Saturday, October 9, 2010

Bishop of the Week: Archbishop John Nienstedt

As I began to read the article below from the NCRegister, this quote from Saint Thomas came to mind. To be more specific I thought of this part of the quote:
"Now it is manifest that he who adheres to the teaching of the Church, as to an infallible rule, assents to whatever the Church teaches; otherwise, if, of the things taught by the Church, he holds what he chooses to hold, and rejects what he chooses to reject, he no longer adheres to the teaching of the Church as to an infallible rule, but to his own will. Hence it is evident that a heretic who obstinately disbelieves one article of faith, is not prepared to follow the teaching of the Church in all things; but if he is not obstinate, he is no longer in heresy but only in error. Therefore it is clear that such a heretic with regard to one article has no faith in the other articles, but only a kind of opinion in accordance with his own will."
Quite simply, I still don't understand the whole "cafeteria Catholic" thing. If you believe that Christ spoke to Peter and said, "And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven." then it's all pretty cut and dry.

Christ established His Church with Peter. If you believe that He established His Church at that moment than you probably know that That Church comes down to us to the present day through apostolic succession and that He promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. And let's face it, God doesn't lie.

Now on to the Bishop of the Week! Archbishop John Nienstedt was saying Mass at Saint John's University Abbey Church when protestors attempted to take the focus of the Mass and transform it into something other than God. Here's part of the story (read the rest here!):

Homosexual Activists Confront Archbishop at College Mass

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. — When St. Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt was invited to celebrate Mass at St. John’s University’s Abbey Church on Sept. 26, the last thing he expected was a protest.

A protest is what he got.

In response, the archbishop upheld Church teaching, just as his predecessor Archbishop Harry Flynn did, by denying homosexual activists holy Communion and choosing to bless them instead.

According to St. John’s University spokesman Michael Hemmesch, the archbishop had been invited to celebrate Mass by the university’s president, Father Robert Koopman. Upon his arrival for Mass, said archdiocesan spokesman Dennis McGrath, the archbishop was informed by Koopman that there were many in attendance who were wearing rainbow pins, buttons, ribbons and sashes.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has a policy in place that was first instituted by Archbishop Flynn and has been continued by Archbishop Nienstedt to deny the Eucharist to those who use Communion as a time for a political statement or protest.

According to the university’s student newspaper, The Record, the protest was organized by senior Ana Seivert, educational liaison for People Representing the Sexual Minority (PRiSM), who used e-mail to rally the university-sanctioned organization.

The Mass took place at the conclusion of the campus’ “Coming Out Week” activities. A group of approximately 25 students, staff and religious attended the Mass wearing rainbow paraphernalia.

“The Eucharist is a sacred time, and the Church does not permit someone to use the reception of Communion as a backdrop or stage for protests,” explained McGrath, director of communications for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. “The Vatican has spoken on that, and this is just a continuation of that policy.”

Archbishop Nienstedt was traveling out of the country and unavailable for comment. Diocese of St. Cloud Bishop John Kinney, where the incident took place, was unavailable for comment.

“We did not act in a political manner,” said Elizabeth Gleich, vice president of PRiSM via e-mail. “The second Archbishop Nienstedt denied us Communion he made it political.”

McGrath noted that nothing the archbishop did was “political,” but that he was merely following Church teaching.

In fact, PRiSM’s Seivert told The Record, “We did this because we needed to … make a statement.”

Read the entire article here.
It's disturbing to think of men and women using the Mass as a political statement.

Yet perhaps even more disturbing is that the article goes on to say that following the Mass Benedictine Father Rene McGraw offered Mass for those students that had been refused communion by the archbishop... Way to go McGraw. Passing out communion to students who were admittedly trying to use a Mass for their own political purposes sounds like a great idea... I wouldn't want to explain that to God...


  1. These students make my blood boil. CSB/SJU is unfortunately my alma mater, (not that it was all bad, daily mass and LoTH was nice,and my education was great). But I am not surprised by either the student's actions or Fr. McGraw's, (though I did not know him personally). Much of this thinking is prevalent at the school and they teach it to poorly formed college students who unfortunately believe what they hear, and then think they are "educated" when they repeat the things they "learned." =(

    God Bless Archbishop Neinstedt, he was and will be my bishop!

  2. Wow. I mean, I'm as pro-gay rights as they get, but what the archbishop did was completely within his rights to do.

    A church can make/enforce policies as it so sees fit. The state has no right to interfere (barring practices that are downright abusive/illegal), just as no church has the right to dictate secular/state policy. Seems these students need a reminder about what separation of church and state truly means!


I love comments and I read every single comment that comes in (and I try to respond when the little ones aren't distracting me to the point that it's impossible!). Please show kindness to each other and our family in the comment box. After all, we're all real people on the other side of the screen!