Friday, September 30, 2011

Ecclesial Backbone: Standing up for religion and families

The angel of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, Abp. John C. Nienstedt, is having a heckuva month.

First, he puts out an action alert to his archdiocese in reference to the Department of Health and Human Services' regulation amendment requiring most religious employers to include contraceptives and sterilization coverage in any health plan under the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (By the way, have you made your voice heard? Today's the last day!) That in itself would be commendable.

However, today the Archdiocese, in conjunction with the Minnesota Catholic Conference, issued a statement blasting Catholics for Marriage Equality MN, stating unequivocally that the pro-SSM group "has no recognition from nor affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church".
One of Catholics for Marriage Equality MN’s expressed aims is to defeat the Minnesota Marriage Protection Amendment that will appear on the November 2012 ballot, and which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The group misleadingly tries to convince Catholics that they can, in good conscience, support a state redefinition of marriage without undermining marriage itself. The Catholic Church, in keeping with Catholic teaching, reason and natural law, and in concert with many other faiths, strongly supports maintaining the current, traditional definition of marriage by voting “yes” for the Amendment during the November 2012 election.

Archbishop Nienstedt has been fighting this issue for awhile. One of his best lines came this last summer: "One might well ask just who is doing the 'imposing' here: those who simply defend what the human drama has accepted from the start, a belief embedded in nature and at the core of every civilization — the definition of marriage — or those who all of a sudden want to scrap it because 'progressive, enlightened, tolerant culture' calls for it." When we've just learned that the US Census Bureau misreported the number of same-sex households for 2010, and that they represent just a little over half of one percent of the US total households, we get a clearer picture of how disproportional the power is behind the SSM lobby.

So much for democracy, right?

It seems that any so-called "progressive" lobby who wishes to sway the Catholic vote first creates a pseudo-Catholic organization to persuade the uncertain that, yes, this initiative is in line with what Jesus and the Church teaches ... it's only the old, autocratic, neutered ecclesial bureaucrats in power right now that are against it. Or, they go even further and declare themselves "the real Church", and treat said ecclesial bureaucrats as an annoying, antediluvian irrelevancy.

Well, Catholics for Marriage Equality MN, you've just been "outed" as a pseud-Catholic group ... and Abp. Nienstedt, you're the fourth nominee this year for the Ecclesial Backbone Award!