Bishops of Minnesota will be attacked in the press, betrayed by their erstwhile allies

You have seen the feeble attempt of some defenders of homosexual acts to equate the efforts of those who want unnatural “unions” to be recognize in law as if they were marriages with the civil rights racial efforts of the 60′s.   There is no moral equivalence.  Don’t be taken in by that sort of argument and watch for it to be used often in the months to come.

Especially in Minnesota.

In Minnesota an amendment to the state constitution has been proposed which would define and defend proper and true marriage.  When the weather warms up again watch for St. Paul, Minnesota to become ground zero for this issue just as Madison, Wisconsin was for the labor/union dispute was last spring.  Activists from around the country will start showing up in Minnesota to create havoc and muddy the waters of the debate and promote the defeat of the amendment.

The Catholic bishops of the Minnesota Catholic Conference have rightly offered strong support of the amendment.  They have also begun an effort to promote grassroots support for this amendment.   Watch for the bishops to be vilified in the press and then betrayed by those who should be their allies.

Quite a few of my fellow Minnesotans have sent notes about a silly letter written to the Minnesota Catholic Conference by a retired Lutheran bishop and head of the liberal ELCA.

Over at CMR we find a pretty good summation of the letter and circumstances surrounding it.

Before reading this, however, you may recall that when a large group of Lutherans met in Minneapolis for a confab and approved homosexual unions, lightening struck the steeple of the church where they were meeting and knock the Cross off the top.

Dying Lutheranism Wants To Kill Catholic Church

Lutheranism is dead, or at least soon will be and it wants to take the Catholic Church with it.

Herbert W. Chilstrom is former presiding bishop of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Chilstrom has written an open letter to the Bishops of Minnesota asking them to accept gay ‘marriage’ becuase gays are like blacks or something.

May I share a word with all of you who now lead the Roman Catholic community of faith in Minnesota?

First, I would go to the wall to defend your right to work for the adoption of the so-called marriage protection amendment. Having said that, I must tell you that I believe you are making a significant mistake.

Over my 35 years as an active and retired bishop I have come to know hundreds of gay and lesbian persons. I have yet to meet even one who is opposed to the marriage of one man and one woman. After all, they are the daughters and sons of such unions. [Puhleeze.]

What they cannot understand is why church leaders would oppose their fundamental desire and right to be in partnership with someone they love and respect who happens to be of the same gender and sexual orientation. They don’t understand why they should not enjoy all the rights and privileges their straight counterparts take for granted. [I refer the bishop to the book of Genesis and the letters of St. Paul.]

More than a half century ago Father Francis Gilligan spoke out for equality [Wait for it...] for African American citizens of Minnesota. Though many argued on the basis of the Bible that these neighbors were inferior to others, Gilligan fought tirelessly for justice for these brothers and sisters.

In our generation homosexual persons are subject to the same discrimination. Their detractors often use the Bible and tradition as weapons of choice. [Lutherans have a long tradition of ignoring in the Bible that which is inconvenient for one's personal position.]

What strikes me about this letter is how utterly juvenile it is in its thinking and how insulting it is to the Catholic position.

Chilstrom challenges the Bishops to “Let me put out a challenge to each of you brothers. Invite 15 gay and lesbian persons from your respective areas, one at a time, to spend two hours with you.”

In Chilstrom’s mind, the problem is that we don’t know and therefore don’t like gay people. If we just got to know them, then all these problems would go away. How utterly juvenile. We know them, we love them, that is why we can never support this behavior because it destroys them body and soul.

It is no wonder that Lutheranism is dying a milquetoast death.

Well said.

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30 Responses to Bishops of Minnesota will be attacked in the press, betrayed by their erstwhile allies

  1. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    AMAZING COINCIDENCE: When the Anglican ecclesial community first ordained a woman a bishopess, lightning struck the Anglican chapel at the University of Illinois and knocked the cross off of the top of it, sparing, of course, the Catholic Chapel standing right next to it. I’m just sayin….

