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MINNEAPOLIS July 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Although many may claim that striving after sexual purity is passé, the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis is taking a stand behind the unpopular virtue. Under the episcopal leadership of Archbishop John C. Nienstedt, a 9-day novena “for a Rebirth of Chastity and Purity”, beginning today, is being offered throughout the archdiocese.

The novena is being offered for the pope and clergy, teachers, doctors, the married and unmarried, divorced, broken families, the infertile, and “all those who pray and labor for a rebirth of chastity and purity in the world.”

The novena prayer for July 20th says:  “we pray especially for those souls who bear the cross of homosexuality. Lead them to embrace chastity and may your most Precious Blood deliver them from the deceit and the lies of the evil one.”

Likewise, on the 22nd, the prayer says: “Free from the bonds of slavery all those addicted to pornography and all those involved in prostitution.”

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The novena comes only a few months after Archbishop Nienstedt and 12 other American bishops met with Pope Benedict XVI in Rome, where the pope discussed issues of sexual morality and “the contemporary crisis of marriage and the family”.

According to TheCatholicSpirit.com Archbishop Nienstedt highlighted the importance of the pope’s message at the time, saying that the most important point was that it is “a question of justice” that we uphold, for society and for future generations, “the traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.” 

The Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis website states that the novena for purity is in preparation for the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB)’s Natural Family Planning Awareness Week. According to the USCCB website, the dates of NFP Awareness Week highlight the 45th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae, the encyclical that “articulates Catholic beliefs about human sexuality, conjugal love and responsible parenthood.”

Regarding the Church’s stand on sexual purity, Archbishop Nienstedt declared in March, during his visit to Rome: “The church doesn’t say ‘no’ because she’s trying to be authoritarian or she’s trying to make life difficult for us.  She’s saying ‘no’ because in her wisdom through all these ages, through these 2,000 years of experience, she knows what is best for us and how best to call us to Christ.”

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