Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why Is Archbishop Nienstedt Blaming Gays For The Failures Of Heterosexual Marriage?

This gathering was instigated in 2007 by Archbishop Nienstedt's view that family members and friends who support the their LGBT relatives and friends are cooperating in 'grave evil' and commiting mortal sin. 

Archbishop John Nienstedt on Catholic Church's opposition to same-sex marriage

by Tom Crann, Minnesota Public Radio - 9/22/2010

St. Paul, Minn. — Archbishop John Nienstedt discussed the DVD and Catholic Church's opposition to same-sex marriage during an interview with MPR's Tom Crann on Wednesday.

Tom Crann: How much did this DVD mailing cost and who paid for it?

Archbishop John Nienstedt: I personally do not know the cost of the DVD or the mailing. It was an anonymous person -- who asked to remain anonymous -- came forth and said that they would be very happy to support this project.  (How terribly convenient.  I am so sick of this kind of purposeful 'ignorance'.  Since gender is never assigned to the 'person', it could be a PAC.)
Crann: Summarize for us, the content of this DVD, if you could, please.

Nienstedt: The bishops of the state have an obligation by ordination to be teachers. And we all know the state of marriage in our society today -- the fact that ... four to five out of every ten marriages ends in divorce, the rate of cohabitation has gone from half a million in 1965 to over 5 million couples today. One out of every three Americans over the age of fifteen has never been married. And there are 19 million children being raised by single parents.

So the state of marriage is not very healthy in our society, and marriage is inherently something that involves our faith. It's a commitment for life, a life-giving commitment that is open to the procreation and the raising of children.

And so the church is very concerned about the state of marriage. The church also knows that in this state, a year ago, two pieces of legislation were introduced to the legislature suggesting that the definition of marriage should be changed. And so given that climate, we intend to and have been teaching what we believe is the God-given reality of marriage. Marriage isn't something that we create as human beings. It's already a given from the work of creation by almighty God.

Crann: If I could, I want to ask about the timing of this and this issue. Of all of the many of the issues the church champions, issues like social justice and poverty and speaking out against abortion, why this issue, and specifically why now?

Nienstedt: Well, this is one piece of an overall teaching that we've been doing here in this archdiocese... Since a year ago, we've had 37 gatherings of people around the archdiocese in various parishes directing ourselves to this teaching. And we've had thousands of people who have been in attendance.  (Which teaching; the one that calls for opposing gay marriage, or the one that calls for straights to be faithful to their own sacrmental commitment and stop using birth control.)

Crann: Parishioners, as well as clergy?

Nienstedt: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. These are primarily all lay people. And I wrote an op/ed piece in the Star Tribune in April calling for a constitutional amendment on marriage to protect marriage as defined as a relationship between one man and one woman. Last year, in the Catholic Spirit, I wrote a column on the reality. The bishops themselves have been doing a catechetical piece, which they hope to put out soon, on this reality.  (Which reality is that?  The fake one that uses gay marriage for political points, or the real one that deals with the breakdown of heterosexual marriage?)
So it's just one piece of a series of things that we're doing to raise this issue before our people so that they can be aware that this is a critical question. Obviously, we do the same on the questions of life, on abortion and euthanasia. We do the same on the questions of poverty and that sort of thing. This is the first time we've done a DVD because it's the first time that we've had the opportunity to use this form of media, but I suspect in the future we'll be doing more of that on other topics as well.

Crann: Your position at the end of your statement on the DVD is remarkably like an email I received today telling me about an ad that's been released by the National Organization for Marriage supporting Republican candidate Tom Emmer and his position. And so I'm wondering how is this position not partisan politics, especially timed as it is, six weeks before the election?

Nienstedt: Well, we, and I'm particularly, are very scrupulous about not endorsing any candidate of any party. That's not our position. That's not our right. We would certainly never tell people who to vote for, but the issues themselves are critical issues. And as a religious leader in this state, as a pastoral leader, I have a right to raise the issues and bring that to the attention of my people.  (But you have no problem using 'remarkably similar' language to the PAC National Organization for Marriage which is supporting a Republican candidate.)