  2. ContraMundum says:

    I take it that everything from “May I share …” to “… weapons of choice” is a direct quote from the so-called bishop.

  3. Legisperitus says:

    “…fundamental desire and right…”

    Right there is the error in a nutshell: confusing “desire” with “fundamental right.”

  4. Banjo pickin girl says:

    I do happen to know lots of homosexuals. The problem for us is mainly that being fallen humans we have trouble loving the sinner and hating the sin or just express ourselves poorly, things get all mixed up and we appear to hate them as people.

  5. Supertradmum says:

    I was living in Minneapolis, Minnesota when some the Lutheran synods voted on accepting abortion-it was in the early 1970s. I was a young person surrounded by Lutherans trying desperately to rationalize the standard of the culture of death. It seems that this mindset of rationalizing falsity into “truth” still exists. So sad and how terrible that so-called Christians follow the stupid politically correct idea that homosexual and lesbian “rights” are the same as racial minority rights. Of course, in England, we have to deal with Archbishop Nichols….

  6. Scott W. says:

    Former ELCA Lutheran here. I’ve told this story before, but I saw this coming back in the ’90′s when me and my wife were synod delegates and there was a proposal to “study” homosexual issues. We were assured it was just a study, but when one lady came up to the mike and gave us the “First they came for the Communists…” schpeel, I knew that even if this measure was defeated, (it was that year) they’d just keep bringing it up again and again until they wore everyone down.

    What we’ve got here is a case of leftists getting an increasing share in a diminishing market. Every time I read about mainstream Protestant denominations, most of the time it is centered around the question, “Why are people leaving us faster than if the buildings were on fire?” Demographic winter is one reason, but the other is that society and media bombards everyone with political correctness, so why bother dressing up, driving, and sitting in a pew to hear a bunch more of political correctness when you could sleep in and just turn on the tv to get it?

  7. jaykay says:

    banjo pickin’ girl: “and we appear to hate them as people”

    I think I’d put that in a slightly different way. Certainly, while a few Catholics may intensely dislike or even hate (and I wonder how they can be called Catholics if they hate anybody?) homosexuals and allow this to be seen overtly, I would say the majority of us don’t actually give this impression. However, in far too many instances our genuine reservations on their behaviour have been wilfully twisted into the appearance of hatred or (even worse – gasp!!) “intolerance”. Our uber-liberal betters in the msm are of course leading the posse on this. Not that they’ve any hidden motive in doing so, perish the thought!

  8. Scott W. says:

    “Let me put out a challenge to each of you brothers. Invite 15 gay and lesbian persons from your respective areas, one at a time, to spend two hours with you.”

    Actually, I approve this challange; to preach the Gospel to them, call them to repentence and chastity and offer confession.

  9. Blissmeister86 says:

    Father Z, it was actually a tornado that struck the church the Lutherans were meeting in, not a lightning bolt. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/news_cut/archive/2009/08/the_god-weather_controversy.shtml

  10. Archicantor says:

    I confess that I see only dubious merits in a public policy campaign by a Catholic diocese on questions like this, beyond insisting that the Church should always be free to define what “Christian/Catholic Marriage” is and to practise it. Do Catholic bishops in countries where polygamy is both traditional and legal embark on similar campaigns to change the law? The much greater challenge for the Church is to persuade persons to follow Catholic teaching, rather than legislatures.

