New Catholic Bishop Expected to Bring Orthodoxy and Opposition to Homosexual Agenda to Minneapolis
By Peter J. Smith
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota, June 5, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The installation of a new Catholic archbishop known for his orthodoxy has liberal Catholics and homosexual activists fraught with worry that their novel creeds will no longer find welcome in the Minneapolis-St. Paul diocese.
Bishop John Nienstedt has been appointed coadjutor archbishop, or archbishop in waiting of Minneapolis, and will share duties with current Archbishop Harry Flynn after his Welcoming Mass on Friday, June 29. Next year he will take over the administration of Archbishop Flynn, known for its ambiguous attitude toward open dissent from Catholic moral teachings, especially by homosexual activists. Flynn will have reached the mandatory retirement age then.
Nienstedt, the current bishop of New Ulm, however has been known as a defender of orthodox teachings in his diocese, and angered homosexual activists by teaching against homosexual behavior and his support for the Minnesota constitutional amendment banning same-sex “marriage.”
In 2004, he joined the eight other Catholic bishops in spearheading a campaign for a constitutional amendment defining marriage strictly as between a man and a woman and prohibiting any legal equivalent like civil unions.
Nienstedt wrote then in a pastoral letter that marriage could not be contracted between same-sex couples on the basis that “the nature of the marital relationship demands the establishment of a life-long commitment between one man and one woman that is fundamentally open to procreation and the upbringing of children within a bond of sexual complimentarity."
Marriage is not an institution based on “a desire for pleasure, mutual affirmation or even intimacy” but requires that the partners “intend the ends of marriage itself,” the procreation of children. Nienstedt wrote this requirement is biologically impossible for homosexual acts.
According to the Star Tribune, Nienstedt has opposed women’s ordination, and believes that homosexual tendencies are not biological, but largely derived from childhood psychological trauma. Nienstedt has also urged Catholics to be more open to having children and abandon the prevailing “contraceptive mentality.”
However when asked about whether he is “liberal” or “conservative”, Nienstedt rejected political classifications or criticism of the current archbishop.
"I do not come as a politician but as a priest, as one who sees his life as being a bridge between God and his people," Nienstedt told the Star Tribune. “I do not come as a CEO, but as a pastor, as one who intends to teach the truth, to celebrate the sacraments, and to shepherd the people of God in the ways of Jesus Christ so that they might one day inherit eternal life.”
Nevertheless, Nienstedt will have to address the whole gamut of problems created during Archbishop Flynn’s administration, from the abysmal catechesis of Catholics to current diocesan policies. Among them is the controversial VIRTUS sex-ed program instituted by Flynn that includes the Talking About Touching (TAT) program endorsed by homosexual activists and Planned Parenthood. Parents objected to it as too sexually explicit for children, but Flynn brooked no opposition and even silenced and removed one outspoken VIRTUS/TAT critic, Fr. Robert Altier, from his parish ministry after the priest denounced the program for sexualizing children and placing on them the burden of safety rather than on adults.
Flynn’s archdiocese used to be popular with the homosexual activist Rainbow Sash Movement, whose members every year don the colors of the rainbow on Pentecost Sunday and receive Holy Communion in defiance of the Church’s moral teachings. The RSM even sent Flynn a personal “thank you” in 2004 for supporting their agenda. However, after that Flynn switched gears and told parishes in 2005 to withdraw the welcome mat and not give the RSM activists Communion, a message he also gave to the homosexual activist New Ways Ministry.
While both conservatives and liberals may hope (or fear) Nienstedt will make a dramatic clean-sweep of the archdiocese, this seems unlikely. The bishop’s words seem to indicate he will make no policy changes unless driven by absolute necessity within the next year to give time for the people to get used to him. Most notably will be the change in personality, and the fresh air of orthodoxy he brings with him to an archdiocese stultified by confusion on the most basic of moral issues.
A call to the Archbishop’s secretary confirms that the Welcoming Mass for Nienstedt will take place on Friday, June 29, 2007, 2PM at the Cathedral of St. Paul.