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Some Minn. priests differ with Catholic church over marriage amendment


Retired Catholic priests Fr. John Brandes, Fr. Timothy Power and Fr. Thomas Garvey, left to right, wrote a letter to the Star Tribune expressing their opposition to a constitutional marriage amendment that would deny same-sex couples the right to marry. The letter, which was not published, urged Minnesota Catholics to vote against the amendment. The priests were photographed Thursday, May 17, 2012 near the Lake Harriet bandshell in Minneapolis. (MPR Photo/Jennifer Simonson)

As Minnesota voters prepare to go to the polls this fall, the Catholic Church has mounted a major effort to convince them to approve a constitutional amendment that would only allow marriage between men and women.

But Catholics are not united behind the church’s official position, a point made clear today, when a group representing 80 former Catholic priests spoke out against the marriage amendment. They said the amendment violates Christian principles of love and justice.

Also coming forward to oppose the amendment were John Brandes, Tom Garvey and Tim Power, three retired priests who are still part of the church. They also came forward to oppose the amendment, putting them on a collision course with John C. Nienstedt, the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, who last year informed all priests that they could not publicly dissent.

Catholic bishops have made passage of the amendment a top political priority this year, even though Minnesota law already prohibits gay marriage. Proponents of the amendment say it is needed to block a Hennepin County court case that seeks to overturn state law and numerous attempts by Democratic state legislators to legalize gay marriage.

In a letter submitted to the Star Tribune, titled “Catholics of Minnesota you have a choice!” they wrote, “There is not just one way for Catholics to vote in November.”

Their letter describes gays and lesbians as brothers and sisters in Christ, who need allies. [More]


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  1. Kane Elysee says:

    What about this: The gay lobby doesnt want to redefine marriage as much as the strive to redefine promiscuity.

  2. Harrison2253 says:

    Legalizing gay marriage legitimizes sodomy a perverse act against nature and thats putting it nicely. So here we have some older priests who apparrntly think thats OK. Its not OK and it never will be OK. You don’t teach little kids that this OK but this is exactly whats happening, even our president thinks so. I never thought I’d see the day grown adults would condone something like this but here we are.

    • Fr. John French OSB says:

      What should we do with these sodomites as you call them? Send them away to an island…arrest them…stone them? Perhaps.deal with them as Jesus taught us to deal with them…oh never mind…:He never mentioned them. I guess we have to love them. He did command that!

      • Elaine says:

        Yes, Jesus did respond to them, He told them to “repent and sin no more.”
        He said,” Love the sinner, but hate the sin.”
        Confession needs to be spoken about at Mass more often, then people would get the notion that there is sin in this world and we all need to repent.

  3. Mark says:

    Signs of our times. Very sad that priests and nuns have lost their faith in support of the sin of Sodomy. I pray for these priests and nuns who have been indoctrinated into secular humanism and pseudo social justice apart from the fullness of God’s truth revealed through His Church. May God have mercy.

  4. John says:

    Jesus is very clear about what is marriage, reminding God’s Will and intention at the origin, and it’s about a man and a woman, not two guys nor two women: “But from the beginning of creation, God MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE.FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER,AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Mark 10: 6-9)

  5. vicki says:

    Elizabeth: It makes me angry that people judge each other before judging themselves. I am guilty of it too. We should just love and forgive these priests and let the Lord be the one to pass judgement. I am reading a book right now called THE BOY WHO MET JESUS and in it in his near death experience he said the Lord told him to get to heaven one must have a true and PURE heart, love one another and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. I guess we must pray for these priests but love them too

  6. Anthony says:

    No fool like an old fool! Are these clergy gay themselves? Makes one wonder doesn’t it!

  7. Karen C says:

    We must pray for these old rebellious priests, but also rejoice for the many new, young, vibrant, joy-filled priests who love the Catholic Faith and who humbly submit to the authority of the Magisterium. They are the future face of the priesthood. A new springtime is dawning in the Church. Praise God!

  8. Therese says:

    Just a few more heretical priests. Why even bother to give them publicity. They do not deserve it. All they deserve is a good defocking.

  9. Joseph Johnson says:

    I think the Biblical story of Sodom and Gommorah is quite explicit about God’s law against homosexuality. The story specifically states that God destoyed both cities because of the sin of homosexuality.

    -Joseph Johnson

    • Carl says:

      Well, Joseph, you’ve got the story of Sodom wrong. Especially the “specifically” part. You should read Helminiak’s little piece on this very blog published a few days ago.

      • Richard Andrew says:


        Helminiak’s “little piece” as you call it, is itself full of errors, both theological and linguistic.

  10. Dora says:

    Lord, we invoke your Divine Justice and Your Divine Mercy upon all priests, consecrated, religious who are sinning and leading others into sin, especially those who are pro-homosexual sin and pro-abortion. We especially ask Your Mercy on all those who are perverting Your Gospel and are in the state of mortal sin and are in danger of losing their immortal souls. Lord, have mercy on us and on the whole world!

  11. Paul says:

    Never married or had children of their own, and in their geriatric bitterness want to be damned sure others can’t either.