Crann: In the DVD, you call same-sex marriage a 'dangerous risk to society.' Those are your words. Why is that?

Nienstedt: Because it confuses the very notion of marriage and the complementarity which marriage has always been founded upon between the two sexes, the man and the woman, the husband and the wife. And by expanding the definition of marriage, I mean where do you begin to stop? Who has the right to marriage? ...  (Not Roman Catholic priests, which is turning out to be a real problem for gays.)

We've been labeled as discriminating against gay people. There's no discrimination when there isn't a basic right to something. And those who have the right to marriage are men and women who want to enter into a life-long, mutually supportive and procreative relationship. (Then broaden your legislative goals and add non procreative heterosexual couples to your 'non discriminatory' policy of who doesn't have the right to marriage. And dump the whole idea of 'mutually supportive'.)

Crann: If same-sex marriage is a 'dangerous risk,' as you put it, in society, wouldn't also divorce, as well, be such a risk?

Nienstedt: Obviously. That's obvious. And it has been a dangerous risk and it is a dangerous risk to our society today.

Crann: And yet there has been no effort from the Catholic Church over the years to outlaw divorce.

Nienstedt: No, the church doesn't permit divorce. I don't know - the use of your word 'outlaw.'

Crann: In a civic sense.

Nienstedt: But divorce is not acceptable. Divorce is not part of our teaching, no.  (Answer the question.  It wasn't about Catholic teaching on divorce.  It was about civil policy.)

Crann: No, but in a civil sense. And I suppose what I'm saying is there has been a difference historically in the secular and civil world with marriage and divorce and in the context of the Catholic Church and other churches, too. And I'm wondering if there always will be that difference or do you want to see the civil definition of marriage be more aligned with your church's definition.

Nienstedt: There is no difference between the civil and the religious definition of marriage because marriage comes to us by virtue of creation and our creator. And so the state does not establish marriage. Marriage came long before there was any government. (The question is about divorce, not marriage.)

And so this is a natural reality, and it's defined by the natural law, what we call the natural law. And so it precedes any government. And government is meant to support marriage between a husband and a wife in order to give it a context for the raising of children and the protection of children.   (The 'good' archbishop never answers the question about civil legislation to outlaw divorce. How stupid does he think we are?)

Crann: You also make a political statement at the end (of the video segment) that you feel that this issue should come before the voters of Minnesota.

Nienstedt: Well, that's not so much a political statement as it is saying that, as other states have done, we need to bring this to the people, rather than have it decided by the judiciary or by the legislature... We need to let the people say what the reality of marriage is going to be. I don't see that as that big of a political statement.

Crann: Let's hear that, if we could.

Audio excerpt from Nienstedt's remarks: The archdiocese believes that the time has come for voters to be presented directly with an amendment to our state constitution to preserve our historic understanding of marriage. In fact, this is the only way to put the one man, one woman definition of marriage beyond the reach of the courts and politicians. (Not the Federal courts.)

Crann: Is that, in fact, a political statement?

Nienstedt: I don't believe so, no. I think that's a reasonable, common sense thing.

Crann: And you're calling for something to be put to a vote. Isn't that a political action?

Nienstedt: That is a political action, yes, but I think it also, in the context of the whole video, I think it makes sense. (Especially if you want the same people to vote for a Republican gubenatorial candidate who has made the gay marriage issue central to his candidacy.)

Crann: What do you want the families who receive the video to take away from it ultimately?

Nienstedt: Well, I want them to realize that this is a very serious issue ... We need to remind our people, our Catholic people what it is we believe, why it is we believe what we believe, and thirdly, why it's so important that we believe it. And so this just reinforces the teaching. As I said, this is one piece in a whole process by which we're trying to educate and catechize our people.  (And the teaching seems to be that gay marriage is somehow worse for straight marriage than straight divorce and it has nothing to do with the Republican party......Moving right along.....)

