Monday, December 19, 2011

To What Traditional Family Is Archbishop Nienstedt Referring?

Too bad for Archbishop Nienstedt, but this is not the traditional kind of family he wants to defend.

Here is the prayer that Archbishop Nienstedt is requesting be read at Masses in the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St Paul.  It's his idea of calling on God to defend traditional marriage from gays horning in on the idea.  The man seems to me to have a real problem with gays, or...... in his ability to find a different issue on which to advance his career for the red gallero.  Abortion, after all,  is pretty much used up.
Heavenly Father,
Through the powerful intercession of the Holy Family, grant to this local Church the many graces we need to foster, strengthen, and support faith-filled, holy marriages and holy families. (Problem here is Jesus had a step father and was conceived of an unwed mother.  In it's time, neither situation was considered 'holy' or particularly traditional.)
May the vocation of married life, a true calling to share in your own divine and creative life, be recognized by all believers as a source of blessing and joy, and a revelation of your own divine goodness. (Nothing here to preclude gays from sharing in the blessings and joy and revelation of God's divine goodness.)
Grant to us all the gift of courage to proclaim and defend your plan for marriage, which is the union of one man and one woman in a lifelong, exclusive relationship of loving trust, compassion, and generosity, open to the conception of children. (No.  Marriage has not always been this way. It's a fairly recent invention.  King David had some fifty wives, (plus one serious male lover named Jonathon.)  Jesus had no wives, and His mother Mary had a husband with whom she was never open to the conception of children. I am seriously not getting how the Holy Family has anything to do with Nienstedt's notion of the traditional family.)
We make our prayer through Jesus Christ, who is Lord forever and ever.  (But unmarried for ever and ever.)


Seriously, I think there are times cats and dogs make more sense to me than some Catholic Archbishops.  And cats and dogs are not nearly so duplicitous.


  1. Once again a Bishop who believes in a church that controls rather than one with faith, hope and charity! dennis

  2. Funny how the obvious escapes them (the bishops) in their attempts to profess orthodoxy.

    Why are people named Anonymous so hateful?

  3. Sorry folks, I had to delete a series of comments.

  4. The archbishop is crazy. The archbishop is homophobic. The archbishop needs to get some treatment. There are all kinds of families.

    I remember, and it was years ago, getting into the marriage files where I was the pastor. There was an elderly couple who wanted their marriage “recognized” by the church. I will never forget the letter they wrote to the pope which was intercepted and sent back to the local bishop. There was a copy in the parish files. Remember, two elderly people, probably one or the other with a previous bond or protestant; promising to live as brother and sister so they could be MARRIED, and that is probably sick, too. The letter to the pope began: “Here we come on bended knee…” There was also included a small monetary donation. If my memory is correct, I think I eventually "regularized" the marriage. I also think that I buried one of the people involved. I also remember their gratitude.

    I would just tell the archbishop to get some help. Talk to gay couples, talk to gay couple raising kids. After all, it is the Christmas Season. The archbishop’s prayer? Why all the ignorance? Why all the hate?

  5. I'd like to thank you, Colleen, for your efforts in keeping the atmosphere here relatively attack-free and focused on ideas and an inclusive spirituality. I think I saw the first post that began the attack. Had to go take a few deep breaths and a slow count to 10 so I wouldn't respond in kind.

    I've heard it said that home is where when you go there, they have to take you in. And I might add that family is where when you go to them, you don't have to worry about being attacked.

    If the hierarchy wants to think of the church as extended family for all its members, they might try applying these ideas.

  6. Wild, what a great story. I bet that couple loved you, as they should. But you're right, why does some aspects of Catholicism contain such irrational notions and cause such harm for others?

    T'pel, your welcome. As to your point about family, I think that's how God runs heaven-or where ever we wind up. He takes us all in, doesn't attack us, and leaves us with the totality of our own truth, uncluttered by our original ignorance. At that point, a lot of us want to hit the delete button and some the reset button.

  7. Colleen, thank you for this wonderful commentary. You're right: cats and dogs make a world more sense than some of the Catholic leaders right now, or those mealy-mouthed centrist Catholics who keep giving the bishops cover.

    I wonder, too, what motivates Nienstedt in his persistent nasty attacks on teh gayz. I sometimes wonder if he thinks he's obliged to stand in the door in Minnesota and make a big show of keeping marriage equality out, since it has come to the neighboring state of Iowa.

  8. Maybe there is no rational sense to it. It may turn out it's one of his personal red buttons for reasons unknown. It sure is hard not speculate though. :)

  9. Is it cynical of me to suggest that it all comes down with the assurance and maintenance of your power base.

    Nothing would spell doom quicker to the Western Christian patriarchy than the loss of the free flow of guaranteed, human assets provided by "traditional marriage", where birth control or abortion is never an option

    Then Surprise: The ‘gay recruitment" hypothesis is bringing in unbelievable numbers of “NOT-GAY” people--people who really fell for all that talk of justice, humility, and living in peace

    I fear for the future. History teaches us that those who hold the power are not separated from in easily.

  10. What an utterly compromised prayer. I hate when people read in their pet causes into worship, rather than leaving them for the [less authoritative] commentary.

    I am constantly perplexed by the Church's bizarre emphasis on the family. The cult of the Holy Family, while certainly a legitimate piety, is rather novel in emphasis in the long history of devotions, certainly as being tied to a given model of intimate family life.

    No one is crying foul that Saint Hildegard's parents offered her as a tithe to the Church and enclosed her within a community of women. But let gay people adopt? My God...

  11. JD, funny you should mention Hildegard. I read today where Papa Ben may canonize her and make her a doctor of the Church. I wonder if he'll mention that tithe thing. Anyway, good oh for him, it's only some 800 years overdue.

    As far as gay people adopting, JPI certainly thought that was an ok idea. He even testified to that effect before the Italian parliament. Oh what might have been.

  12. Where does this prayer leave those of us who are straight, but not called to religious or married life? Are we chopped liver? BTW, we had a similar prayer for vocations in my archdiocese, I privately prayed for the hierarchy to finally heed the Holy Spirit, but I'm not counting on it...

  13. Kathy, we can pray all we want, but choice is still the determinant issue in this reality. God will not force His will on ours. He might nudge, but never force.

  14. Colleen,

    Sometimes it takes a tough skin to be a blogger because there will always be a series of personal attacks. These are the attacks that we see in an institution fearful of change. I don't think it does anyone much good to deny them. I think it is better to engage them. You will continue to have them and they will get stronger and each time it will hurt, but failure to engage them at least internally is the message the attacker hopes for.

  15. Dennis, I was pretty sure I knew who that particular anon was, and there is no engaging that would be meaningful. Fixed delusions are fixed. I didn't feel a need to subject the readers of this blog to the kinds of personal attacks that would ultimately prove to be indefensible.

  16. Fixed delusions of a schizophrenic type are very difficult but not impossible to change over time. Sometimes medications are helpful but others who stick to reality are also helpful. Delusions of Character (they come from the psychotic islands each individual) in a society can only be influenced by challenging them. When a personal attack becomes more and more out of proportion, truth is more easily discerned by those who give credence to such attacks, so sometimes it takes a thick skin to bear the pain of attacks.....

  17. And cats and dogs are not nearly so duplicitous.

    You've not met some of the cats I have, Colleen. :) The difference is that their duplicity is both simple and selfish, not hurtful and pointless.

    Regarding those who would make attacks: recall that, like the poor, the trolls shall always with with us.