Pastor's Page
By Fr. George Welzbacher
October 10, 2010

There are times when one scarcely knows where to begin, one finds so many issues competing all at once in certain statements, widely publicized, made by those, reputedly Catholic, who for all of that attack the Faith. In the Star Tribune of September 28th an instance comes readily to hand. On page one of Section B (focused on the Twin Cities and their surrounding Region) an eye-catching photo, full color, shot from a dramatic angle, shows a middle-aged woman striking a "Here I Stand" pose against the backdrop of St. Mary's Basilica. The woman in the photo, Lucinda Naylor, has worked part-time for fifteen years as a graphic artist for Basilica publications. She was recently suspended from that position by the Basilica's rector, Father John Bauer, because of her Facebook announcement, made two days before, that she planned to construct a spectacular artifact to take the Church to task for its condemnation of same-sex "marriage".  Ms. Naylor asked for discarded copies of the DVD that Archbishop Nienstedt had just sent out to some 400,000 of the state's Catholics, explaining the reasons for Me Church's opposition to such "marriage." (The whole DVD project was paid for by an anonymous donor). Ms. Naylor, who passionately supports "gay marriage", hoped to secure enough copies of the DVD's to integrate them into some kind of massive sculpture, evoking an image either of flame or of water, to suggest that the Holy Spirit would took more benignly on such liaisons. In a subsequent story on October 2nd the Star Tribune reported that volunteers had now stepped forward, offering to help collect such discarded DVD's at the hours of the weekend Masses, by stationing themselves just across the street from the Basilica and from St. Joan of Arc Church in Minneapolis, from Pax Christi Church in Eden Prairie, and from the churches of St. Stanislaus and St. Cecilia in St. Paul. That same week the Letters to the Editor Department of the Star Tribune-I suspect the same was true for the Pioneer Press-bristled for a day or two with attacks on Archbishop Nienstedt, including yet another long philippic from that chronic malcontent Michael Tegeder, pastor of St. Edward parish in Bloomington.

The Churches uncompromising opposition to same-sex marriage is based on two separate lines of thought. 1) the explicit insistence of Scripture that homosexual behavior, if unrepented, will exclude its practitioners from admission to the Kingdom of Heaven [cf Romans 1: 24-32; 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11; I Timothy 1:9-11]; and 2) the common understanding, sustained throughout the course of history, of what marriage is all about.

The historic understanding of marriage is shaped by a complex of four basic facts. Fact #1: babies are necessary for the health and survival of any society. Fact #2: a long process of education and character formation, lasting roughly from fifteen to twenty years, is required if those babies are to develop into adults who are sacrificially loyal to the community and to its values and who possess the skills that will allow them to serve as productive contributors to the community's well-being. Fact #3: since this long- lasting process of character formation and general education is highly demanding, indeed is often exhausting for those who impart it, who will assume so crucially important a task? Those most likely to be willing to do so are those who see in those babies, those children, those adolescents, something of themselves, something that inspires a special love and pride; we are obviously speaking here of these young people's PARENTS. And to encourage the parents to undertake this duty and to sustain them in so arduous, so prolonged and so noble an enterprise, it is in the prime interest of the community to offer to the parents who are willing thus to commit themselves over the course of many years in a stable collaboration some special recognition, with appropriate special status and speciel privileges. Fact #4: Children and adolescents flourish best when they enjoy the benefits that flow from daily contact with BOTH a father AND a mother. Children and adolescents need the warmth and tender love, the sympathetic understanding that are a mother's special gift, but they also need, and particularly is this so for boys, a daily example of what is called manly behavior, that is to say, a disciplined ability to say "NO" to impulse in the interests of long-term achievement and to discharge one's duty even at very high cost. And there will always be a need to provide appropriate correction when a child's--or an adolescent's-behavior is in need of such correction, with as the ultimate goal the young person's coming to possess those attitudes and those habits that will lead to success in adult life.

When you add up together these four basic facts, these four basic needs, what emerges as the answer to those needs is the institution of marriage. And with at least three of these basic needs "gay marriage" is clearly "out of sync."

A final observation: if being a Catholic in reality and not merely in name means in matters of faith and morals acknowledging the Church as the final judge, since, it is only to the Church that Christ has promised the perpetual guidance of the Holy Spirit, the "Spirit of Truth" "who will guide you to the whole truth forever" (John: 14, 15, 16 passim), then to reject, as Ms. Naylor does, the age-old teaching of Christ's Church in matters of sexual morality is to constitute one's own mind, and not the Church, as the final judge-which is to cease to be really Catholic at all, much less to be "as Catholic as the pope".

Here is the story from the Star Tribune.
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Protest of DVD Cost Her a Job
          By: Jim Spencer
          From: Star Tribune 9/28/10

Artist Lucinda Naylor did not think about losing her job when she announced plans to build a protest sculpture using anti-gay marriage DVDs distributed by the Catholic Church. But two days after launching the project, Naylor was suspended from a part-time job she has held for 15 years at Minneapolis' Basilica of St. Mary.

"I suspect suspension is a kind word for termination," Naylor said. "I'll miss the income. But there's times when people need to stand up for what they believe."

Her protest and the recent focus by Minnesota's Catholic bishops on gay marriage combine two explosive topics-politics and religion.

Mailed last week, the DVDs should start arriving at the homes of the state's 400,000 Catholics on Wednesday, church spokesman Dennis McGrath said. The production, in which Archbishop John Nienstedt appears, stresses the need for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Minnesota.

McGrath said neither Nienstedt nor anyone on his staff played any role in the decision to suspend Naylor. The Rev. John Bauer, pastor at St. Mary's, made that call, McGrath said.

But he added that the archdiocese was "supportive" of Bauer's choice.

"If you're going to have someone associated with you going against the main thrust of what you're doing and lobbying against the teachings of the church, it's pretty logical you're going to take some action," McGrath said. "I don't know any organization that wouldn't."

Naylor has drawn support, however, from three Protestant churches in south Minneapolis and a gay-rights group, all of which agreed to help collect copies of the DVD, which Naylor plans to turn into a symbolic protest.

"I'm thinking of something with a water or flame motif that invokes the Holy Spirit," she said.

Naylor said Bauer called her to his office Saturday morning, two days after she launched a Facebook site seeking discarded copies of the DVD.

"He said: 'We've got a problem,"' Naylor recalled.

The pair discussed three options, she said.

"He said we could do nothing and wait for the archbishop to act, but he didn't want to do that. He said I could resign, and I didn't want to do that," Naylor recalled Monday.

They settled on a third option, suspension, she said.

Bauer could not be reached for comment Monday, and the church's managing director did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Naylor, 53, is not sure under what circumstances she can return to a job where she created artwork for church publications and banners.

She said her anger with the church's actions on gay marriage dates to the spring when three friends with gay children protested Nienstedt's interpretation of the Catholic position on homosexuality.

She said the archbishop wrote back to all three, telling them that those who could not agree with "the teachings of the Catholic Church on homosexuality--ought not to participate in the sacramental life of the church." The archbishop added that the mothers' "eternal salvation" could depend on their adopting the church's position on homosexuality. The letter and the DVD "nitpick the soul," Naylor said.

Still she is resolved to remain in the church, fighting for her views.

"I'm as Catholic as the pope," she said. "Why should l have to leave?"
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And after that, there was silence in heaven.
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