Minnesota is ground zero right now for defense of true marriage.
The Church and right thinking people (in the matter of marriage) have a steep hill to ascend. The mainstream media is in control of the “topics” (a technical term from rhetoric), the matters we discuss and how and when we discuss them. The MSM effectively controls the conversation and even the popular imagination in regard to homosexual behavior. The MSM promotes homosexuality as if it were normal. The Church can barely get a toe hold on the edge of the hill in this matter.
I read a story HERE that, on American TV:
The number of gay and bisexual characters on scripted broadcast network TV is at its highest-ever level in the season ahead, according to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. The total on cable television is also going up.
The 17th annual “Where We Are on TV” report, released Friday, found that 4.4 percent of actors appearing regularly on prime-time network drama and comedy series during the 2012-13 season will portray lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender characters. That is up from 2.9 percent in 2011, which saw a dip in what had been a growing annual trend.
This is purposeful. They are trying to change how people think.
The Church cannot compete with the MSM in a head-to-head struggle with the MSM. We are not without resources and paths to follow, but I wonder how many leaders in the Church have the will to follow them. We have the promise of the Lord that Hell would not prevail. He did not promise that Hell would not prevail in the USA.
Archbp. Neinstedt recently did some Q&A by email with the press from Rome. HERE.
With that as a preamble, here is an article from the STrib about my native place. Note especially the beginning and the end, with my comments:
On a cool April evening, over dinner and drinks, [?!? Why this detail? You’ll see!] Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt gathered a group of non-Catholic clergy leaders at his St. Paul home to begin forging an alliance to persuade Minnesota voters to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. [Some offer that if a state can define marriage then a state can redefine marriage. Nevertheless, let this amendment pass.]
“He’s reached out to us and we’ve reached back to him,” said Carl Nelson, president of Transform Minnesota, a network of nearly 160 evangelical churches in Minnesota.
Working aggressively behind the scenes, the 65-year-old Nienstedt has emerged as a key financial and political force for passage of the marriage amendment, which will be on the Nov. 6 ballot and is the most contentious issue in the state this election season. [Catholic leaders, the Church’s shepherds, have the right to speak in the public square.]
He has committed more than $650,000 in church money, stitched together a coalition [So, that term “church money” is vague.] of leaders from other faiths and exerted all his power within the church to press Minnesota’s million-plus Catholics to back him.
“We wouldn’t have gotten very far without him,” said Frank Schubert, campaign manager for Minnesota for Marriage, the lead group pushing the amendment. “What the archbishop is doing in Minnesota is what the pope asked him to do. It’s hard to overstate his importance.”
But Nienstedt’s central role in the campaign has also brought blistering criticism from the faithful. [Not just criticism, but “blistering” criticism. LOL!]
“I just see that this is terrible. This is not how Christ would have spent this money,” said Pauline Cahalan, 67, a lifelong Catholic from Roseville. [I submit that Pauline has no idea how Christ would have spent money.]
“It’s very concerning to me when someone says you have to think like I tell you to think.” [Again, Pauline hasn’t a clue.]
Nienstedt strongly defended his stance in a written response to Star Tribune questions last week. He said he sees no problem enshrining a religious belief about marriage in the state Constitution.
“Marriage defined as a union between one man and one woman is a reality that predates any government or religious denomination,” Nienstedt said. “Marriage is meant for children and children flourish best with a mother and a father.”
When asked whether a loyal Catholic could vote against the amendment, Nienstedt said: “It would be difficult to comprehend how a person could not believe that marriage is anything but a union between one man and one woman. On this point, Catholic teaching is clear.” [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]
The Vatican is keeping a close eye on the outcome of the marriage amendment vote. In March, Pope Benedict told Minnesota bishops visiting in Rome that the preservation of traditional marriage must be a top priority. Bishops who fought to uphold the definition of marriage in other states have been rewarded with promotions. [Watch the cheap shot now…] For an ambitious archbishop, the marriage amendment offers the potential for advancement in the Catholic hierarchy.
The political fight has pushed Nienstedt onto the campaign trail. Last month he joined nearly 40 evangelical and other leaders on the steps of the State Capitol to make a public appeal for the amendment. [The “campaign trail”? It is a 15 minute walk from the archdiocesan chancery and residence to the steps of the Minnesota capitol! But the writer, who just suggested that Nienstedt is “ambitious”, is framing this in political terms.]
“I explain and defend the teaching of the Church because I have been ordained to do so and I believe those teachings with all of my heart,” he said.
Clear priority for years
Nienstedt is not a new disciple to the traditional marriage campaign. In 2006, as bishop of the diocese of New Ulm, he mobilized Catholics to send postcards to lawmakers urging them to support a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
Not long after he was promoted to archbishop in 2008, Nienstedt ordered an end to the gay pride prayer service at St. Joan of Arc Church in Minneapolis. Before the 2010 election, he led a move to send DVDs opposing same-sex marriage to 400,000 Catholics in Minnesota, in which he gave a six-minute introduction.
Jason Adkins, executive director for the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy voice of the Catholic Church, said Nienstedt’s campaign sprang from a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex sexual activity and “gave tremendous impetus to the movement to redefine marriage throughout the country.”
Schubert, a longtime political strategist who has won marriage-related campaigns in California and other states, said he first met Nienstedt in 2010. Same-sex marriage opponents were worried at the time that the DFL-controlled Legislature was going to take a run at the state’s marriage laws. Activists contacted the National Organization for Marriage, a group Schubert was working with. The group reached out to Nienstedt and found an ally.
