Minn. archbishop warns priests to toe line

Catholic Archbishop John Nienstedt has warned a Minnesota priest to toe the church line in support of a marriage amendment referendum or face the consequences.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Sunday Nienstedt sent a letter last fall to the Rev. Mike Tegeder, the pastor at St. Frances Cabrini and Gichitwaa Kateri churches in Minneapolis who has voice opposition to the proposed amendment to the state Constitution that goes before Minnesota voters in November.

Nienstedt told Tegeder unless he desists in opposing the amendment that would define marriage as a union only between a man and woman he would strip the priest of his “faculties to exercise ministry” and remove him from his “ministerial assignments.”

Tegeder said he doesn’t believe the church should be actively campaigning in support of the amendment. Minnesota has about 1.1 million Catholics.

“That’s not the way to support marriage,” Tegeder said. “If we want to support marriage, there are wonderful things we can do as Catholic churches and ministers. We should not be focused on beating up a small number of people who have this desire to have committed relationships.”

But Nienstedt has told Catholic clergy across the state there is to be no “open dissension” of the church’s support for the measure. As the archbishop sees it, the very existence of marriage hangs in the balance.

“The endgame of those who oppose the marriage amendment that we support is not just to secure certain benefits for a particular minority, but, I believe, to eliminate the need for marriage altogether,” he said in a letter to the state’s clergy.

“As I see it, we have this one chance as Minnesotans to make things right. The stakes could not be higher.”

Nienstedt is marshaling his forces, sending priests and married couples to Catholic high schools to talk about marriage and having parishes organize committees to work for the amendment’s passage, the Star Tribune said.

Complete Article HERE!

Mrs. Santorum, Can We Talk?

COMMENTARY — Kate Kendell

On a recent campaign stop, Karen Santorum accused LGBT activists of “backyard bullying” against her husband in the presidential race. National Center for Lesbian Rights executive director Kate Kendell responds.

Someone’s been using the extra bit of cash he got from his surge in Iowa to buy some spin doctor advice. Earlier this week, Rick Santorum, his wife, Karen, and their oldest daughter, Elizabeth, were all talking about how much Rick “loves gay people” and that his opposition to our right to marry is a “policy difference.” Karen then added to the obscenity of this utter claptrap by suggesting that gay activists were being “backyard bullies” in our attacks on her husband and his policies.

Karen, we need to talk. And by that, I mean that I need to talk and you need to listen.

You love your husband — I get that. You love your faith — fine by me. But when you pretend that hate is love, that lies are truth, and that victims are oppressors, you have become inane.

Your husband believes that LGBT people cannot be trusted to serve in the military, raise children, form stable relationships or be fully respected under the law. According to you, Rick may love us, but honey, his love is killing us, and we want nothing to do with this abusive relationship. Our community has endured expulsion from family, mass firings, daily epitaphs, assaults, harassment, humiliation, death, and suicides. We know that if your husband becomes president of our country our long suffering will only deepen and magnify.

So yes, we are calling him what he is: a sanctimonious bigot who believes that we are dangerous, sick, and evil. We are telling the truth about his vision and his beliefs about us. That is NOT bullying, it’s about saving our own lives. Your husband would erase the landmark and life-saving changes we have seen over the past few years, and revisit the hell of a government that does not see us as fully human. Given what so many of my brothers and sisters live through daily, you calling us bullies is contemptible.

It did not have to be this way. Many people of faith truly and authentically do love the LGBT people in their lives. They also love fairness and equality and inclusion. They do not live in fear of those who are different. My mom was such a person, and I am sure you could have been too.

In some ways, it’s very sad. In another two or three months, the cameras will be gone, and the press will not care about you or Rick. The march of justice will continue, leaving you and your family a forgotten footnote on the wrong side of history.

I’m glad we talked, Karen. I feel better now. While I know you will keep saying whatever that reprobate PR firm is telling you to say, at least we understand each other.

You and Rick are the haters. My community is the victim, and anyone paying attention knows the truth.

Complete Article HERE!

