See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Friday, September 24, 2010

Why Archbishop Nienstedt had to come out in defense of marriage.



Just doing his job.
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"The bishops of the state have an obligation, by ordination, to be teachers,” the Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis told MPR's Tom Crann. “And we all know the state of marriage in our society today,” he continued, citing divorce rates of up to 50 percent, and recounting the exponential growth of fluid arrangements like cohabitation and unwed parenthood. “The state of marriage is not very healthy in our society.
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Archbishop Nienstedt indicated that attempts to redefine marriage contribute significantly to this already rapid breakdown of family structure throughout society. In such a perilous climate, he told MPR, it is especially urgent to affirm what marriage is –in his words, “a commitment for life, a life-giving commitment that is open to the procreation and the raising of children”-- and what it cannot be.
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He (...) described same-sex “marriage” as “a dangerous risk to society,” not only according to the dictates of Christian faith, but according to “what we call the natural law,” which “precedes any government.” 
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Rather than giving the name of “marriage” to virtually any kind of sexual arrangement, Archbishop Nienstedt argued, “government is meant to support marriage between a husband and a wife,” to provide social support for “the raising … and the protection of children.”
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The prelate likewise reaffirmed the Church's opposition not only to same-sex “marriages,” but also to divorce, which he described as a “risk to our society today.” Divorce is also regarded by the Catholic Church as a serious violation of the natural law.
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Asked whether the bishops' suggestion of a constitutional amendment defining marriage was strictly a “political statement,” Nienstedt said that in the context of the video it was simply an exercise of the bishops' authority to teach on matters of reason and faith.
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"We need to remind our people,” he said, describing the bishops' mission in mailing the video, “what it is we believe, why it is we believe what we believe, and thirdly, why it's so important.” - CNA
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My thoughts:
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The Archbishop is clearly exercising the duties of his office: teaching and guiding the faithful in faith and morals.  I'm pleased that he included divorce in the conversation - naturally he cannot cover every issue in one interview, but it might have been an opportune moment to remind everyone of Church teaching on contraception and acknowledging that some of his predecessors and brother bishops pretty much rejected Paul VI's Humane Vitae.  If the teaching of Paul VI had been heeded, we may not have come to the crisis point we find ourselves in today.
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For those who claim Nienstedt ought to have given the money for the cost of the DVD campaign to the poor or some other pressing social justice cause, let them not get too high and mighty in their protests...  Rich gay activists pour millions into pro-gay political causes - chief among the causes, to unseat conservative law-makers and promote same-sex marriage.

16 comments:

  1. It is all of our jobs to instruct and defend the teachings of Christ.

    Support the Archbishop and pray for him. October is going to be a tough month for him.

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  2. That's about time some bishop somewhere mentioned divorce and co-habitation--once the bishops start campaigning to have divorce outlawed too, I may just back them up on a banning on same sex marriage. Ace

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  3. Cath - yeah - October may be a tough month.

    Ace - I was surprised he brought up divorce as well. There is certainly a need to be consistent in Church teaching.

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  4. Yep T-man, "seamless garment" I believe it's called. And if the divorce rate is up to 50% as he cites, then that certainly seems be a BIG problem. Moving to outlaw divorce on MN statutory books should be a top priority of his reign, if it's that bad. Then, work on making co-habitation outside of marriage illegal as well. Funny though, how you never hear about any bishops trying to get laws to take care of those problems passed.

    But I'm sure that both those issues will immediately begin to get better once there is a law on the books banning gay marriage, beccause that disintegrates traditional marriage. So why work to get those other laws passed, right? Ace

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  5. Ace - you got me! LOL! See how naive I am?

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  6. I was going to make a comment about the title of this blog post too, but I restrained myself. Did you do it on purpose??? Ace

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  7. Great post Terry,
    Of the citicisms that I hear everyday, one of them is usually, "Shouldn't this money be used for the poor, instead of bashing gays?"
    One need only to look to CA to see that the gay opposition outspent supporters of prop 8 by 3 to 1 (and some sources tell me that ratio is higher). It is not a complete argument, but it is just one way to show that their argument is untenable.

    Thanks!

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  8. God bless and keep the good Archbishop!
    May the Lord defend him, give him every grace and blessing,
    and keep him from the snares of the Evil One. Amen.

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  9. "Gay activists" aren't charged by Christ to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. Different missions, or so I thought?

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  10. Thom--you said what I started to write twice but didn't submit at the last minute. Thank you.

