sex marriage in Minnesota here, and an Archdiocesan statement clarifying it's dissociation with a group called Catholics for Marriage Equality MNhere.

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Kang Dole
12 years 7 months ago
"I'm sorry, PJ, but this is nonsense. Do Evangelicals, Muslims, Hindus, Jews and many others not understand the value and uniqueness of traditional marriage?"

In Judaism, one type of traditional marriage is the sort that is entered into after a previous marriage has been dissolved by divorce. 

Now, I do not think that such a marriage would be accepted as a demonstration of "the value and uniqueness of traditional marriage" in Roman Catholicism.  Or do you disagree?

The point is that you can really only get so far in citing the understanding of marriage shared by diverse religious groups, because there are obviously critical points at which these groups diverge radically from each other in terms of what a marriage is or isn't.
Jim McCrea
12 years 7 months ago
Oops, "entirement" s/b entirely.
David Pasinski
12 years 7 months ago
As some have mentioned, I hope that the diocese gets challended on its tax-exempt basis, but perhaps this is more like birth control and abortion issues as opposed to endorsing a particular candidate. Still, I bet the wording has to be very careful.

Once again, the church is choosing a battle that it will ultimately lose - even as some states ban such marriages and, in the rare possibility that that it ever gets to an amendment referendum. This issue is settled and there may be rear-guard tactical victories, but the battle is over in the hearts of the faithful and the nation as a whole.

I believe that the Church, as any religious body, has a right to protect its own theology of marriage. No one is reasonably attempting to deny this right. However, the ''defense of marriage'' has been made ludicrous by the annulment process that has been a travesty for years and, as we know, simply stamps what has already occurred when a marriage dies, even if the Church view of that is that there never was  a ''real'' marriage - whatever that means!

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to participate in a wedding of two men with 25 years together who now married. Next weekend I will have another similar opportunity. My wife and I celebrate and rejoice with them.??
Andrew Russell
12 years 7 months ago
To Mr. McCrea - Are geese monogomous for life?  Just curious.
Sheila Harrison
12 years 7 months ago
I love the richness of our faith. It is our leadership that often
disappoints me. It really is time for change.
David Harvie
12 years 7 months ago
Tex-exempt?  Someone has to challenge the Church's status.  I am with Sheila...love the faith but so disappointed in the heirarchy.
PJ Johnston
12 years 7 months ago
Do you think that every parish in the Twin Cities archdiocese has an altar and rosary society?  What does it say about the Church that it is far more conscientious about militarizing itself over same-sex civil unions than it is about devotion to Jesus and Mary?

Same-sex civil marriage is not even a faith issue for Catholics who oppose it.  That honor belongs to sacramental marriage.  This is just a prudential issue about whether in a non-Catholic nation, it makes any sense to ask people to live according to marriage principles they don't share and which are largely unintelligible to them.  http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/legalize-same-sex-marriage-0
Jim McCrea
12 years 7 months ago
I am a gay man in a 40 year relationship with another man.  As more and more time goes by I have come to realize that marriage as "traditionally" understood is nothing more than divorce-ridder, serial monogamy entered into by way too many people who don't have the sense of committment that God gave a goose.

And Catholics are far from better than the national norm.  If the good Archbishop really wants to defend the sanctity of traditional marriage, he and his ilk would put millions of dollars and thousands of hours into doing something about (1) ensuring that people who enter into this "sacrament" do so with a sense of maturity, and (2) fighting the ease in which "traditional marriages" dissolve over "irreconcilable differences."

As exists now, entirement too many "traditional marriages" are just another term for sham.
ed gleason
12 years 7 months ago
Would not most religious people even if just one partner was religious have a church/temple wedding?
So would not most heterosexual marriages in the City hall basement be either second or non religious marriages? a lot would be 3rd 4th 8th marriages. Has a bishop ever complained about these multiple marriages? nah.. So why are they mounting a campaign about what goes on in City Hall basement? Next to the city hall marriage office is the building permit office. They say you need this permit to add an electric plug or change a water heater. Who gives a damn about those permits except the unskilled. Bishops are unskilled and so they want all kinds of laws....... except laws about mandatory reporting of child abuse.
Crystal Watson
12 years 7 months ago
I saw this today at The Christian Century ... http://christiancentury.org/blogs/archive/2011-10/more-clergy-vow-marry-gay-couples  ...

'Risking their careers or standing in the United Methodist Church, at least 164 clergy and six congregations from Long Island to the Catskill Mountains and southern Connecticut are vowing to marry same-sex couples .... "This is about pastoral care, about welcoming all people, but especially the marginalized and the oppressed, like Jesus did," said Sara Lamar-Sterling, the minister at First and Summerfield United Methodist Church in New Haven ...'

Good on them!
C Walter Mattingly
12 years 7 months ago
When appealing to what Jesus did or said, it is wise to look at what He did or said. On the question of the definition of marriage as existing between a man and a woman and His tolerance of divorce and remarriage, here are His words from Mark (essentially similar words are found in Matthew): 

"From the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.' For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefor what God has joined together, no human being must separate....He said [to His disciples], 'Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery." New American Bible, Mark 10: 6-12.

With this definition of marriage Jesus said what many did not want to hear. The NT tells us he lost many followers because of His insistence on the permanence of the marriage bond between a man and a woman an His intolerance of divorce. His apostles didn't seem to want to hear it either. Through casuistry we can twist His words into claiming He didn't say what He said into that we want to hear, or coming up with some version of Jesus Lite, but this is about as clear as Jesus gets on a subject. This is a good example of Chesterton's maxim: "Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried." And it is reasonable to presume a Catholic bishop would wish to promote the words and vision of Christ. To say bishops failed elsewhere to do so on other issues is no argument regarding this one.

Crystal Watson
12 years 7 months ago
If the Catholic Church really cared about Jesus' preaching on marriage, they wouldn't be selling annulments.

An interesting bit on Jesus' teacing about marriage is in a lecture by Keith Ward, Anglican priest and past Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford.  I posted part of it here - http://povcrystal.blogspot.com/2009/03/jesus-on-marriage-divorce.html
Brian Weaver
12 years 7 months ago
So I guess it would be Ok if  the Jehovah Witnesses begin mounting a campaign with a ''church captain'' in each of their churches to pass legislation outlawing that sinful practice of  blood transfusions for everybody including Catholics

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