Crann: There is the issue, as I'm sure you're aware, that in your pews in parishes there are homosexuals, there are gay couples, there are in the homes receiving this, or certainly their friends, their family members, their own children. And what is your message to them? (Don't forget about the gays in bishop's residences.)

Nienstedt: It would be the same message that I would give to young people who are not married that everyone, all of us, are called to live a chaste life and a chaste lifestyle and that sex is specifically meant to be expressed in a marriage relationship, a long-term commitment of a man and a woman, that is able to be reproductive in type, I think they use that expression, that it is open to the transmission of life.


For more on this story out of Minneapolis/St Paul, check out the Wild Reed's coverage.  Michael Bayley, the blog's author, has had his share of fun and games with the Archdiocese and it's spokespersons.  I personally really admire Michael for his persistence in articulating other perspectives of Vat II Catholics in Archbishop Nienstedt's Minnesota fiefdom. It's would also be worthwhile to read about the recently concluded Synod of the Baptized on the Progressive Catholic Voice website.  They too have a fascinating relationship with Archbishop Nienstedt.  One might call that relationship hypersensitive on the Archbishop's part.  He seems to worry quite a bit about the idea that Minnesota Catholics might think PCV speaks in some way for him.  Apparently only NOM and KofC can speak for him.

And he won't speak on divorce because divorce is all about heterosexuals being responsible for the disintegration of their own heterosexual marriages.  It's way better for his political friends that gays be blamed for the breakdown in heterosexual marriages. That helps keep the spotlight off serial monagamists like Newt Gingrich. How it is that gays marrying each other are somehow responsible for straights like Newt repeatedly divorcing is never explained.  Kind of like where all the money for this DVD campaign is never explained.

That kind of thing used to work in the good ole Catholic days--this never explaining  penchant of Bishops--but that's no longer the case.  I'm one of those people who isn't going to buy a teaching that makes no sense and there for seems to be designed for other purposes entirely.  I really want to know what individual paid for this campaign and I know Nienstedt knows.  But more than that, I want to know why he feels it necessary to practice 'mental reservation' about his knowledge.

One of the teachings given by a Navajo elder has stuck with me for a long time because it explains a great deal of what is happening in religion and politics.  He said the last 400 years or so has been about a battle between two competing energies.  The new energy is about the pre eminence of personal choice and individual responsibility, the old energy is about maintaining group control through authoritarianism.  That's what I find so disconcerting about the Church's teaching on natural law.  If it's truly written in our hearts than trust the teaching.  Individuals will be guided to similar understandings.  The fact they don't trust the teaching to work as they say, says a whole lot about the validity of their teachings as derived from natural law. The fact they are disingenuous about logical inconsistencies says even more.


  1. Snark: What about a constitutional amendment to protect women and children from RCC "celibate" priests?

  2. In Iowa, the bishops are supporting a constitutional convention to insert a prohibition against gay marriage. Our Supreme court struck down a law last year on constitutional grounds. Happily it is most unlikely to win.

  3. I honestly do not understand why the Catholic Church in the US is dumping all this money into a lost cause. Iowa is a perfect example. I keep thinking about the damage the IRD has done in fomenting schism in the Anglican Church through Southern clergy. There is something really rotten about this whole anti gay campaign. It's almost like the Catholic hierarchy in the US is operating from fear, and it's not fear of gays or gay marriage.

  4. As long as there are spiritually & psychologically immature people we'll witness this kind of crap from a "religious" like the Archbishop Nienstedt who lies when he says he is not being political and lies to Catholics and the IRS when he says he is not telling them who to vote for!!!

    The deaf and the blind will lead the deaf and the blind. Who in their right mind would blame gays for the failure of heterosexual marriage? That's just plain old stupid!

  5. "It's almost like the Catholic hierarchy in the US is operating from fear, and it's not fear of gays or gay marriage."

    Maybe it is the fear of growing up. Maybe it is the fear to love. Maybe it's the fear of the new Adam that Christ represents, which makes Christ the center and not the Church as the center.

    What do control freaks fear losing the most?

    Control itself.