    If they understood love – ‘tween any two people, and that love begets love – that is what matters. No married couple go to bed get intimate with the intention of children every single time. Many can’t have children and on and on. It’s not all about sex. But that’s what happens with an Augustine. If these guys had gotten married, been allowed to which they are not, especially had their own children, been far less likelihood of so many being abused. And re traumatised and the cover up. Yes it’s all true.

    Why did, don’t they get off their butts and speak openly about abuse and cover up ? Cause if they had, do – they are moved too. Yes that happened – and happens too.

    No, I am not anti Catholic. I am very much a practicing Catholic. One of the few things they did not succeed in taking – faith gifted me by good parents. And yes many good priests and religious too. Survivor of serious abuses too.

    I am sick at heart though of the boundless hypocrisy of these people. And you can be sure at least one of those three is gay or bisexual.

    Pant and rant over.

    This seems to be very much a US thing. You’re all nuts over there ;-)

    • Ronnie says:

      If these Priests had married the homosexual sex abuse scandal wouldn’t have occured???…Are you serious? The majority of abuse was male on male and less than 5% was pedophilia. The rest was homosexual abuse on teenage boys and young men. So therefore, what should we do, come out for “gay marriage”for these Priests?

    • Tardis says:

      “If these guys had gotten married, been allowed to which they are not, especially had their own children, been far less likelihood of so many being abused.”

      By the same token, we should allow schoolteachers and university football coaches to marry and have chil— wait, nevermind

  12. Recovering Catholic says:

    Freedom of conscience is a “right.” I may not agree with what someone else believes is just, but I have a “duty” to allow them to go with their conscience — “Pacem in Teris,” Encyclical of Pope John XXIII on Establishing Universal Peace in Truth, Justice, Charity, and Liberty, April 11, 1963.

  13. Laurie says:

    Come Lord Jesus!… and shorten the time of your arrrival because otherwise even the elect will be deceived.

  14. Gary Lockhart says:

    Time for these dinosaurs masquerading as Priests to brush up on Scripture, for starters:

    “Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, Nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

  15. James says:

    Notice that they are old and effeminate. Fortunately most new priests are not. Let’s keep traditional marriage while we still can.

  16. will says:

    what other teachings of the Church are these pro-homo priests in contradiction? married-homo priests? women priests? contraception? no confession?

  17. Bob says:

    True love is about helping people get to Heaven. Having sex with someone of your own sex will not help a person get to Heaven. That is why the Catholic Church is against it; they care about souls. Sex is for the purpose of reproduction, period. Get over it. It started in the sixties with “if it feels good do it”, straight from the devil to help people fall headlong into hell for eternity.

    This is not our home; Heaven is our home. Let’s focus on that and not on temporary sinful pleasure. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that we are here to seek pleasure, but quite the opposite. We are to forget ourselves and to help Jesus to save souls.

    • Diane says:

      I wonder how many of these priests are gay themselves. Given the takeover by the “”lavender mafia’ over the years of most seminaries. I read one report a few years ago that said one entire seminary . of Jesuits lost about a quarter of the priest died from AIDS. Also .. the sex abuse scandal as not pedophilia considering 90 percent of the abuse cases were man on boy .. that is pederasty a homosexual perversion. But who is keep track hey. The priests of the BOOMER generation reflect the offal that WAS that generation tendency towards confusing LOVE with a free for all do anything you damn well please if it feels good philosophy. In the process, the Church, it’s teachings, and DOG himself were thrown out the door in favor of 60s cultural marxism .. that is not LOVE and tolerance .. that is the destruction of society and a total perversion of what LOVE means. Gays often forget hetrosexuals are not allowed sex outside marriage either..if memory SERVES that is a BIG sin along with homosexuality.

  18. Suz says:

    It’s time for our bishops to take a stand. These priests need to be excomunicated as an example. We cannot have priests openly defying their bishops and getting away with it! Too many souls at stake!

  19. Joan says:

    Well said Lou!

  20. Elizabeth says:

    Vicki – the Catholic Church NEVER flip flops. There can be a huge divide between the official teachings of the Church and the individual beliefs of her members, which leads to much confusion. These two priests are dissenters from the very faith and Church they are espoused to. They have placed their very souls in great peril in causing this scandal but notice thier age. They are part of the grey haired original revolutionaries that worked to tear down our beautiful Church after Vatican II. They are a dying breed withering on the vine not grafted to the True Vine are are finding themselves more and more irrevelent.

  21. Lou says:

    It’s too bad these priests don’t even know their own faith. They think they are being compassionate, but are leading people with homosexual tendencies on a path to hell. They should be compassionate and teach these lovely men and women what Jesus taught instead. We could use some saints that have same sex attraction and learned to deny their sinful inclinations and carry the cross of Christ. We all need to deny ourselves in huge ways in order to find the narrow path. It’s difficult, but brings true joy and eternal salvation. Jesus and the saints will help us carry our crosses, no matter what they are. God bless these priests and all of us.

  22. vicki says:

    so much for hate the sin but love the sinner. sometime I think the catholic church flip flops alot. same with miracles; they tell people believe but when an apparation happens it takes the church years and years to sit in rome while they have their pow wow to decide if ordinary people are sane or not.


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