Catholic Church Hands Out Pledge Cards Against Civil Unions

Colorado’s Catholic churches are handing parishioners a pledge card in which those that sign vow to oppose the pending civil unions bill.

Bishop Conley [left] urged people to participate in the campaign because “it allows each of us to speak the truth – to ask the government to respect the plan for marriage God has given us.” “Doing so protects children, protects marriage and, ultimately, protects the common good of all of us.” He warned that recognizing civil unions for same-sex couples would allow them to adopt children and infringe on religious liberties for many groups. Some also view civil unions as “a stepping stone” to endorsing polygamous relationships. “Redefining marriage means that government will try to redefine truth,” he said. He then cited Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of Oakland, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ conference subcommittee on marriage. Bishop Cordileone recently said that civil unions can “in no way” be considered a permissible compromise or an advance for the common good.

Bishop Cordileone, you should know, is considered the creator of Proposition 8.

Complete Article HERE!

Catholic bishop sues priest for speaking against homosexuality

The soon-to-be Bishop of Fresno, Calif., has filed a lawsuit against a problematic and outspoken priest in the Diocese of El Paso, Texas, alleging financial irregularities and violations of diocesan policy on the handling of parish funds. The priest claims he is being unjustly punished for speaking out against homosexuality.

El Paso Bishop Armando Ochoa, named as the new Bishop of Fresno on Dec. 1, issued a press release last week outlining his reasons for filing the lawsuit against Fr. Michael Rodriguez. (A Mass of Installation for Bishop Ochoa is scheduled in Fresno on Feb. 2.)

“As Bishop and shepherd of the Diocese of El Paso, I have a pastoral duty to safeguard the resources of the diocese and each individual parish,” said Bishop Ochoa in the Jan. 11 press release. “This includes a fiduciary responsibility to hold accountable all those who manage the financial affairs of each parish, especially those in administration.”

According to the bishop, Fr. Rodriguez was removed as administrator of San Juan Bautista Parish in El Paso on Sept. 20, 2011 “based on credible information and documents that show that he intentionally and materially failed to comply with the Manual of Policies and Procedures of Parish Finances of the Roman Catholic Diocese of El Paso.”

“Fr. Rodriguez’s handling and use of donated funds has compromised the financial integrity of San Juan Bautista,” Bishop Ochoa said in the press release. “I have appealed repeatedly to Fr. Rodriguez to make a complete disclosure and a thorough accounting of his financial administration of the parish but he has refused to do so.”

The bishop said Fr. Rodriguez’s refusal to provide financial information left him with no alternative but to take the “extraordinary measure” of filing a lawsuit against the priest and his brother, David Rodriguez.

The suit seeks a full accounting of San Juan Bautista’s finances during Fr. Rodriguez’s tenure there and recovery of “any funds that may have been misappropriated.”

“Fr. Rodriguez and those acting in concert with him, had no right to appropriate for themselves funds donated to the parish…” said the bishop’s press release. “We are mere administrators of the Church’s temporal goods and we all must be accountable for all things entrusted to us.”

Bishop Ochoa and Fr. Rodriguez have been at odds since 2010, when the priest began attending city council meetings to speak out against homosexuality. Fr. Rodriguez also authored several opinion pieces in the El Paso Times critical of the El Paso City Council for extending health insurance to all employees regardless of marital status or sexual orientation.

When Fr. Rodriguez became involved in a recall campaign against some in city government responsible for that policy, Bishop Ochoa removed him as parish administrator. “This type of intervention in the political process by religious organizations such as the Diocese of El Paso and San Juan Bautista Church is not permitted under Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code,” said Bishop Ochoa in a statement issued at the time.

Fr. Rodriguez denies any wrongdoing and vows to fight on.

“It is unfortunate that Bishop Armando Ochoa, Administrator of the Diocese of El Paso and no longer our bishop, has decided to pursue legal action against me,” he said in a Jan. 12 statement. “Such legal action is unjust.”

“Over the course of 9 1/2 years as the parish priest of San Juan Bautista Catholic Church, I poured my heart and soul into caring for this parish, both in terms of temporal goods, and especially spiritual goods,” continued Fr. Rodriguez. “I’m confident that hundreds of my former parishioners will eagerly testify to this.”