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  11. Ace, I have been on the receiving end of a no-fault divorce. Few things are such an evil plague to society. I wish the law had never changed to be that way, and the church should fight it and call it out whenever it can.

    That said, it's there already. Gay marriage is in its gay larval stages, and has not yet been perpetrated on the country. It's still at a stage where it can be fought.

    Also remember this - no society, not even the pervert ancient Greeks and Persians, not the decadents of any culture, has EVER proposed gay marriage. Marriage was too evidently part of the fabric of society. Divorce, sadly, had always been with us. In fact, Christians are the only ones who have opposed it. But gay marriage has never belonged to the fabric of any society anywhere.

    Divorce is wrong. Cohabitation is wrong. The former cat is out of the bag, and I don't see a way to curtail the latter by law (sodomy is also no longer curtailed by law, neither are openly homosexual relationships). But I think Aquinas would have agreed with me that gay marriage is a greater evil, a greater perversion of God's order, however the other things may be.

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  12. "Also remember this - no society, not even the pervert ancient Greeks and Persians, not the decadents of any culture, has EVER proposed gay marriage. Marriage was too evidently part of the fabric of society."

    I wouldn't be so quick to elevate marriage historically.

    Women were bought and sold as property, girls as young as ten became wives in the "sacred institution," and men, in many societies, had multiple spouses.

    Let's be realistic with this thing.

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  13. Merc--so have I, a no fault divorce I mean. And thankfully, it is legal. Divorce and co-habitation for that matter, touches more immediate and extended families than gay marriage ever will.

    It's fine if the Church says it's against divorce and co-habitation, but, is the Church doing anything to stop those evils, as they are against gay marriage? Remember the "seamless garment?"

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  14. But seamless garment is not so simple. I mean, aren't some grave issues more grave than others? Sin is sin, but the church has always recognized that some things are worse than others. Some people use seamles garment to say "I know Nancy Pelosi supports all abortion in all cases, but she says she's anti-war ... seamless garment!"

    Cohabitation and divorce are evils. Fornication is an evil, but it's always been there, and so has sodomy. But we're talking about institutionalizing sodomy. The Church recognizes that cohabitation, divorce, contraception, etc. are all sins against the good of marriage, but "gay marriage" is a different animal altogether.

    But I do agree that it is hypocritical to "uphold the sancitiy of marriage" if by that, we mean marriage as it is seen today. To a gay person looking in, marriage in a civil sense is not a perpetual union geared towards to raising of a family, but a legal partnership of two people "in love." If that's how society sees marriage, then there's *no reason* to oppose gay marriage. In that regard, gay marriage is only the natural conclusion of what no-fault divorce, cohabitation, and contraception have done to marriage.

    Anyone who is okay with no-fault divorce, cohabitation, and contraception, has no business opposing gay marriage.

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  15. I think that you misunderstood me Merc. I was referring to the seamless garment as I've heard it used in reference to the Church's stand on life issues, not consistentcy in equality of stances a person may hold to.

    I am simply saying that the Church or the bishops say little to nothing about the evils of divorce and cohabitation, which are much more extensive and prevalent in society, and do even less and spend much less money to rid us of their legality, as they do about making gay marriage illegal.

    I see no pickets or rosaries prayed outside the courts that process divorces. I don't get asked to sign petitions against the legality of divorce. I don't get bombarded with fliers, mailings, DVDs, YouTube messages, newspaper ads, etc. urging me to vote for candidates who don't support divorce or will work to eliminate divorce from our society, or urge me to fast and pray to end divorce and make it and co-habitation illegal. Or even to write these same representatives urging them to work to amend the Constitution against these issues.

    And lastly, you do understand! The legal or societal understanding of the purpose of marriage and the Church's understanding of the purpose of marriage are not the same. That is the truth. Otherwise, there would be no legal divorce and co-habitation would be a punishable offense. Look how far back the "common-law" understanding of marriage has been used in these United States. The Church and State are not one in the same in understanding of these things.

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  16. I think on the other issues the ship has sailed. The battle being fought now is gay marriage. It's not about' making it illegal', cause it never was legal in the first place, except in some states and foreign countries. So the question is really 'do we want to create something new that is patently evil or don't we.'

    Divorce and cohabitation have, unfortunately, always existed. Gay marriage is very, very recent invention. The church condemned divorce and fornication because they existed. Gay marriage has never existed in any form in any time or place on the history of the planet.

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