Thursday, October 25, 2012

Meanwhile in Minnesota

The big story about Minnesota's proposed "Prop8" style amendment is how it is ripping apart the Roman Catholic community.  There is a robust campaign of Catholics against the amendment, and although Archbishop Nienstedt has tried to silence them, even some priests have been brave enough to speak out.

In the Minneapolis Star Tribune, a recent article highlights this conflict in the story of one family:
The Seiverts' shift away from the church began in the fall of 2008, when their college-age daughter told them she was a lesbian. As the family began adjusting to the news, the Seiverts became increasingly uncomfortable with the church's preaching against same-sex marriage. In September, they sent their pastor a letter explaining they were leaving the parish. Soon after, the priest sent back a letter, calling same-sex attraction a "disorder" similar to "alcoholism ... or clinical depression, or kleptomania."....
Jason Adkins, executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, said that while Catholics might struggle with the amendment for personal reasons, when they hear from the church directly, "they recognize that the Catholic position is not ... meant to be mean-spirited or bigoted toward our fellow brothers and sisters with same-sex attraction."
Okay, put these together.  "We don't mean to be mean-spirited, but being gay is a disorder."  HELLO?
When [their daughter] Ana finally revealed the secret she'd been carrying, Greg Seivert said, "She was just transformed. When she was able to name her loving feelings for another woman, she was just filled with energy; there was brightness in her eyes. She felt like she was home." 
Seivert paused briefly, his eyes tearing slightly. "And boy, how could I say no to that, to say no and turn that light off?" 
....[As their priest] Rudolphs activity intensified, so too did the Seiverts' alienation from their church. Veronica Seivert wanted to meet with Rudolph and tell him of their decision to leave, but Greg Seivert didn't want a confrontation. Instead, they decided to send a letter and a final stewardship check.
That's more generous than I would have been.
Rudolph responded days later with a two-page letter, warning that those who act on same-sex attraction face "a spiritual dead end." With God's help, he wrote, Catholics are called on to help those "overcome disordered patterns in our life." 
The Seiverts were aghast. To this day they have not shared the letter with their daughter. 
"To tell us our daughter, who she is, is spiritual death," Veronica Seivert said. "I totally refuse to believe that."
Not surprising, given that Abp Nienstedt has told parents they must abandon their gay children for the sake of their souls.  It's really a corruption of the faith.
The experience has hardened the Seivert family's attitude on the proposed marriage amendment.
And driven them out of the church to boot.  There's a lot of conflict now amongst Catholics in Minnesota, many of whom openly oppose the amendment,  and anger at the activities of the archdiocese and its efforts to tell children to hate themselves or their parents.  And of course, collateral damage , for example, denying charities support if they have even a remote affiliation to equality supporters.

We've been to a couple of friendly Episcopal churches in Minneapolis/St Paul:  St Christopher's and St Mark's Cathedral.  Seems to me  that any Episocpalians in MN ought to invite their Catholic neighbors to go to church with them.


dr.primrose said...

Research now shows that most of increasing support for same-sex marriage comes from older voters changing their minds, not younger people coming into the voting population -- Changed minds, not young voters, boost same-sex marriage support. The L.A. Times story says in part:

"Increasingly, Americans are moving toward supporting legal recognition of same-sex marriages, a trend driven not by younger people aging into the voting population, but by those already over 18 changing their minds, according to a new study.
The research, reported Thursday by the centrist Third Way think tank, was an analysis of 98 separate surveys on same-sex marriage.

"The think tank found that 75% of the increase in support for gay marriage has come from Americans reconsidering the issue. Only one-quarter of the change comes from young people coming of voting age.

"That finding defies conventional wisdom, which suggests that more progressive-minded youths had slowly been overwhelming the opinions of conservative older voters on the issue. It helps explain how same-sex marriage has prospects of gaining popular support this year, after voters in recent years consistently rejected state ballot measures to recognize such marriages."

JCF said...

[Wonderful analysis, dr p!]

That's a powerful story, IT.

To all "can't take it anymore" RCs:

The Episcopal Church Welcomes You!