  6. Nienstedt: " Marriage isn't something that we create as human beings. It's already a given from the work of creation by almighty God. "

    Marriage is something that we create as human beings. The "given from the work of creation by almighty God" is LOVE and from that comes life, and we either abide by love's law, which is not the "natural law" but is the supernatural law of love's creation. That is the given. A marriage with a spiritual life, grounded in love, has nothing to do with whether one is gay or not.

  7. Another statement from one of our "whited sepulchers."
    Who believes anything they say any more?

  8. I married my first wife for better and for worse. We were soon surprised to find that we got some of each, some very trivial and some very serious. In 49 years, we've seen no serious threat up through yesterday posed by the existence, absence, or concept of gay marriage. If Archbishop Nienstedt sees some vital connection between heterosexual and gay marriage, he needs to explain it better before sending out DVDs.

    The real reason for the bishops' emphasis on gay marriage comes from looking ahead. Today, amazingly, heated attention is being focused on clerical celibacy from Austria to Australia. Bishops and priests are publicly calling for the Church, i.e., Pope and immediate associates, to address obvious possible changes. The day after the issue of priests marrying is settled in the only likely way it can be, the central issue on the table becomes gay marriage for priests if it is legal. That's a tougher one.

  9. Colleen, great analysis. There is so much that is rotten here--the attempt to make civil law conform to the beliefs of one religious group, for instance, and even to alter the constitution to do that.

    But the thing that leaps out at me as I read your posting is Nienstedt's admission that some unnamed party or parties is footing this bill behind the scenes.

    What tremendous power to give to one or more unnamed, rotten people who won't even show their faces to the public or be accountable for their actions. Power to alter the constitutions of democratic states.

    Talk about anti-democratic and immoral behavior being fronted by religious bodies that have no obligation to account for their funders and are tax-free!

  10. I know Bill, that jumped out at me as well. How convenient that these bishops are willing to engage in a form of political/money laundering for some unknown person or persons.

    It is truly getting embarrasing to watch the shenanigans of members of the USCCB. They have learned nothing from the sexual abuse crisis.

    Nienstedt and other bishops appear to be selling the soul of the American church for rightwing gain. I want to know who those people are that are buying the soul of this Church through the hands and mouths of our bishops.
    I hope Minneapolis collection baskets are full of DVD's this Sunday--scratched so they can't be reused somewhere else.

  11. Perhaps the Bishops' fear is of having their closet torn apart and tossed in the dumpster.

  12. Don't know much about Navajo thought and traditions. But there problably was some reason the word tribe has significance and it probably had little to with unabashed autonomy.

    A general criticism: For a site that uses the word enlightened, it is is quite amazing and predictable how narrow your focus. I haven't been to your site for a long time, but it is truly a broken record. Not unlike your general accusations toward the institutional church.

    And I too am predictable in my support of the male/female nature of marriage. Based upon you know Adam and Eve. Christ's first public miracle at the wedding in Cana between a male and female. Christ referring to himself as the bridegroom and his church as the bride. Non-meaningful (sarc) stuff like that.

  13. I could actually muster, if not agreement, at least some sympathy for the Archbishop's statement IF I ever heard from him or the other hierarchs even a rare defense of gay rights. Gay marriage? Against the natural law! Gay adoption? Not good for children!

    Fine. I disagree, but I can agree to disagree with you on that. However, I have yet to hear one bishop denounce the Congress's defeat of a repeal of DADT. The Catechism, which they dogear, explictly states that no unjust discrimination is to be leveled against homosexuals. Wouldn't DADT qualify as unjust discrimination? "No!" shout the traddies. Okay, folks, just where is this "unjust discrimination" exist.

    There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that this group to--almost to the man--homohaters.

  14. I know Elastico I am getting bored with these topics myself, but then I'm primarily responding to what's presented by the teaching authority, I'm not initiating it.

    The observation of the Navajo elder was in reference to the tribal devastation wrought by the Spanish. He saw it as part of the lesson inherent in the cultural genocide wreaked by Europeans on Indigenous tribal society. They were being prepared for the next step in human consciousness and that is all about personal choice, personal integrity, and personal responsibility. We do not die, nor are our lives judged as members of a tribe or religion, but on our personal choices and integrity. I'm not talking about self indulgence. I'm talking about flat growing up and being a spiritual adult.

