Next year Minnesotans will decide on whether to approve a constitutional amendment codifying the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, and in effort to promote the ban Archbishop John Nienstedt today released a prayer for the cause of mobilizing fellow Catholics to “defend” the so-called divine “plan for marriage.”
Verbatim from the Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis website, the prayer reads:
Through the powerful intercession of the Holy Family, grant to this local Church the many graces we need to foster, strengthen, and support faith-filled, holy marriages and holy families.
May the vocation of married life, a true calling to share in your own divine and creative life, be recognized by all believers as a source of blessing and joy, and a revelation of your own divine goodness.
Grant to us all the gift of courage to proclaim and defend your plan for marriage, which is the union of one man and one woman in a lifelong, exclusive relationship of loving trust, compassion, and generosity, open to the conception of children.
We make our prayer through Jesus Christ, who is Lord forever and ever. Amen.
In case we were to be in any doubt this prayer should be a motivational one, it is prefaced by a statement from the Archbishop, the first paragraph of which reads:
The current struggle to defend and define marriage within our civil constitution demands a three-fold approach. We must educate our fellow citizens on the meaning and good of marriage. We must actively and resolutely promote widespread participation among our fellow believers in the support of a marriage amendment. And most importantly, we must pray and offer sacrifice for the success of all endeavors that seek to protect and promote marriage.
This continues for another few paragraphs but the general gist is this is not merely an Archbishop addressing an article of faith, but by Nienstedt’s own admission — “We must actively and resolutely promote widespread participation among our fellow believers in the support of a marriage amendment” — it is a call for political action that is wholly unpalatable and deeply questionable.
It behooves us to recall that Minnesota already has a statutory ban on same-sex marriage. The urgency of the Archbishop’s position is, then, quite overblown.
It is not, however, that surprising. Earlier this year the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis issued a call to appoint special committees to “spearhead” a local level effort in support of the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
To be sure it is entirely reasonable that those representing a religion should be allowed a voice, but for a religious leader to mobilize believers into codifying discrimination into a civil constitution on grounds of that faith alone shows us a will to control wider society that is profoundly troubling.
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