    At the risk of becoming another lightning rod (or tornado site), I would like to offer that the bishop’s suggestion that Catholic clergy ought to meet and spend time with homosexual persons is a good one, though not necessarily because it will have the result that he envisages. As they say in the army, “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy,” and my experience has been that few people’s attitudes to homosexuality survive unaltered when they have family or close friends in same-sex partnerships — namely, they realize that they are not “the enemy”. (The Evangelical pastor and author Tony Campolo has spoken powerfully about this, particularly on that odious aphorism, “love the sinner hate the sin”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWYtkn_8D-g)

    That does not imply that the Church’s teaching will inevitably change. But the teaching will only be accepted as true and life-giving if it is felt to arise from genuine love. And as Cardinal Suenens said of ecumenical dialogue with the Orthodox churches, “In order to unite, we must first love one another. In order to love one another, we must first get to know one another.” For homosexual persons (including those who statistically comprise 2 – 7 % of every Catholic congregation), the Church’s teaching on chastity, as it applies to them, can only have credibility if they know themselves to be loved by the Church. And they cannot feel loved if they feel profoundly misunderstood.

    Most Catholic clergy that I have heard or read on this subject show little sign that they have any real understanding of homosexuality. One would like to hear, for example, some sincere engagement with the varied and complex issues raised in books like An Acceptable Sacrifice? Homosexuality and the Church, ed. D. Dormor and J. Morris (SPCK 2007), and T. S. Haller, Reasonable and Holy: Engaging Same-sexuality (Seabury Books 2009). The former of these books includes a foreword by none other than Archbishop Desmond Tutu. If ever there is anyone who knows what he’s talking about when it comes to race and civil rights, it’s Desmond Tutu; and he sees the traditional Christian position on homosexuality in a similar light. Race and sexuality are not exactly analogous, but there are important parallels that cannot be summarily dismissed. Sadly, most Catholic apologists are content merely to repeat one-sentence condemnations, to fire off a few proof texts from scripture, or to make lame jokes about “Adam and Steve”. They ultimately succeed only in affirming the beliefs of those who already agree with them.

    I would commend a podcast by an Orthodox priest, Fr. Joseph Honeycut, at Ancient Faith Radio (http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/orthodixie/were_not_gay_we_were_sewn_this_way), especially the following excerpt:

    A priest once told about a man who came to see him about becoming Orthodox. The priest said, “OK, well, we’ll need to discuss who Christ is, the Church, the sacraments — “. The man interrupted him saying, “I’m gay.” The priest said, “OK, but if you want to become Orthodox, we’ll need to discuss who Christ is, the Church, the sacraments — ” “Dang it, did you hear me? I said I’m gay.” “I heard you,” said the priest. “But if you want to become Orthodox, we’ll need to talk about who Christ is, the Church, the sacraments…” Crying, the man told the priest that other pastors had either told him it didn’t matter, or to get out. It took the man a couple of years to become Orthodox, but another ten years to become celibate. He claims he could never have made it without the benefit of Christ, the Church, the sacraments.

    The Church, our spiritual hospital, must be open to all: we’re all sick with the disease of sin. We cannot be healed, really healed, without receiving the Body and Blood of Christ. We must never turn our backs on someone just because they are a sinner, and their sin is not ours. I repeat, we must never turn our backs on someone because they’re a sinner and their sin is not ours. God forbid. This is the mission of the Church, to save sinners. But by the same token, it is not within our power to state that a sin is no longer a sin. God alone forgives. God alone is the judge. He has revealed himself and his will to us in the scriptures within the Church.

    The bit about the Church having no power to say that sin is no longer sin is where most controversialists about homosexuality start. They should start instead with “Christ, the Church, the sacraments…” It’s a much longer conversation, and not one that can be put on a ballot paper. But it’s the only conversation that matters on this or any other question.

  11. Banjo pickin girl says:

    I was not referring to media at all I was referring to one on one contact between people.

  12. Ralph says:

    “We know them, we love them, that is why we can never support this behavior because it destroys them body and soul.”

    What a perfectly worded statement of how I feel. It almost brought me to tears.

    If we can communicate with the homosexual from the spirit of this statement, we will bring so many souls home to the Church.

  13. Scott W. says:

    If ever there is anyone who knows what he’s talking about when it comes to race and civil rights, it’s Desmond Tutu

    Unless you are a Jew.

    Most Catholic clergy that I have heard or read on this subject show little sign that they have any real understanding of homosexuality.

