Life is a Mystery

22 September 2010

Catholic Archbishop Campaigns Against Gays and the Poor

I am a Roman Catholic. There are times, like today, when I really wonder why. Again and again I shake my head in shame and frustration at the message coming from my leaders. I guess I bother because I don’t believe they are the church, rather we, the people of God, are the church. While I listen to and consider what my leaders say, I also know that as a faithful catholic I can also disagree and be part of a church that moves away from their bitter ways. But I need your help, I think we now have to take an action together, as the people of God, to let our church know they are on the wrong path.

Today I read about our Archbishop John Nienstedt’s plans to send a DVD to over 800,000 400,000 catholics in all Minnesota parishes to “rally the troops” against gay marriage in this election year.

Think about that. Whether you support or oppose gay marriage, I suggest that as a catholic Minnesotan this is offensive. There is only one race where gay marriage is even an issue this year: the race for governor. Mark Dayton and Jack Horner support gay marriage, Tom Emmer opposes it. But this is a fringe issue, the real issues in Minnesota as in most states is our budget. How will we trim? How will we raise revenue? The answers to these questions are life and death issues for some, especially the poor. Our candidates differ drastically on these issues too, and the candidate opposed to gay marriage is also opposed to extending many services to the poor.

Our Archbishop is telling us to make a decision based on a single fringe issue when it could cost us the opportunity to care for the most fragile and vulnerable in our society. Is this really what the gospel calls you to do?

I don’t really care to convince you one way or the other right now about the election, though I do have strong opinions and feel free to ask me or read the rest of my blog to see them. But I do want to convince you to stand up and tell the Archbishop that this is an offensive use of his pulpit. Return the DVD.

Here’s what I suggest. If you get this DVD in the mail, take it to church and put it in the basket at collection time instead of a financial contribution. Attach your envelope, if you like, or don’t. But let your parish and your Archbishop know that you are offended at a church that turns its backs on the poor in order to “rally the troops” around an issue that we can take up in many other venues.

Give the DVD back to the Archbishop in the collection plate. Make a contribution that really says something this week.

Archbishop John Nienstedt

3 Responses to “Catholic Archbishop Campaigns Against Gays and the Poor”

adamjcopeland / 27 September 2010 / 1:26pm

Hey Eric. I follow Mary’s blog which put the link to this post, which I used in a Christian Century blog post. So, well, thanks:

Bliss / 29 September 2010 / 7:29am

Mr. Celeste,
I would encourage you to read the USCCB document on Faithful Citizenship. As our bishops make clear, all issues are important in an election, but some, especially the sanctity of human life and the protection of marriage, are more important than others.

Eric / 30 September 2010 / 3:01pm

I took Bliss’ advice and read the USCCB document, I recommend you do to. I plan to blog about it later, but briefly: I think it makes a case against what Archbishop Nienstedt is doing with this DVD. Or at a minimum it asks me to think and make up my own mind about these priorities.

We just got the DVD today. We plan to use a Sharpie pen to write “serve the poor” on the shiny data side of the disk and turn it in to the collection plate as our contribution next Sunday. Please join us.

Eric Celeste / Saint Paul, Minnesota / 651.323.2009 /