St. Paul, Minn., Sep 23, 2010 / 11:56 am
Minnesota's bishops have taken a new step to reach Catholics in their dioceses with the Church's teaching on marriage - by sending out copies of an educational DVD that reaffirms the unchangeable nature of marriage and opposes attempts at redefinition. Archbishop John Nienstedt spoke to Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) on Wednesday about the issue's urgency and the bishops' reasons for speaking out.
“The bishops of the state have an obligation, by ordination, to be teachers,” the Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis told MPR's Tom Crann. “And we all know the state of marriage in our society today,” he continued, citing divorce rates of up to 50 percent, and recounting the exponential growth of fluid arrangements like cohabitation and unwed parenthood. “The state of marriage is not very healthy in our society.”
Archbishop Nienstedt indicated that attempts to redefine marriage contribute significantly to this already rapid breakdown of family structure throughout society. In such a perilous climate, he told MPR, it is especially urgent to affirm what marriage is –in his words, “a commitment for life, a life-giving commitment that is open to the procreation and the raising of children”-- and what it cannot be.
The archbishop's remarks to MPR this week expanded upon a previous statement he made in August, when he explained that the redefinition of marriage by the state represented an overreaching effort by the government, to redefine an institution over which it had no such power.