“In his January 11, 2012, press release, Bishop Ochoa stated, ‘Fr. Rodriguez’s handling and use of donated funds has compromised the financial integrity of San Juan Bautista.’ This is not true,” said the embattled priest. “Bishop Ochoa’s statement also refers to ‘Fr. Rodriguez’s mishandling of funds.’ Again, this is not true. I have always honored, respected, and made good use of the financial patrimony of San Juan Bautista. I stake my entire reputation on this claim.”

According to Fr. Rodriguez, he met with Bishop Ochoa on Sept. 20, 2011, and “opened my heart to my bishop, like a son to a father, and was completely honest and forthcoming with him as to the financial affairs of San Juan Bautista. I told him everything. He chose not to believe me… I have never misappropriated or misused parish funds.”

Fr. Rodriguez said “the real reason” for Bishop Ochoa’s lawsuit against him “is due to my defense of the Catholic Church’s teaching with regard to homosexuality as well as my adherence to the Roman Liturgy of 1962.” He said he would “continue to proclaim and teach the truths of the Roman Catholic Church, especially in the area of sexual morality, no matter the cost” and would also “continue to adhere to the Ancient Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, no matter the cost.”

Complete Article HERE!

Bishops: Same-sex marriage ‘not in the public interest’

Legislation introduced by lawmakers in Washington state that would redefine marriage to allow same-sex marriage “is not in the public interest,” said the bishops of the state’s three Catholic dioceses.

“Marriage in faith and societal traditions is acknowledged as the foundation of civilization. It has long been recognized that the stability of society depends on the stability of family life in which a man and a woman conceive and nurture new life,” the bishops said in a statement released Jan. 13.

“In this way, civil recognition of marriage has sought to bestow on countless generations of children the incomparable benefit of a loving mother and father committed to one another in a lifelong union,” they said.

The current state law says that “marriage is a civil contract between a male and a female,” the bishops noted. “This same law also prohibits marriage to close-blood relations, a clear indication that the definition of marriage is related to bringing children into the world and the continuation of the human race.”

The bishops called on all citizens of Washington to support the current legal definition of marriage and contact their state senator and representatives to urge them to “defend the current legal definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.”

At the same time, the bishops asked everyone to join them in praying “for married couples and families and to do everything possible to support them.”
NCR: January 6-19, 2012

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The statement was signed by: Archbishop J. Peter Sartain and Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo of Seattle; Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Spokane; and Bishop Joseph J. Tyson of Yakima. It was released by the Washington State Catholic Conference in Seattle, the public policy arm of the state’s bishops.

On Jan. 10 in her State of the State address, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire announced her support for legalizing same-sex marriage. Three days later, 23 senators — 21 Democrats and two Republicans — introduced legislation that would make Washington the seventh state where same-sex couples are allowed to marry.

Gregoire told The New York Times in an interview that as not only a governor but as a lawyer, a wife, a mother and a Catholic, she has “struggled with this issue for the last seven years.” She described her position on the issue as having evolved, in part because of conversations she said she has had on the topic with her daughters, who have “grown up with kids who’ve got two moms and two dads.”

In their statement, the bishops said that “by defining marriage both in terms of the relationship between a man and a woman and its important role of guaranteeing the succession of generations, the state is recognizing the irreplaceable contribution that married couples make to society.”

Changing the law “would mean that the state would no longer recognize the unique sacrifices and contributions made by these couples, thereby adding to the forces already undermining family life today.”

Upholding the traditional definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman “does not depend on anyone’s religious beliefs,” they said. “Washington state’s present law defining marriage as ‘a civil contract between a male and a female’ is grounded not in faith, but in reason and the experience of society.”

The law now recognizes “the unique and irreplaceable potential of a man and woman to conceive and nurture new life, thus contributing to the continuation of the human race,” they said.

“Married couples who bring children into the world make particular sacrifices and take on unique risks and obligations for the good of society,” the statement said. “For this reason the state has long understood that it has a compelling interest in recognizing and supporting these mothers and fathers through a distinct category of laws.”

Complete Article HERE!