Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

9/24/2010 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Archbishop John Nienstedt is a Bishop who understands his vocation as a teacher and demonstrates Episcopal spine


 In one of his pastoral letters the great Bishop of Hippo, Augustine, wrote these words concerning the ministry of a Bishop, "Believe me, brothers and sisters, if what I am for you frightens me, what I am with you reassures me. For you I am the bishop; with you I am a Christian." Augustine once compared a Bishop who lacked courage to preach the Gospel and defend the faith to "a scarecrow standing in a vineyard." Archbishop John Nienstedt is a Bishop who understands his vocation as a teacher and demonstrates Episcopal spine in an age which desperately needs to witness it.

Archbishop John Nienstedt.

Archbishop John Nienstedt.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/24/2010 (4 years ago)

Published in Marriage & Family


MINNEAPOLIS, MN (Catholic Online) - In one of his pastoral letters the great Bishop of Hippo, Augustine, wrote these words concerning the ministry of a Bishop, "Believe me, brothers and sisters, if what I am for you frightens me, what I am with you reassures me. For you I am the bishop; with you I am a Christian." St. Augustine once compared a Bishop who lacked courage to preach the Gospel  and defend the faith to "a scarecrow standing in a vineyard."

Archbishop John Nienstedt is a Bishop who understands his vocation as a teacher and demonstrates Episcopal spine in an age which desperately needs to witness it. With his brother Bishops in Minnesota he is engaged in a six week catechetical campaign to ensure that the faithful understand the truth about marriage and the family and society founded upon it. The November 2, 2010 election has great implications in Minnesota because of efforts to undermine authentic marriage.

A DVD entitled "Preserving Marriage in Minnesota" is being sent to all Catholics this week to assist them in informing their political participation based upon the truth concerning Marriage as revealed in the Natural Law, confirmed by Revelation and consistently taught by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.  On Catechetical Sunday, September 19, 2010, this courageous Bishop urged the faithful to support a constitutional amendment to protect marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman ordered toward love and the bearing and raising of children.

On Wednesday, September 22, 2010, he gave a radio interview on this vital effort to defend marriage and the family and society founded upon it. The Bishop could have spoken on a Catholic, other Christian or other favorably disposed station. However, he chose to do the interview on National Public Radio. Once again, he showed his confidence in the truth and his courage in speaking it. 

Even the title given to the interview by NPR demonstrates the slant. The Archbishop is defending marriage. However, in an example of the Orwellian "Newspeak" accompanying the issue, the Network called the interview, "Archbishop John Nienstedt on Catholic Church's opposition to same-sex marriage." 

Readers should note the efforts to question the funding of the video and insinuate it was improper, which it was not. Notice as well as the Bishop's pastorally appropriate, perfectly proper and absolutely legal encouragement to the faithful to act in the political arena in a manner consistent with the truth. The interviewer was seeking to intimidate the Bishop. This is one of the ploys of those who oppose the truth concerning marriage and life in the current "Dictatorship of Relativism". They attempt to label every moral issue as "political" in an effort to frighten Bishops from addressing them. The Bishop handled the effort well and did not back down. He is to be commended and he deserves our prayer.

Below we present excerpts from the interview.  It was conducted by by Tom Crann, of Minnesota Public Radio, aired on "All Things Considered"  and can be found here:

*****************************
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.

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.

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.

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.

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? ...

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.")

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.

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.

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?

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.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Marriage & Family

Social experiment exposes male preference of female body size Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A 33-year-old journalist from London often asked herself how much a women's body size really matters to men. Although Yvette Caster claimed she wasn't the type to subscribe to the belief of thinness begetting more chances in finding a partner as propagated by media, ... continue reading


6 violent video games you don't want your kid playing Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

You may not allow your teens to watch sexually explicit films or shows with too much gore and violence, but the video games in and around your home may cause trouble, too. Some video game ratings are misleading, stating that the games are made for young children and ... continue reading


'Sometimes you just don't really know the right words to say' Children's surprising responses to how they feel about their parents revealed Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On a daily basis, most parents internally question whether they are doing good for their children -- and most of the time, they feel they come short from what the child needs and of their own expectations. The latest video from Minute Maid presents the reality that ... continue reading


How much TV is too much for young children? TV viewing links to obesity in kindergarteners Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) report one hour of television viewing is already too much for kindergarteners and children in first-grade. By analyzing data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey and comparing data to kids at the same cohort who watch less ... continue reading


Middle Eastern high school student suspended for using fake bomb during prom proposal Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Senior student Ibrahim Ahmad, 18, from LA Center High School, was been suspended last week for a stunt he did in school for the upcoming prom. In order to make a girl say yes to his prom date proposal, he strapped a fake bomb around his body, which caused panic among ... continue reading


Woman's 'instincts' miraculously save husband's life Watch

Image of Nicole and Scott Mayhew

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Nicole Mayhew went home immediately after experiencing a bugging feeling that her husband was in trouble. Scott Mayhew was pinned under their Ford Explorer and had been yelling for help which no one apparently heard. She arrived home right on time to save him from ... continue reading


WHO IS THAT? Mysterious 'ghost child' appears in couple's wedding photo Watch

Image of Denis' wife, Christiana had been using it as her profile picture on Facebook before a friend pointed out the ghostly face hidden between them.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If a picture is worth a thousand words, some elements of a picture become known only long afterwards. A couple in Virginia had the fact pointed out to them that a macabre "photo bomber" lurks on their favorite wedding photo. The person appears to be a child, a ... continue reading


When culture no longer cares about marriage, family, everyone suffers, Pope says Watch

Image of The second of two talks on the complementary nature of men and women, Pope Francis says that the Book of Genesis shows how God created the heavens and earth, and then a special creature made in his likeness to care and watch over the earth.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis, in a homily earlier this week said that a culture that does not value "the stable and life-giving covenant between a man and woman is certainly a loss for everyone. We must bring honor back to marriage and the family." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Criminal family raises money for daughter's fake terminal illness Watch

Image of Neighbors alerted police officials of suspicious GoFundMe page.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

After a family falsely claimed their three-year-old daughter suffers from a dangerous heart disease, a family friend posted a page on the GoFundMe website for their support. The family trio from Marietta, Georgia is now arrested and faces charges of felony conspiracy. ... continue reading


Mother murdered and baby abducted after Indiana woman poses as social worker Watch

Image of Jones' family members stated Jones told them she had been pregnant with twins and one died.

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Horrific reports have come out that a woman, claiming to be a social worker, went to an apartment in Indiana where a newly-born child and her mother resided, with means to take the baby away. However, the woman was found to have never even worked in the child-welfare ... continue reading


All Marriage & Family News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 15:1-6
1 Then some men came down from Judaea and taught the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
1 [Song of Ascents Of David] I rejoiced that they ... Read More

Gospel, John 15:1-8
1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 6th, 2015 Image

Bl. Edward Jones
May 6: Blessed Edward Jones and Anthony Middleton, Martyrs Edward Jones ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter