Monday, March 5, 2012

Minnesota Catholics Call on Church Leadership to Withdraw Support of Anti-Marriage Amendment

Note: The following media release was issued earlier today by Catholics for Marriage Equality MN.


Contact: Michael Bayly
Phone: 612-201-4534

Catholics for Marriage Equality Minnesota is calling on Archbishop Nienstedt and all the bishops of Minnesota to follow the lead of Bishop Richard Malone of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, Maine by withdrawing all financial support from the hurtful anti-marriage amendment in Minnesota.

On Friday, March 2, Bishop Malone announced the Catholic hierarchy in Maine would be taking no active role in fundraising, staffing, advertising, or campaigning against marriage equality.

“We are encouraged by Bishop Malone’s decision to place at the center of the Church’s mission in Maine Jesus’ call to care for the poor and marginalized,” said Michael Bayly, Executive Director of Catholics for Marriage Equality MN. “We pray that the bishops here in Minnesota will not only follow the example of Maine but will also be open to the love and commitment embodied in the relationships of committed gay and lesbian couples.”

To this end Catholics for Marriage Equality MN has organized a weekly prayer vigil during the season of Lent. Over 100 people attended last Sunday’s vigil, and organizers anticipate the numbers of attendees to continue to increase. Those who gather bear public witness to the fact that they do not see anything of Jesus’ life or message in Archbishop John Nienstedt’s support of the so-called ‘marriage amendment.’

The group has also started an online petition asking Archbishop Nienstedt to re-focus the energy and resources of the Church away from divisive and unnecessary constitutional amendments back towards the core Catholic teachings of compassion and care for others. The petition can be found at

“We do not wish to see millions of dollars spent on this anti-family amendment,” said Bayly. “The Catholic Church in Minnesota should follow Maine’s lead and withdraw support from this amendment.”


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  2. Thank you for your efforts on this!

  3. This is a Human Rights issue. Rick Santorum and the rest of the far right cannot answer- How does this harm you or affect the public. If the Church wants to speak out on this, then all of your properties, holdings etc. should be taxable. Do not preach social issues from the pulpit!

  4. Actually, Bishop Malone's position has been misrepresented by this press release:

    "Portland, Maine, Mar 9, 2012 / 04:29 am (CNA).- While some media outlets have presented Bishop Richard Malone of Portland’s new pastoral letter on marriage as a sign the Catholic Church in Maine will not back a ballot measure to recognize “gay marriage” in the state, the diocese maintains that is not the case.

    “There will be a ballot question committee, it will be established. We will work closely with that ballot question committee to promote the cause of defending marriage in November,” Brian Souchet, director of the Diocese of Portland’s Office for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, told CNA March 7.

    “We still have a bully pulpit and the media’s still coming to us and we’re preaching the same message that we preached in 2009,” he added.

    The 2009 ballot measure Question 1 passed by a vote of 53 to 47 percent. It overturned the Maine legislature’s law that legally recognized “same-sex marriages” in the state. Advocates of the unions have now secured enough signatures for a 2012 ballot referendum to recognize these unions.

    On March 2, Bishop Malone released his new 22-page pastoral letter “Marriage: Yesterday – Today – Always.”

    But that effort is distinct from political questions, Souchet explained.

    “The pastoral letter is catechesis, pure and simple. People don’t understand properly the significance of marriage in God’s design. We want to make sure they do.”

    “Our diocese, like any other diocese, teaches. We teach all the time. The fact that there happens to be a referendum is a separate issue.”

    The letter grew out of the bishop’s 2006 launch of an initiative to revamp pre-Cana wedding preparation programs. In 2008, he released new program guidelines under the title “Telling Anew the Story of Marriage.”

    The need for the pastoral letter became especially evident after the 2009 referendum said Souchet, who dismissed attempts to portray the letter as “a political document wrapped up in catechesis.”

    If there were no marriage referendum in 2012, the diocese would have released the same document “without the same scrutiny.”

    He also rejected as “wishful thinking” the depiction of the letter as a step back from a referendum fight and criticized bloggers who implied that the diocese had “raised the white flag.”

    There have been some changes in the diocese’s approach to the measure.

    Bishop Malone has said that the diocese will not hold a second collection for the political ballot committee like it did in 2009. He also will not solicit funds from other Catholic bishops for the effort.

    “For one reason, the money just really is not there,” Souchet said.

    He invited Catholics and the general public to read the bishop’s pastoral letter.

    In that letter, Bishop Malone said he intends to reflect upon the “greatness and the beauty of marriage” as an “original gift” of God’s creation, as a vocation, and as “the foundational institution of family and society.”

    The letter is presented at the website"