    You need to get out more.

  14. jesusthroughmary says:

    Here’s the litmus test of whether “equal rights” have been achieved with regard to marriage, and it’s quite simple:

    Is another man free to choose a bride from among all the women I am free to choose as my bride?

    If interracial marriage is banned, the answer to my question is clearly “no”; I, a white man, am free to marry a white woman only, whereas men of other races are not free to marry a white woman. This is clearly unjust (to all races, including whites) and a matter of civil rights, because the only basis for discrimination is the race of the man.

    If homosexual “marriage” is banned, the answer to my question is still “yes”; I, attracted to women, am free to marry any woman who will have me, and likewise a man who is not attracted to women is free to marry any woman who will have him. The mere fact that he is not interested in exercising that freedom does not then permit him to attempt to justify his unnatural lust for men by calling it “marriage”. There is no civil rights violation here, because the discrimination is not against a person, but against a behavior.

  15. Jack Orlando says:

    [Lutherans have a long tradition of ignoring in the Bible that which is inconvenient for one's personal position.]

    Indeed. And they next step is the “canon within the canon” argument that I’ve heard teachers in a Lutheran seminary advance. In it’s crudest form, the argument is this:

    “The Bible is the Gospel — the Bible alone! BUT not all the Bible! The New Testament is the Gospel. But not all the New Testament! Paul is the Gospel. But not all of Paul! Romans and Galatians are the Gospel. But not all of Romans and Galatians! Galatians chapter 3 and Romans 3 & 4 are the Gospel. ”

    And the New Perspective(s) on Paul — a position advanced by non-Lutheran Protestants — has undermined utterly the Lutheran position. St. Paul isn’t saying what Luther said the saint was saying, in Galatians and Romans, or elsewhere.

  16. SimonDodd says:

    I can scarcely believe that someone is willing to say in as many words that they believe “homosexual persons are [today] subject to the same discrimination” as were African Americans in the Jim Crow era. Such an assertion displays painful ignorance of the plight of blacks at that time, even if we assume that a comparison could be validly made.

  17. jaykay says:

    Banjo pickin girl: I think you may have missed my point. If you’re referring to one-on-one contact I still think that’s too much of a generalisation. Most of us know, and have as friends or acquaintances, people with homosexual inclinations. And they will know we may not approve of their lifestyle but I don’t think that comes across as hatred. If I’ve taken you up wrongly I do apologise.

  18. After that August 2009 ELCA convention I immediately realized that I was no longer Lutheran. I had been a cradle Lutheran, from a Lutheran family, for 56 years. Now Catholic as of February 7, 2010.

    Note that Lutheranism is split between progressive / orthodox as are most Protestant denominations. FWIW, I wrote about the situation in a piece I called the Protestantism trainwreck.

  19. Archicantor says:

    I wrote: If ever there is anyone who knows what he’s talking about when it comes to race and civil rights, it’s Desmond Tutu

    Scott W. wrote: Unless you are a Jew.

    Perhaps we’d best save until another time the discussion about whether criticizing the actions and policies of the modern state of Israel (and of the US in relation to it) makes you an anti-Semite. The man’s achievements and credibility do not stand or fall on that question.

    I wrote: Most Catholic clergy that I have heard or read on this subject show little sign that they have any real understanding of homosexuality.

    Scott W. wrote: You need to get out more.

    Why do you think I venture out of my liberal opium den to spend time with Fr. Z? :) I should have been more precise. Most Catholic clergy who uphold traditional teaching seem not to have much understanding of homosexuality (most, not all — and there have been some helpful offerings by notable clerics, like Cardinal Hume: http://www.catholic-ew.org.uk/content/download/2194/15199/file/Teaching%20of%20the%20Catholic%20Church%20on%20Homosexuality_1997.pdf). By contrast, the priests whom I know personally all disagree with the teaching, though they will not publicly contradict it.

