Friday, January 20, 2012

Minnesota, Catholic Church, Marriage Amendment: Tom Roberts Updates the Story

I just mentioned Michael Bayly in my previous posting about Phil Ewing's Blue-Eyed Ennis site.  Michael's contributions to the Catholic blogosphere also received well-deserved notice yesterday in something Tom Roberts posted at the National Catholic Reporter site.  

As I mentioned midweek, in Minnesota right now, where the Catholic bishops of the state have done everything possible to turn the Catholic church into a lean, mean political machine to help pass a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage, the state's top prelate, Archbishop John Nienstedt, continues to issue threats to punish any priests who refuse to toe the church's anti-gay party line.  One doughty priest in the area, Fr. Michael Tegeder, has refused to shut up about his discomfort at seeing the Catholic church turn itself into a political machine.

I blogged about Fr. Tegeder, who first began challenging the transformation of his state's Catholic community into a political machine, back in October 2010.  At that time, Fr. Tegeder was raising pointed questions about the choice of the Catholic bishops of Minnesota to take what appears to have been a large sum of money from an unnamed donor(s) to create an expensive c.d. that was then mailed to every Catholic household in the state, to reinforce the message that the Catholic church stands against same-sex marriage.

This video went out on the eve of the state's gubernatorial election, in which same-sex marriage was never a significant issue, but in which a single gubernatorial candidate, Republican Tom Emmer, was on the books vocally opposing same-sex marriage.  And so the bishops' choice to send out this video was widely regarded (in my view, correctly so) as a form of political lobbying for Emmer--hence the concern that Catholic bishops in many places today are choosing to turn the Catholic church into a partisan political machine, one with a specifically anti-gay intent.

Tom Roberts' article updates the story of Fr. Tegeder's continuing opposition to this politicization of his state's Catholic church.  And at the end of the article, Roberts provides a number of links to sites with valuable resources for anyone seeking to follow this story.  These links include Michael Bayly's Progressive Catholic Voice site.

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