  15. Very little "good news" here that I can see. No joy. There is plenty of real good that is being done by the hierarchy (and others, including trads) in the name of Christ. But the narrow filter of your dogma doesn't perceive that light.

    Anger, frustration, whining and irritation aren't going to sell many new cars unless that is the model you like--a very narrow subset of believers. For me, I will now again fade to black. Good luck in MT.

  16. Hi Coleen,

    do you believe the church should change it's position and start marrying 2 men or 2 women?

  17. It depends. I can easily see blessing ceremonies for infertile straight couples and gay couples. My own personal view is sacramental marriage should be as much about a lifelong commitment to the children of a marriage as it is between the adult partners. In this sense, I see marriage as a commitment to a family, not just a partnership. If non fertile or gay couples want to adopt, great. At that point I would have no difficulty with a sacramental marriage ceremony.

    Marriage should be about much more than a sort of license for sex. I don't agree that any parent should be able to 'annul' themselves from their children, which is more or less what can happen now. If marriage is about pro creation, then by God make the commitment to the children, not the partnership.

  18. Colleen, your phrase money-laundering seems right on target to me. The more I think about this initiative, which has the fingerprints of the Knights of Columbus all over it, the more I realize it's a get-out-the-vote scheme on behalf of the Republican party.

    These videos are going out to Catholic households from the Catholic church in MN. An unknown donor(s) is paying for them. The Knights of Columbus produced the videos.

    And--most telling of all--they will hit Catholic households right before the coming elections. This is pure partisan politicking, of the grossest and most obtrusive sort. Willing to use the lives of a target minority to score political points.

    And willing to use tax-exempt status and freedom from regulations requiring opacity in financial affairs, since a church is doing this. It stinks.

    It is an attempt to manipulate those Catholics who still imagine that the mythic story of Adam and Eve is somehow a message about the "binary model" of gender.
    And who ignore the central text of the New Testament about this, Paul's statement in Galatians that, in Christ, we are a new creation, in which there is neither male nor female.

  19. Videos. Who, but children, are most likely to watch them? Reminds me of those horrible videos against Islam in the presidential contest of 2008.

    So, who are they really out to influence? And will they also be sent via newspapers, just as the anti-islam ones were? We got ours then through the NY Times. And no amount of protesting would change their ad policy!

    Groups are taking advantage of the ad revenue of papers being down. It won't be long before these ads come via regular papers...

  20. Hi Coleen,

    Ok so you support the Catholic church marrying 2 men or 2 women. How about the church teaching that families can have 2 daddies or 2 mommies, or teaching that it's ok for boys to date boys? girls date girls, etc ?

  21. Lots of kids already have to deal with two daddy's or two mommy's because of heterosexual divorce.

    It's been my experience that teen agers will do what they feel inclined to do until it bites them in the butt. Too many insecure girls find dating self absorbed ego driven boys is a mistake. Teen pregnancy is a much bigger problem than gay dating will ever be. Grow up.

  22. As Deep Throat once reminded us: follow the money.
    But where did it come from? KofC? The Repug party? Octopus Dei?
    Its tentacles are in everything.

  23. I'm pretty sure the church will never "teach" something about two mommies or two daddies. That would be straying, in my view, from teaching the Gospel. And they've already strayed far, far from the gospel in teaching bigotry.

    Seems to me the RCC hierarchy could do well to return to the Gospel. Not just tiny parts of it, but the parts that apply to them. And to everyone!

  24. If gay marriage and adoption is bad, and a heterosexual marriage is better for children, then why does the Church allow priests to adopt and raise children? Fr Mike Pfleger in Chicago adopted and raised 3 children as did another priest in Chicago whose name eludes me at the moment.

