Support our priests.
I would caution anyone against tangling with Fr. John Paul Echert, one of the 'best of the best' Catholic priests in the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis. Fr. Echert is a military chaplain and pastor of St. Augustine parish and Holy Trinity parish in South St. Paul, Minnesota. He is a solid Roman Catholic priest, a biblical scholar, and a man without guile - a straight talker. He is one of the few priests in the world I trust implicitly.
That said, a local politician Fr. Echert obviously admires, insulted the priest in response to Father's respectful request for the state representative to reconsider giving his support to the efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota. Fr. Echert's email reprinted below: Full text at parish website
Dear Representative Kriesel:
Greetings from Father John Echert, Pastor of the Parishes of Holy
Trinity and St. Augustine in South St. Paul. I am writing to you
specifically in regards to the proposed Marriage Amendment under
consideration here in Minnesota in light of an email exchange which
you recently had with my Associate Pastor, Father Robert Grabner.
Within your response you wrote, “Unfortunately I do not support the
Marriage Amendment and will not be voting for it.” I am very
saddened to learn this, especially since I had encouraged one of our
parishioners, one of your campaign advocates, to have you come to
our parish Fall Festival last October so that parishioners could meet
you in the days leading up to the elections. Also, as a military
Chaplain here in the Minnesota Air National Guard I have been using
you as a heroic example of resiliency in our monthly Yellow Ribbon
Program for recently returned deployers.
I ask you to please reconsider your position on this critical matter.
While we can legitimately debate issues related to finances and
politics, those that are grounded upon basic moral principles and
family values are rooted in the laws of God. I am commencing this
week with a parish campaign to promote support for a Marriage
Amendment in Minnesota; I hope that you will be among those elected
officials upon whom we can count for your efforts at the leadership
level to protect traditional marriage in our state.
Father John Echert
The threat against religious freedom.
Kriesel's response was not only insulting, but threatening in tone - typical of the intimidation associated with the efforts by politicians to restrict religious freedom and coerce religious leaders into silence regarding moral issues.
I would like to respectfully remind you that the Internal Revenue
Service frowns upon churches and religious organizations devoting
time to influencing legislation. Your admission of the commencement
of a politically involved "campaign" will probably violate several state
and federal tax provisions.
How to respond.
I agree with Fr. Echert that it is a good idea to respectfully voice your concerns and objections to Rep. Kriesel:
Representative John Kriesel know your views on the issue of
the protection of marriage and also let him know your opinion
of his attitude towards Church activism on moral issues, you
can email him at email@example.com, call him at
651-297-9010, or send mail to 451 State Office Bldg, 100
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155
Photo: Lieutenant Colonel Echert - I believe this photo is Fr. Echert during Desert Storm. Source
H/T Eponymous Flower blog
I've just been made aware that American Papist has posted on the issue as well.