Commentary: A Call to Action for Catholics

In 2012, Minnesotans will vote on an amendment to the state constitution that would officially define marriage as an institution between one man and one woman.

The Catholic Church, a tax-exempt institution, is getting heavily involved in the contentious and political debate over this constitutional change.

The Church is throwing its weight behind the proposed amendment. The Archdiocese of Minneapolis/St. Paul, under the leadership of Archbishop Nienstedt, are planning to create committees in every Minnesota Catholic church in an effort to rally support for the anti-marriage amendment.

The Catholic Church has a habit of placing itself on the wrong side of issues that can be traced back for centuries. They are doing it once again in Minnesota. I question what, 20 years from now, people will be saying about this move the Catholic Church has made regarding gay rights? Will it be seen in the same light as those who rallied against the civil rights of African Americans in the 1960’s. Only time will tell.

How can we look to the Catholic Church for moral guidance when it’s own history is dark with sin? Which is more abhorrent in your mind: homosexuality or an international cover-up meant to hide the actions of pedophiles led by the Vatican?

I ask all Catholics to conduct some serious introspection over this issue before participating on these committees. Make your voice known in your church and within your own diocese. Vote with your feet if your priest decides to conduct a sermon on the subject of the amendment or homosexuality. There is no greater teaching of Jesus than social justice.

I was born and raised into a Catholic family. I was educated in a Catholic school. I understand the culture and politics of the Catholic community and I know from my Catholic education and upbringing that what the Archdiocese is doing is wrong.

The Catholic Church is in the process of shooting themselves in the foot. The destructive and divisive politics of Archbishop Nienstedt and every priest who follows his lead are to blame. It is up to the parishioners of church to stand up to Archbishop Nienstedt and tell him what he is doing is wrong.

2012 is going to be a contentious election year in the state of Minnesota with the Presidential election and the constitutional amendment. Millions of dollars will be flowing into the state for and against this amendment. We should be asking ourselves, “What is the church doing to calm the fears and inflammatory rhetoric? How are they creating unity amongst the citizens?”

The Catholic Church must retain it’s focus where it is needed, feeding the poor and sheltering the homeless, not turning it’s back on it’s own parishioners and fostering hatred.

Michael Pfarr, Minneapolis

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