Minnesota Catholics Oppose Local Bishop December 13, 2010

Minnesota Catholics Oppose Local Bishop

After local Catholic bishops sent out 400,000 DVDs to churchgoers telling them “there should be a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Minnesota,” one group of Catholics decided to fight back. And they brought 3,000 of the DVDs back with them.

The project’s organizer, Bob Radecki, of Burnsville, said the group was denied a meeting with Archbishop John Nienstedt to discuss the DVD controversy. Nienstedt directed them to put their concerns in writing.

In response, Radecki, his wife and a half-dozen like-minded Catholics from various metro parishes created ReturnTheDVD.org, which urged people to send them the DVDs and use the website to donate to causes that aid the poor. He said the group has received more than $10,000 in donations.

“These Catholics feel the church hierarchy’s priorities are misguided and that the DVD mailing was an extreme measure targeting a group of people who deserve the same love, compassion and acceptance that Christ shows each of us,” according to a letter from the group addressed to Nienstedt.

It’s not as big of a statement as publicly leaving the Church altogether would have made, but I like the gesture. Especially in a Church that takes hierarchy so seriously, telling higher-ups that they’re wrong on an issue is incredibly important.

Let’s get more Catholics to do the same thing.

(Thanks to Neil for the link!)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • more like this, please. i accept that most people feel they “need” to have faith of some kind. given that, i’d rather see decent people “of faith” fighting the bigots in their own organizations than watch them pretend like there is no need for housecleaning. the tenets of the Christian faith include compassion, acceptance, and mercy. it’s nice to see that in practice. for a change.

  • Mike in FL

    Minnesota is shaping up to be quite the battleground for gay marriage rights. It’s the home of Tom Emmer and right wing “punk” evangelist Bradlee Dean. I’m glad these folks are speaking up and calling out their church leaders.

  • Trace

    I suspect it will make no difference to the hierarchy, but good for them.

  • flawedprefect

    *shock!* Christians actually ACTING in a Christlike way?! How scandalous! Good on them.

  • Lobar

    Oy. Another case of “Where’s the IRS when you need them?”

  • Richard Wade

    Good for them. The Archbishop’s refusal to meet them face to face seems a little gutless, but at least theoretically he’ll read their statement.

    As Lobar brings up, while it’s breaking the no-tax rules for the church to endorse a political candidate or tell the flock how to vote, does this DVD not constitute a political activity?

  • Anonymous

    Maybe these very nice people will start paying attention to what their Pope is saying, and learning the official stance of the RCC (and it is consistent), and realize that it doesn’t reflect their own values. Oh, and maybe they’d like to take responsibility by reading their Bible too.

    Church isn’t a mooshy amorphous thing you can project your own desires onto. It’s an actual ideology, with real consequences.

  • Cool. Way cool.

    To Richard and Lobar: they’re allowed to discuss issues but can’t endorse a party or candidate.

    Does it show I’ve been a member of AU for a long-assed time? 😀 They watchdog for IRS violations.

  • Robin (not Robyn)

    My partner, who is Catholic, recieved one of these deeveedees, and send it to the returnthedvd.com website. So did his entire family. His mother, who lives in one of the local Catholic-run retirement homes, told us that pretty much every retiree in the place tossed theirs into the trash, and complained about the Church’s priorities.

    During economic hard times, shouldn’t they be spending money helping the poor and disadvantaged, rather than pissing off the members of their congregations who are gay or lesbian? Or have gay or lesbian family members?

    A personal note here: I am currently transitioning from male to female. Once my gender marker has been changed, the Catholic church would have no problems with marrying us in their churches. (Not like that’s going to happen, what with me being a big ol’ atheist and all, but whatever…) But while I’m still (legally) male, our relationship has no standing with them. You see, it’s all about the genitals…

  • Chris

    I think a far more pointed protest would have asked the recipients to return the CD (or a portion of the cover, etc.) to the Church – preferably via the collection plate or tithing envelope in lieu of thier normal weekly contribution.

  • numsix

    Perhaps with all that spare cash to waste, the parishioners should send their money to charities rather than the collection bowl at church.

  • Demonhype

    @ chigagodyke:

    “i’d rather see decent people “of faith” fighting the bigots in their own organizations than watch them pretend like there is no need for housecleaning.”

    Well there’s that and then there’s the public defense/private disavowal of bigots thing. “Well, not all believers are like that, you can’t judge us based on the bigots in our church, even if the bigots are our esteemed leaders and decision makers!” Um, yes, I can, when those bigots speak out and act up and push legislation to deprive others of civil rights and you don’t say a damned thing in public to oppose their bigotry.

    It is great to see believers taking their faith into their own hands and fighting the bigots in their group, rather than just getting pissed at atheists/homosexuals/etc. for noticing the bigots.

    Or for not defending the faith against the bigots. That’s always been a peeve of mine. Look, I’m an atheist, so if I’m arguing with one of your bigots I’m going for blood. I have no interest in defending the “truth” of your faith from the bigot, I’m arguing from my own POV, which is atheistic rather than liberal believer. You want someone to defend Jesus’s honor from Christian bigots, then you need to step in and do it yourself. It’s not my job to defend your faith or the honor of your god.

    So this is a wonderful thing to see, and I hope it happens more and more often!

  • Strad27

    I am an open atheist and I attend Saint Catherine University in Saint Paul, MN as a full time student. After these DVDs were spewed all over my city, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Saint Catherine University has officially adopted a stance countering the views expressed in the DVDs. I am proud to attend a Catholic University that actually practices the concept of love-thy-neighbor and non-discrimination. There are some good organizations and individuals out there still!