    SimonDodd wrote: Such an assertion displays painful ignorance of the plight of blacks at that time, even if we assume that a comparison could be validly made.

    True, not directly comparable (legally or socially). But we’d have to ask Matthew Shepard or David Kato whether the shadings of difference between the two amount to much. And we’re not likely to get an answer from them this side of the grave. And let’s remember that persecution (real persecution) of homosexuals is a global phenomenon (positively Orwellian in countries like Iran), not just a manufactured grievance in liberal western nations.

  20. Veronica says:

    I read the news about the tornado hitting this church and in the comments section people gave all kind of twisted interpretations (no pun intended). Some said it was the mighty wind of the Holy Spirit, others said that it was God sending a message to those opposing homosexual unions. As somebody already pointed out, they have a long tradition of interpreting things at their own convenience (thank God for the Magisterium!), but to me this certainly looks like a warning.

  21. Scott W. says:

    Most Catholic clergy who uphold traditional teaching seem not to have much understanding of homosexuality

    Ok, then help me out. How should bishops and priests demonstrate that they understand homosexuality and at the same time make the truth unambigously clear that homosexual acts are always and everywhere wrong?

  22. jesusthroughmary says:

    Archicantor –

    I am interested to know what exactly you know about homosexuality that “most priests” don’t know, and why that is relevant to their acceptance or rejection of Catholic doctrine on the matter.

  23. Scott W. says:

    I am interested to know what exactly you know about homosexuality that “most priests” don’t know, and why that is relevant to their acceptance or rejection of Catholic doctrine on the matter.

    Exactly. If ever I am stopped for speeding (Heaven forbid), I’ll ask the cop if he truly understands speeders and see how that works.

  24. Archicantor says:

    Scott W., a last thought before bed!

    I would have thought that the high suicide rate among gay teenagers would be enough to make us at least admit that traditional approaches have been inadequate. My initial post suggested something of a way forward (including a renewed focus on the individual’s relationship with Christ, the Church, and the sacramental life). I also indicated that I think the Minnesota approach is probably “cart before horse”. Indeed, the Catholic ideal of marriage is already so vastly removed from the secular understanding of the institution that for the Church now to “defend” it seems very strange indeed. By contrast, there are a few famous contemporary examples of gay couples who, though they have taken advantage of the legal benefits offered in a civil partnerships, nevertheless remain chaste “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven”. It looks like a real slap in their faces to say that what passes for legal marriage today (and all that it now commonly includes: divorce, remarriage, contraception, “unnatural” sexual practices, IVF, selective reduction…) is automatically more praiseworthy than the path they have followed.

    Your driving analogy isn’t exactly on point, but it’s got potential. Think of it this way: the summary teaching you proposed (“always and everywhere wrong”) is like the speed limit, which the Church prominently posts for all to see. We’re all drivers on the road of life, all trying to make it to the same destination. But homosexual persons have to take a winding side road, with no maps, and they’ve been issued with British right-hand-drive cars. I suppose one could respond to the inevitable wrong turns and crashes by handing out more and more tickets. But wouldn’t it be better to start with some driving lessons from British instructors and a good map of the different route?

    That’s what so many Catholic apologists miss — or so it seems to me. To be gay is about more than the sum total of your genital activity, so being Catholic and gay will be more than just continence and willpower. If a gay Catholic aspires to chastity, that’s going to mean a different path in life, one that needs different kinds of support (including intimate friendships). There is good stuff out there (like the EnCourage Trust in the UK), but it is too often drowned out by the “traffic cops’ whistles”.

    Metropolitan Kallistos relates a story of the English historian Thomas Carlyle, who was complaining bitterly to his mother one day about the length of the sermons he had to endure Sunday by Sunday. He said that if he were the preacher, he would say no more than this: “Good Christian people, you know what to do. Now go and do it!” To which his mother replied, “Aye, Thomas. But would you not also tell them how?”

