Friday, January 20, 2012

Archbishop Nienstedt to Priests: Your First Amendment rights are suspended...or your priestly faculties will be...

Remember Minneapolis-St. Paul Archbishop John Nienstedt? He's the one who, with the Knights of Columbus, blew $1 million on sending anti-gay marriage DVDs out to Catholic households throughout his archdiocese back in 2010. He's also the dude who denied communion to some gay students just 'cause they were wearing rainbow pins. Here's the latest outrage from Nienstedt who, unfortunately, is about a decade too young to retire...

Lest his clergy, God forbid, actually think that there's room for discussion on this issue anywhere in the the state of Minnesota, Nienstedt has issued a public warning in a letter to the priests under him that there should "be no 'open dissension' of the church's strong backing of a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would define marriage as a union only between a man and woman." The Archbishop will be sending teams of priests and married couples into Catholic high schools to talk about marriage and he has also directed parishes to form committees to work for passage of the amendment. Even wanting to be apolitical doesn't seem to be an option this prelate is willing to entertain. Writing to his priests, the Archbishop said: "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 the Church teaches. I call upon that promise in this effort to defend marriage. There ought not to be open dissenssion. If any have personal reservations, I do not wish that they be shared publically..."

Nienstedt also sent a separate letter to one priest, Rev. Mike Tegeder, who has spoken against the amendment, warning him that if he did not end his public opposition, his "faculties to exercise ministry" would be suspended and he would be removed from his "ministerial assignments."

Tegeder thinks the Church has become too political on this issue. "That's not the way to support marriage," the pastor at both St. Frances Cabrini and Gichitwaa Kateri churches, opined. "If we want to support marriage, there are wonderful things we can do as Catholic churches and ministers. We should not be focused on beating up a small number of people who have this desire to have committed relationships."

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