The reason why Minnesotans will vote next year on the issue of a constitutional amendment affirming marriage, traditionally understood, is due to attempts to reconfigure this ancient social institution. For example, people excluded by nature from procreating are currently demanding the right to marry, winning sympathy in some courts. Catholics are being rallied by Archbishop John Nienstedt to support the marriage amendment partly because some of those on the other side, e.g., “Catholics for Marriage Equality MN,” are falsely promoting themselves as representing an authentic Catholic position.
Critics of the Church’s position on marriage are saying that Archbishop Nienstedt is being “divisive,” and does not represent what Catholics want; others are literally going off the rails.
All bishops are called to lead, not follow. Moreover, the latest survey of Catholics published in the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) shows more support for Church teachings on same-sex marriage than on the death penalty. The bishops are opposed to both (though proscriptions against the death penalty are not absolute), yet this hasn’t persuaded the gay marriage advocates to demand that the bishops ratify the pro-death penalty sentiments of the rank-and-file.
Not surprisingly, NCR recently published a piece by the former head of Catholic Charities in San Francisco calling bishops who uphold the Church’s teachings on marriage “villains”; he accused them of promoting “an atmosphere of ignorance and hate.” If they—and this includes NCR’s editors—really believe this to be true, then it’s time to do the manly thing and get out. Finally, it is ironic that “Rainbow Sash” says Archbishop Nienstedt is guilty of abusing his authority—its members are known for such fascistic exercises as disrupting Mass at Communion.