  25. Scott W. says:

    There is good stuff out there (like the EnCourage Trust in the UK

    That more than anything tells me where you are coming from and it looks like we are on the exact same page but just missed each other. My problem was the sweeping generalizations about traditional Catholics which I don’t find to be the case at all. Sure, you get the off-color combox quip, but when you go to actual faithful public Catholics of whom you can find out where they live, they say very similar things to what you do. Most praise and recommend the NY outfit Courage to which EnCourage Trust links. Are you in the UK? If so, perhaps part of the confusion is that in U.S. we have a number of false Catholic homosexual ministries. That is, ones that bleat about compassion and acceptance, but are conspicously silent about chastity.

  26. Supertradmum says:

    Banjo picking girl’
    I have been evangelizing homosexuals through day to day positive and loving contact for a long time. Of course we should do this, if God puts these people in our lives. However, there is a huge difference between loving the person and being objective about the sin. Sin has no rights or privileges. The use of civil rights language with regard to gay and lesbian lifestyles is an evil of propaganda. It would as if we were allowing civil rights for polygamy, or child marriage. One can separate the person from the sin and we should. But, we are called to bring the Truth into the world. This is a hard, and mostly, thankless task of endurance, prayer and fasting. We cannot fudge on the reality of sin, however, as we would be complicit in sin, by approval.

  27. Supertradmum says:

    And, may I add, that we need to be very careful in language. If a person sins in adultery, and then repents and sins no more, is he an adulterer? If a woman has an abortion and repents, is she always a murderer? No, and the problem is that many want to see homosexuality as a state, which it is not. It is a disordered life-style which involves the Cross, meaning, celibacy for some, healing and even good heterosexual marriages for others. Modern gay and lesbian propaganda, starting a long time ago, has soften the brains of most people into accepting homosexuality as a normal state of being. There are other books on this, but here is one which may be helpful: “The Agenda: The Homosexual Plan to Change America”. However, the single, most important book on all of this is “After the Ball” by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen. All adult Catholics should be aware of the points in this book regarding changing the attitudes and laws in America and elsewhere. Here are the main points: talk about gays and gayness as loudly and as often as possible;portray gays as victims;give homosexual protectors a just cause;make gays look good;make the victimizers look bad;get funds from corporate America. This summary is from Focus on the Family. And as to the lgtb groups, they have succeeded.

  28. Banjo pickin girl says:

    As Archicantor realizees, big mistake is in thinking that sin means anything to secular people. That is why Christians fail in this area, as in so many others.

    The reason that sin is meaningless to them is because they feel that God (who doesn’t really exist anyway) can’t possibly love them. I have felt the same way for other reasons.

    Think deeply about this, getting rid of your preconceptions. “Evangelizing” isn’t going to work unless you can be a reservoir of the Holy Spirit.

    Archicantor, unfortunately, nobody cares about suicide “rates.” That is a number that is easily ignored, like all the other statistics of humanity. Nobody sees the faces before the suicide. Nobody sees the loneliness and tears.

  29. Supertradmum says:

    Banjo picking girl,

    If we are Baptized and Confirmed, practicing our Faith on a daily basis, praying, going to Communion daily, fasting, going to frequent Confession, praying some more, doing penance, offering up suffering, and trusting in the power of God, and hopefully, with a good spiritual director, we are full of the Holy Spirit, and in fact, we share in the Indwelling of the Trinity. This is our Faith and this is all part of the New Evangelization. Read St. Josemaria Escriva for encouragement. All is possible to God. Be of good cheer, and Christ will go into the world with you.

  30. jesusthroughmary says:

    By contrast, there are a few famous contemporary examples of gay couples who, though they have taken advantage of the legal benefits offered in a civil partnerships, nevertheless remain chaste “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven”.

    Seems odd to refer to such a pairing as a “gay couple”. Certainly it’s no justification for accepting civil unions or gay marriages as legitimate, for one could just as easily enter into such an agreement with a woman using the existing social structure.