A small group of retired priests and a much larger groups of former priests are publicly opposing the Church’s stance on gay marriage.
This occurs in light of a major effort by Archbishop Nienstedt to ensure that Catholic voters vote to protect trraditional marriage.
Minnesota Public radio reports:
Catholics are not united behind the church’s official position, a point made clear today, when a group representing 80 former Catholic priests spoke out against the marriage amendment. They said the amendment violates Christian principles of love and justice.
Also coming forward to oppose the amendment were John Brandes, Tom Garvey and Tim Power, three retired priests who are still part of the church. They also came forward to oppose the amendment, putting them on a collision course with John C. Nienstedt, the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, who last year informed all priests that they could not publicly dissent.
Catholic bishops have made passage of the amendment a top political priority this year, even though Minnesota law already prohibits gay marriage. Proponents of the amendment say it is needed to block a Hennepin County court case that seeks to overturn state law and numerous attempts by Democratic state legislators to legalize gay marriage.
In a letter submitted to the Star Tribune, titled “Catholics of Minnesota you have a choice!” they wrote, “There is not just one way for Catholics to vote in November.”
Their letter describes gays and lesbians as brothers and sisters in Christ, who need allies.
Brandes, 85, served in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for 61 years, including time at the Cathedral of St. Paul, St. Rita’s in Cottage Grove and St. Mark’s in St. Paul. Brandes said he and the two other retired priests want to be respectful of those who hold other views, and at the same time encourage dialogue about the diversity of Catholic views.
Garvey, ordained in 1957, served the Archdiocese for 40 years including at St. Luke’s in St. Paul and St. Frances Cabrini in Minneapolis. He said his views on homosexuality changed decades ago after he watched an interview with a lesbian woman who described how she was different. “She began to cry convulsively and I said, ‘We’ve got the wrong position on this,’ ” Garvey recalled.
Power, ordained in 1966, served at St. Thomas the Apostle in Minneapolis and St. Timothy’s in Blaine before retiring after 24 years at Pax Christie in Eden Prairie. Power calls their letter “a small counterbalance” to the Church’s official position on the amendment.
Power said he was compelled to speak out by the collective silence of other priests.
“People [were] saying to me, ‘Where is the voice of the priests that believe the way we do? They can’t all believe the party line,’ “he said. “And I’m thinking too, ‘Yeah, where are they?’ That’s us.”
The one priest said he changed his mind on the issue because he saw a video with a woman crying. He reportedly said his views on homosexuality changed after he watched an interview with a lesbian woman who described how she was different. “She began to cry convulsively and I said, ‘We’ve got the wrong position on this,’ ” Garvey recalled.
Well, at least it was an intellectually based decision.