Outlining his pastoral ministry, his work on immigration, and his prayerful opposition to abortion, the Archbishop of Minneapolis-St. Paul has said that he must speak on controversial issues. His remarks follow activist and media opposition to the Minnesota bishops’ campaign to educate Catholics about the nature of marriage.
“No bishop, and in particular this archbishop, is a ‘single-issue’ teacher,” Archbishop Niendstedt wrote in the Catholic Spirit newspaper. “I was ordained to preach and to teach the full spectrum of the Catholic faith as it is contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
“The media pick and choose what they want to cover in terms of controversial issues. I do not have that luxury,” he added.
Seeking to provide perspective on his work, he listed the various activities of his weekend schedule. He celebrated a Mass with members of a Catholic charismatic movement and met with the parents of the archdiocese’s 62 seminarians.
The archbishop also participated in an all-night prayer vigil with English- and Spanish-speaking parishioners to ask God for a just solution to immigration problems. By coincidence he had previously written local Knights of Columbus councils and the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women to seek their help in calling for federal immigration law reform.
On Sunday morning, he made his 155th pastoral visit to the archdiocesan parish of St. Gerard Majella in Brooklyn Park. Its “festive liturgy” and many parishioners in attendance reminded him of why he became a priest, Archbishop Nienstedt reported.
Later on Sunday, he also attended a prayer service to end abortions at Regions Hospital, a teaching institution with its own abortion unit.
“Naturally, they do not advertise the number of abortions they perform per year, but it is known that
more than 60 percent of these gruesome procedures are performed on minority women and on their unborn children,” the prelate explained.
Finally, the archbishop said, he joined two parents and their three-year-old as she went trick-or-treating. He also handed out candy at his residence.
Earlier this year the bishops of Minnesota mailed nearly 400,000 DVDs to Catholics throughout the state in response to several bills that would redefine civil marriage law to include homosexual partnerships. Archbishop Nienstedt made a video for the DVD in which he emphasized the nature of marriage as a lifelong and potentially procreative union between a man and a woman.
Laws which treated other partnerships as equal to traditional marriage would weaken society’s already damaged foundation, he warned.
The bishops’ defense of marriage drew hostile coverage from several secular media outlets, which highlighted the objections of Catholic dissenters.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune highlighted the efforts of artist Lucinda Naylor, who was suspended as a part-time artist at Minneapolis’ Basilica of St. Mary when she created a Facebook site seeking discarded copies of the DVD to build a wave sculpture.
In his Catholic Spirit column, Archbishop Nienstedt said that like St. Paul he must preach the “full, Catholic message,” whether it is “convenient or inconvenient,” while “constantly teaching and never losing patience.” (2 Timothy 4:2).
“Please pray that I live up to that high standard,” the archbishop concluded.