Sunday, October 14, 2012

Lutheran Bishop Chilstrom chastises Archbishop Nienstedt

Or, calls him out on the Church's stance on Same Sex Marriage.

The bishop wrote an open letter to Archbishop Nienstedt.  The letter is quite pointed and very Protestant.  Chilstrom's letter reminds me of what the Episcopalian Bishop Marc Andrus of San Francisco had to say about Archbishop Cordileone.  Obviously their pont of view is the secular, gay, Protestant POV - which is opposed to Catholic teaching and therefore what both Archbishop Nienstedt and Cordileone teach.  Local Catholics are insulted and will be countering with letters to the editor. 

Chilstrom's Open Letter:
Dear John:
Having served as a Lutheran bishop in Minnesota and then as the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), I write as one who stands on level ground with you. Like you, I have a deep sense of call to the ministry of the Gospel.

On the marriage amendment, you are described in the media as having "drawn the line."
In my judgment, you have drawn the line at the wrong place.

I recognize your authority in formulating positions for your own flock in Minnesota. That is one thing. But for you and others to campaign for an amendment that imposes your stance on all citizens in Minnesota, including other Christians, believers of other faith groups and nonbelievers, is overstepping your bounds.

History is our teacher. - Read more here.
"Those who would move from tolerance to the legitimization of specific rights for cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil." - CDF

Though the historical references are compelling, Chilstrom completely overestimates the power and authority Archbishop Nienstedt has over the state, be it legislators or voters.  The Archbishop is simply exercising his office and role to instruct and guide the faithful as regards faith and morals.  The issue of same sex marriage clearly concerns the natural moral law and the common good, which ought to concern not only Catholics and those who believe in Christ, but all citizens, including those ordained to ministry, as well as those appointed to serve in government, and anyone who is dedicated to promoting and defending the common good of society.  The Archbishop is acting in good faith, while providing guidance in truth and charity for those who may be dissuaded by political ideological propaganda and emotional arguments to the contrary.  He is only doing his duty.
The scope of the civil law is certainly more limited than that of the moral law, but civil law cannot contradict right reason without losing its binding force on conscience.
It might be asked how a law can be contrary to the common good if it does not impose any particular kind of behaviour, but simply gives legal recognition to a de facto reality which does not seem to cause injustice to anyone. In this area, one needs first to reflect on the difference between homosexual behaviour as a private phenomenon and the same behaviour as a relationship in society, foreseen and approved by the law, to the point where it becomes one of the institutions in the legal structure. This second phenomenon is not only more serious, but also assumes a more wide-reaching and profound influence, and would result in changes to the entire organization of society, contrary to the common good. Civil laws are structuring principles of man's life in society, for good or for ill. They “play a very important and sometimes decisive role in influencing patterns of thought and behaviour”.(14) Lifestyles and the underlying presuppositions these express not only externally shape the life of society, but also tend to modify the younger generation's perception and evaluation of forms of behaviour. Legal recognition of homosexual unions would obscure certain basic moral values and cause a devaluation of the institution of marriage. - Considerations, CDF
Obviously there are limits to ecumenism.

Please pray for Archbishop Nienstedt and those priests in communion with him.

1 comment:

  1. Not all Lutherans (or all Prostestants) are alike. It's not fair to paint them with the same brush.

    This is an ECLA Bishop.
    The LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod)is quite different, and stands with the RC church on the issue of same-sex marriage


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