Today, many evil forces have set their sights on the dissolution of marriage and the debasing of family life. Sodomy, abortion, contraception, pornography, the redefinition of marriage, and the denial of objective truth are just some of the forces threatening the stability of our civilization. The source of these machinations is none other than the Father of Lies. Satan knows all too well the value that the family contributes to the fabric of a good solid society, as well as the future of God's work on earth.Archbishop Nienstedt). Those openly attacking Archbishop Nienstedt are also openly attacking classical, orthodox, faithful Christianity. Of course, they are specifically attacking the Catholic Church because it is the greatest defender of the truth concerning marriage and family - and it will not, it cannot - compromise that truth.
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - In one of his pastoral letters the Bishop of Hippo, St. Augustine, wrote concerning being 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." He once compared a Bishop who lacked the necessary courage to preach the Gospel and defend the faith to "a scarecrow standing in a vineyard."
All week we have been offered excerpts from a series of sermons from St. Augustine to pastors in the Office of Readings of the Liturgy of the Hours. In every age, the Church has been blessed with heroic Bishops willing to stand for truth in the face of fierce opposition. In this age we have many and I regularly try to call the attention of our readers to them. One of them is the Most Rev John Nienstedt , the Archbishop of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota.
In his apostolic exhortation on the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Charity, Pope Emeritus Benedict summarized the duty of Bishops, other Clergy and all of the faithful when confronted with the current cultural assault on authentic marriage: "Marriage and the family are institutions that must be promoted and defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature, since whatever is injurious to them is injurious to society itself."
Archbishop John Nienstedt understands the obligation and has been heroic in his defense of marriage and the family. He also understands his vocation as a teacher. I wrote about him back in 2010, when along with his brother Bishops in Minnesota, he engaged in a six week catechetical campaign to do all that he could to ensure that the faithful understood the truth about marriage and the family and society founded upon it.
A DVD entitled "Preserving Marriage in Minnesota" was sent to all Catholics to help them properly inform their conscience and engage in 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.
Last year he was pilloried for his heroic effort to stem the assault on marriage in his home State. Now, as a result of his fidelity and courage in defending the truth about marriage and family, this noble Archbishop is facing an unrelenting assault in the Media. On Aug 2, 2013, he spoke at the NAPA Institute Conference for Catholic Leaders. The conference gathers Catholic leaders yearly to hear addresses based upon the teachings of the Church and discuss their application.
The Archbishop gave a brilliant talk entitled Family as the Foundation of Culture. It was a statement of the clear teaching of the Catholic Church. It was well researched and footnoted, in its written form. This was not an extemporaneous speech or some kind of rant as so many of the press reports seem to depict it. In fact, it was so well done that it is a great resource for anyone engaged in defending marriage and family. It can be read in its entirety and downloaded here.
The assault on the Archbishop in some segments of the media has been brutal. They have attempted to depict him as some kind of fringe demagogue. To the contrary, Archbishop Nienstedt offered a well reasoned defense of marriage, a blueprint which should be taken up and used on many fronts of our effort to defend marriage. You can view the entire presentation here.
In a part his lengthy address dealing with "two views of marriage", he made the following observation: "If indeed marriage is the foundation of the family and the family is the cornerstone of society, then it is essential to the progress of any civilization that the consequences of choosing between a conjugal view or a revisionist view of marriage be weighed carefully and thoughtfully, especially in regard to the other negative forces that are impinging on the social reality of family life.
"Today, many evil forces have set their sights on the dissolution of marriage and the debasing of family life. Sodomy, abortion, contraception, pornography, the redefinition of marriage, and the denial of objective truth are just some of the forces threatening the stability of our civilization. The source of these machinations is none other than the Father of Lies. Satan knows all too well the value that the family contributes to the fabric of a good solid society, as well as the future of God's work on earth."
The propaganda media supporting the Cultural Revolutionaries who want to deny that marriage is solely between one man and one woman used that section as fodder for their assault. Of course, the Archbishop is correct. Satan is the enemy of the Church. The family is a domestic church, the first cell of the whole Church. It is no surprise that it is specifically targeted by the enemy. This is not some kind of fringe notion, it is simply the Christian claim - and well presented at that.
Marriage and family have been inscribed by the Divine Architect into the order of creation. Marriage is ontologically between one man and one woman, ordered toward the union of the spouses, open to children and formative of family. Family is the first vital cell of society; the first church, first school, first hospital, first economy, first government and first mediating institution of our social order. The future of a free and healthy society passes through marriage and the family.
Marriage as existing solely between one man and one woman was not an idea manufactured by religion or civil government. It precedes both. Though affirmed, fulfilled, and elevated by our faith, the truth that marriage can exist only between one man and one woman is not based on religion or revelation alone, but on the Natural Moral Law, written on the human heart and discernible through the exercise of reason.
This claim of the existence of such a Natural Moral Law is the ground upon which every great civilization has been built. It is the source of every authentic human and civil rights movement. This Natural Moral Law gives us the norms we need to build truly human and humane societies and govern ourselves. It should also inform our positive law or we will become lawless and devolve into anarchy.
Those openly attacking Archbishop Nienstedt are also openly attacking classical, orthodox, faithful Christianity. Of course, they are specifically attacking the Catholic Church because it is the greatest defender of the truth concerning marriage and family - and it will not, it cannot - compromise that truth. I stand with Archbishop Nienstedt and invite you to do the same. Read the speech, watch the video, pray for this good man.
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