  25. I agree with very little of elasico'a philosophy, but I think in discussing only how terrible that the Episcopacy of the Catholic Church has become is not spreading any good news. I think that we should not hide from these horrible statements of Bishops but wish this group would find a way to also move on to the good news of the Gospels and of humanity in general. I think there are many challenging and ethical ideas and possible actions that we could banter. I know we have done that and I have much enjoyed it, the bad news Bishops are dominating our discussions to the extent that it is tough to bring in the good news of evolving humanity. May we focus ourselves more on the positive actions we might take. For me this is the best part of prayer.

  26. "I'm pretty sure the church will never "teach" something about two mommies or two daddies. That would be straying, in my view, from teaching the Gospel."

    Hi Thera,

    well that sounds very bigoted of you, and Coleen disagrees!

    She believes that our church should be teaching that boys can date boys, etc. Families come many shapes and sizes; 2 mommies, or maybe 3 daddies, or 2 mommies living with 3 daddies. We as catholics should embrace this wonderful diversity! pretty soon, genders will be blurred, and misogney will be a thing of the past.

  27. Well, Anonymous, we all get tired of this "you fell into my trap" style of one upsmanship that some people ascribe to, right or left. You have to admit that neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female in the Body of Christ is a pretty strong statement for what you derisively call diversity.

    I can't see how sinners, such as gay people and priestesses, are so fully anathematized when they ask to serve. Gay people want to be family instead of promiscuous, but society will surely fail if they do. Gay people want to raise unwanted children, but what a horrible fate -- can't have that. Women want to serve (yes, serve, not lead) as priests, but not by the rules of God.

    Jesus broke his Father's rules when it came to service of the people directly in front of Him. Why won't we emulate Him? Why won't we trust that sinners, drawn toward doing good works in honor of the Lord (a good definition for me and I hope for you as well), wouldn't be led by the Holy Spirit into closer and deeper faith?

    One more thing -- the next time I'm completely right about God's intent will be the first. Our Catholic and Christian history is full of our missteps and corrections, under the patient (way too patient for me) and tolerant eye of our God. Check the Gospels on how Jesus encountered those different from himself, those He wasn't even supposed to acknowledge like the lepers and the hedonistic women. He first engages them at their level, with "Go and sin no more" being after relationship is established. The command is tantalizingly ill defined. He leaves it to them, in the sight of His Father. Would that we would trust God and each other so well.

  28. MJC, nice comment. As to your last sentence, it's hard to trust God or each other when you can't trust yourself.

  29. Colkoch, isn't insisting that every married couple have kids by some way or another really just playing into the hierarchy's (rather misshapen) hands?

    What effect for instance, would this view have on couples that cannot support children and/or simply do not want children in the first place? Not having kids isn't a moral evil you know. Is a marriage without kids really "just a license for sex" or is it about something deeper, like making a commitment to another person as the one you've chosen to spend the rest of your life with? Again, not riding you here, but this seems rather poorly thought out to me.


  30. Kallisti, my idea is if the Church wants any credibility in what they teach about marriage, then they need to be consistent. If procreation is the bottom line, then they need to make it the bottom line and children and their welfare the primary commitment.

    Some sort of public blessing ceremony for other relationships could then be in order. I personally would be far more inclined to support a system like this, than the hypocrisy of the one currently being sold as traditional marriage.

    As for me personally, I think truly spiritual relationships are mutually blessed and God witnessed. Many of those never see the inside of a Church for any kind of public recognition and they work or fail about the same as those that get Church approval.
    And that includes gay ones.

  31. Sorry to be less religious than the rest of you. In the 2000 or so years since Jesus there have been a lot of changes, most of them for the good.

    The average life expectancy at birth for a contemporary of Jesus was about 25 years. One was expected to marry about the same time as one reached puberty. The teachings of the Church were in rhythm with life as it was lived. As soon as one felt sexual urges one could act upon them. Today children reach puberty as young as 11, but most at 13. In the USA the age of first marriage for men was 27.7 years and women 26 years in 2007. That's half an ancient lifetime gap between the natural onset of sexual awareness and social acceptability for marriage. Natural law doesn't apply when nature changes.

    For most of human history childbirth was regularly a time of death, both for the newborn and the mother. Not today in the developed world.

