A Word in Edgewise

Minneapolis’s Basilica of St. Mary rejoices—and has for 15 years—in an annual blessing of the animals. All God’s creatures are welcome. For the past several years, St. Joan of Arc Church in Minneapolis has held an annual Gay Pride prayer service during Twin Cities Pride Week, celebrating our GLBT community. No longer.

This year, Archbishop John Nienstedt, through the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Chancery, forbade this particular event, suggesting instead a generic “peace” service, with no mention of GLBT persons—or rights.

In fact, the Archbishop would lead one to believe that there are no real GLBT individuals, just people who have chosen a “lifestyle” inimical and anathematic to the Church’s—and his—beliefs.

Nienstedt calls homosexuality a “disorder,” further asserting in an issue of The Catholic Spirit, “Those who actively encourage or promote homosexual acts or such activity within a homosexual lifestyle formally cooperate in a grave evil, and, if they do so knowingly and willingly, are guilty of mortal sin”—thus making mortal sinners out of empathetic family and friends.

It goes without saying that Nienstedt, who bars from communion those openly embracing what he terms the GLBT “lifestyle,” adamantly opposes same sex-marriages or unions.

The question of this year’s prayer service was resolved by holding an unofficial lay service in front of St. Joan of Arc on June 25, attended by about 100 GLBT individuals, family members, and allies, including Mayor R.T. Rybak.

It is the Archbishop’s assurance he knows God’s will, and his intransigence on the question of GLBT humanity and equal rights, that give one pause. Unless God, Spirit, the Higher Power, or Chance (though I’m working with belief here) has been outsourcing over the eons, then that Entity made gays as surely as he made botflies, thermal-dwelling tubeworms, woolly lambs, and little green apples.

We’re learning to our cost that we—and I include the Archbishop—have no conception of the interconnectedness of all forms of life on this planet.

A recent study by two Italian scientists indicates a genetic factor that may be a predictor for gay maleness (not “lifestyle”) also is linked to increased fertility in the mother. For all we know, the existence of gays was programmed in as a component of human population growth over the millennia, helping to ensure the continuance of homo saps.

Unproven, yes—but why is it that a heretofore nonreproducing segment of mankind is still around? Why did not Evolution, or at least Efficient Design, cancel them out? We are sadly mistaken to think we can mandate who or what is expendable with impunity.

Meanwhile, the animals will be blessed (and a good thing, too) on October 5, although there will be no room at the inn for gays. My friend’s Lhasa Apso merits a benediction. How about my friend? How about you—and me?

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