Nienstedt worked with Schubert to produce the DVDs and to put his views in writing. In a December letter to clergy, Nienstedt wrote that “the institution of marriage and family life are unraveling before our very eyes due to no-fault divorce, widespread cohabitation and promiscuous sexual activity.” Amendment opponents, he said, seek “to eliminate the need for marriage altogether.”
Many Catholics have welcomed hs activism.
“I am glad he is taking this particular role because marriage is in crisis,” said the Rev. Thomas Dufner, [A friend of many years and great priest.] pastor of Church of the Epiphany in Coon Rapids, one of the largest Catholic parishes in the Twin Cities. “His voice was the first to stand out.”
But others have rebelled. Protesters have sent the DVDs back to the archdiocese. The church should be fighting poverty, not engaging in secular politics, some say. Parents of gay children have appealed for conciliation. [We have to find a way to stress the Church’s moral teaching in this regard with an ear tuned to how it may sound to people who have loved one’s with same-sex attractions. They have a hard time reasoning when it comes to this topic.]
Undeterred by the criticism, Nienstedt has raised the stakes. To a mother who pleaded for acceptance for her gay child, he wrote: “I urge you to reconsider the position that you expressed. … Your eternal salvation may well depend upon a conversation of heart on this topic.” [OORAH! Well… that makes the stakes rather high, doesn’t it.]
To clergy, he issued orders that no “open dissension” would be allowed. He wrote one outspoken priest, the Rev. Mike Tegeder, that if he persisted, “I will … remove you from your ministerial assignments.” [Why this dimwit, Tegeder, wasn’t suspended YEARS ago I cannot fathom. Perhaps it is because everything he writes demonstrates that he must have everything explained to him several dozen times. Had I been Archbishop….]
“He silenced his priests under the order of obedience,” said Ed Flahavan, a member of Former Priests for Marriage Equality, a group that went public in May with the names of 80 former Minnesota Catholic priests against the amendment. [Emphasis on “former” – ergo – Who gives a damn what they think?] “It’s the first time in my experience or knowledge that kind of blanket order has been given” in this archdiocese.
Individual Catholics have seen their parishes directed to form committees to work for passage of the amendment. The archdiocese also appointed married couples to talk up marriage at Catholic high schools. Nienstedt asked priests to recite a “marriage prayer” during mass.
But thousands of Minnesota Catholics angered by the church’s campaign have joined the opposition, said the Rev. Grant Stevensen, faith leader for Minnesotans United For All Families, [What a slithery name.] the lead group working to defeat the amendment. Signs proclaiming “Another Catholic Voting No” sprouted on lawns.
One priest who spoke on condition on anonymity [coward] because he feared censure by Nienstedt said he’s concerned about the “massive amount of resources” the archbishop has spent on the marriage amendment.
“There are some priests for whom he is a wonderful crusading figure,” the priest said. But on the other hand, he said, “The fact that the archbishop seems to present this way of voting as a loyalty test is very problematic to other priests.” [I remind that craven priest that before he was ordained he put his hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Church’s moral teaching.]
‘More than anybody’
Nienstedt is not the first or only U.S. bishop to combat same-sex marriage. But in many ways, “Nienstedt’s done more than anybody,” said Jamie Manson, [A lesbian with the coveted MDiv from Yale, who was “mentored” by Margaret Farley] who writes about gender and sexual orientation issues for the National Catholic Reporter. [aka Fishwrap.] “No one has been more public … and has used quite as many strategies as Nienstedt has.”
Manson noted that U.S. bishops who have recently fought against same-sex marriage — including Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone in San Francisco, Archbishop William Lori in Baltimore and Archbishop Charles Chaput in Philadelphia — won promotions afterward. Nienstedt would be well-positioned for promotion to a larger diocese, she said. [Again, the insinuation of ambition.]
“Clearly, [perhaps to her bemuddled mind] there’s a precedence here. There’s a reward system at work,” Manson said.
State Rep. John Lesch echoed that sentiment at a Friday campaign event for Catholics opposed to the marriage amendment.
“This archbishop has done his best to make a name for himself making this a political issue,” said Lesch, a Catholic DFLer from St. Paul. [It is NOT, at root, a political issue.] “That rift will take a long time to heal. Unfortunately, I think many members of the flock here in Minnesota will just wait until that bishop goes away, and then we can begin to heal.” [Boo hoo! *sniff*]
The Rev. Michael Becker, a friend to Nienstedt and rector at St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, said Nienstedt’s goal is clear and simple: “to protect marriage and family life.”
“Whether the amendment passes or not, the Vatican will view Archbishop Nienstedt with gratitude, that he is a shepherd that leads the flock … to truth and love,” Becker said. [This was my argument from the very beginning of this controversy. Whether or not the amendment passes, the Catholic Church must must must take part in the fight and, once into the fight, not step back a single step, not slow down, not ease up one bit. Only by fighting hard to the very end the Church retains her moral capital.]
“If the Vatican chooses to appreciate what he’s doing for marriage and give him another office in another archdiocese, they may do that. That’s not motivating him, not in the least.”
Nienstedt said he finds it “regrettable” that people attribute ulterior motives to his advocacy on the marriage issue. He said his commitment is deeply held and not part of any political maneuvering for promotion within the church.
“I do not see myself going to another diocese,” he said. “I believe I have already passed the age for doing so.” [And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the article ends: on the topic of Neinstedt’s supposed ambition. Given that people scan the beginning and the end of articles, that is how the MSM cleverly guides the “topics”. We begin with a description of Nienstedt forging a coalition “over drinks” and end with how ambitious he is.]
Say a prayer for Archbishop Nienstedt and for the success of the Marriage Amendment in Minnesota.
Since hardly anyone is undecided about this issue, everything… everything… depends on getting out the vote in favor of the amendment.