    Even 100 years ago infant mortality was 20%. One in five children didn't reach their first birthday. About the same percentage died before their fifth birthday. At the time of the Vatican 1 most people in Europe and America were still illiterate. The life expectancy of a white American was 43.6 in 1860.

    Lifespan was understandably less for the African slaves of the day. Incidentally the Vatican did not object to slavery. According to Pius IX "“Slavery itself, considered as such in its essential nature, is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law, and there can be several just titles of slavery and these are referred to by approved theologians and commentators of the sacred canons.... It is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or given”.

    Instructio 1293: Collectanea, Vol. 1, pp. 715-720

    Marriage then was a very different proposition than today. The Catholic Church still hasn't addressed the issue of marriage after menopause. Catholics don't want to shack up in their 70's and yet according to the teachings of the Church they should not be able to marry because they cannot have children. Both my grandmothers lost their husbands while they were in their 40's. One granny lived to be 95. She had more than two ancient lifetimes without the comfort of companionship and sex. (It pains me to write this.)

    The institution of marriage needs to be reviewed in light of lower infant mortality and modern life-span, if for no other reasons.


  32. ...continued

    Lifespan was understandably less for the African slaves of the day. Incidentally the Vatican did not object to slavery. According to Pius IX "“Slavery itself, considered as such in its essential nature, is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law, and there can be several just titles of slavery and these are referred to by approved theologians and commentators of the sacred canons.... It is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or given”.

    Instructio 1293: Collectanea, Vol. 1, pp. 715-720

    Marriage then was a very different proposition than today. The Catholic Church still hasn't addressed the issue of marriage after menopause. Catholics don't want to shack up in their 70's and yet according to the teachings of the Church they should not be able to marry because they cannot have children. Both my grandmothers lost their husbands while they were in their 40's. One granny lived to be 95. She had more than two ancient lifetimes without the comfort of companionship and sex. (It pains me to write this.)

    The institution of marriage needs to be reviewed in light of lower infant mortality and modern life-span, if for no other reasons.


  33. Ummm...

    My two comments above were originally one comment too long for the blog. Somehow they were published in reverse order... Sorry.


  34. i just received from Amazon yesterday my copy of "Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes" authored by Thomas P Doyle, A.W.R. Sipe, and Patrick J. Wall. It is both very interesting and at times disgusting at the same time. These three priests have been the real leaders of reform and I recommend this book to all as I have read enough to see it is a very important document. dennis

  35. I am still horrified by this. The comment about bishops being willing to engage in political money laundering is quite sobering. Who is footing the bill for all this? Why can't the money go to support struggling Catholic schools or poor parishes? It is hard to understand. What is behind Archbishop Neinstedt's seeming hatred of gay people? It seems that more bishops are getting out the long knives for gay people. And what about the Catholic Church and DADT? When are the bishops going to speak out against discrimination? Or are they afraid too? I wonder what the gay clergy in Minnesota think of these DVD's. Will we hear from them or are they too fearful of those long knives? The whole thing is pretty awful.

  36. p2p, for some reason there were five copies of the first part of your comment stashed in the spam file. I have no idea what went on there. You make good points about the vast differences in life expectancy and relative ages of marriage. These are facts which are not being computed and they should be.

    Mareczku, The USCCB supported keeping DADT in place. They apparently do not see it as an issue of undue discrimination. One has to remember that discrimination as it pertains to gays is a separate class of discrimination. In some areas it is perfectly fine to discriminate against gays. So sayeth Cardinal Ratzinger.

  37. Funny, isn't it? Gay marriage? Not an issue of discrimination. Adoption by gay couples? Nope, that's not an issue of discrimination. DADT? Not that either.

    Funny enough to make me weep.

  38. Kevin, I truly think what Benedict meant about non discrimination is that if gays stay in the closet where they belong, and everyone practices DADT, there is no discrimination and no reason to discriminate.

    Maybe this works for the Vatican curia or in his cultured world, but living in that world is precisely why he just does not get everyone else's gay world.