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Archbishop Nienstedt Under Investigation

Commonweal reports that Minneapolis-St. Paul Catholic Archbishop John Nienstedt is under a church-instigated investigation for allegedly having sex with at least 10 men [1] who have reportedly signed sworn statements attesting to this. Excerpt:

The archbishop agreed to hire an outside law firm to investigate the accusation. By early 2014, the archdiocese had selected the top-ranked Minneapolis firm of Greene Espel. Nienstedt, along with auxiliary bishops Lee Piché and Andrew Cozzens, flew to Washington, D.C., to inform the apostolic nuncio of the allegations. Over the course of the investigation, lawyers have interviewed current and former associates and employees of Nienstedt—including [former archdiocesan top canon lawyer Jennifer] Haselberger, who resigned in protest in April 2013.

“Based on my interview with Greene Espel—as well as conversations with other interviewees—I believe that the investigators have received about ten sworn statements alleging sexual impropriety on the part of the archbishop dating from his time as a priest in the Archdiocese of Detroit, as Bishop of New Ulm, and while coadjutor and archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis,” Haselberger told me. What’s more, “he also stands accused of retaliating against those who refused his advances or otherwise questioned his conduct.”

The allegations are nothing more than a “personal attack against me due to my unwavering stance on issues consistent with church teaching, such as opposition to so-called same-sex marriage,” Nienstedt said in a written statement. He also suspects that accusers are coming forward because of “difficult decisions” he has made, but, citing privacy laws, he would not elaborate.

“I have never engaged in sexual misconduct and certainly have not made any sexual advances toward anyone,” Nienstedt told me. “The allegations are a decade old or more, prior to my service as archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis,” he continued, emphasizing that “none of the allegations involve minors or illegal or criminal behavior.” The “only accusation,” Nienstedt explained, is of “improper touching (of the person’s neck),” and was made by a former priest.

A bit more from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune here. [2]

I hope the investigation clears the archbishop. If there really are ten sworn statements, however, it’s hard to imagine a conspiracy that broad to smear the archbishop. But who knows anymore with these bishops?

If the investigation does substantiate the allegations, Nienstedt will have given opponents of the Church’s religious freedom a tremendous victory. Why? From Commonweal:


Nienstedt was named an auxiliary bishop of Detroit in 1996, and became bishop of New Ulm, Minnesota, in 2001. Just six years later he was appointed coadjutor of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He was installed as archbishop in 2008. Before long, Nienstedt had established one of the signature issues of his episcopate: homosexuality. His statements [3] on that issue add controversy to the investigation of his own behavior.

“Those who actively encourage or promote homosexual acts…formally cooperate in a grave evil and, if they do so knowingly and willingly, are guilty of mortal sin,” Nienstedt wrote late in 2007 [4]. That echoed a column he wrote the year before—while bishop of New Ulm—cautioning [5]Catholics against watching Brokeback Mountain, a film about two married cowboys who fall for one anotherHe wondered whether Hollywood knew just how dangerous their “agenda” was: “Surely they must be aware that they have turned their backs on God and the standards of God in their quest to make evil look so attractive.”

Before the 2010 midterm elections, Nienstedt turned his attention to the burgeoning gay-marriage movement. He recorded an introduction on a DVD opposing gay marriage, which was sent to four hundred thousand Minnesota Catholics. The same year a Catholic mother wrote to him pleading for acceptance for her gay son. He recommended she consult the Catechism. “Your eternal salvation may well depend upon a conversation [sic] of heart on this topic,” he replied [6]. And in 2012, Nienstedt led a coalition of religious leaders pushing for an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Reportedly, Nienstedt committed $650,000 [7] to those efforts. The amendment failed.

You might be wondering: why would an archbishop with such a compromised past be willing to go out in public leading this kind of crusade? Surely, you might be thinking, the fact that Nienstedt did campaign so vocally against gay rights makes it hard to believe these accusations against him. What kind of bishop would take that kind of crazy risk?

Well, Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Scotland, for one. He was a high-profile campaigner against gay marriage as the Scottish prelate [8], but last year was sacked by Rome [9] after being forced to admit that the allegations of gay sexual misconduct against him were true.

This bears watching. If the Nienstedt accusations prove true, it is hard to think of a worse time for them to come to light, re: the national debate over religious liberty and gay rights.

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85 Comments To "Archbishop Nienstedt Under Investigation"

#1 Comment By jamie On July 3, 2014 @ 7:25 pm

Instead, he ends up just another victim of the inevitable clash of a rigid system of sexual prohibition and unpredictable, ungovernable, human sexuality.

Frank, it’s sex, not prompt critical fission. It’s perfectly predictable and governable — granted, it’s much harder to govern your sexuality when you hate yourself for it.


Mystics speak in difficult to understand language, and about the worst way to read them is through an unapologetically modern(ist) lens.

Well, there’s nothing particularly modern about homosexuality, nor the association of mysticism and amatory writing — viz. Rumi, Mohammed. Accepting a completely non-sexual interpretation of the quoted passage would definitely require a reinterpretation of the concept of “bride” so profound, that I doubt anyone in America is actually married in a sense St. John would recognize.

[Brokeback] is indeed a sad story-one meant to build empathy for this state of affairs. Its meant to get the guillable and the gay-”right” choir to say, “Gee…if only we weren’t so homophobic, look how people like them wouldn’t have to hide their feelings and all these people wouldn’t have been hurt!”

It’s interesting how stories like this, like Anna Karenina, used to be cautionary tales, but love stories are now a form of social critique — society used to be the given, now love is. Seems like that might have started with Brecht, or maybe a postwar Boomer thing, I dunno, it’s interesting.

Being an artist, and having little sympathy for the anti-gay worldview, I am cannot tell you how heartened I am to reflect, daily, on the fact that the side carrying the conceit of “tradition” has no artists. This is worth breaking this down a little bit.

I am extremely doubtful that society historically denigrated homosexuality because of biblical teachings, I just don’t think the Bible was a necessary or sufficient condition. What society had was stories, it had taboos.

So the “traditional” perspective continues to die because it has no story to tell. Fifty years ago, we had narratives about dirty old men, or corruption, or rich dandies seducing young men and turning them to disrepute and ruin, or shadowy conspirators and secret societies. This is what held together the proscription of homosexuality, it was the cultural soul, the bedrock cultural capital of “traditional gender roles.”

These the the stories that held the taboo together– and today even the most die-hard “Family Values” mouthpiece won’t utter such nonsense, it fails to even pass the laugh test with people with half a brain, or who know one gay person. The traditionalist’s story had been drained of all emotion, of all feeling, the heart of the belief, the profound attachment to the belief that “gay = yuck”, is gone, and “gay = deuteronomic and Pauline sin” will just never fly with people, I don’t think it ever has. Social stigma against homosexuality relied on (1) authority’s willingness to tell frightful and obscene lies about gay people and (2) gay people’s fear of correcting these lies. Without these, the entire program falls apart.

#2 Comment By frater On July 3, 2014 @ 7:33 pm

[NFR: What’s going on is that Abp Nienstedt is an American archbishop. Naturally he will get more attention in the American media. — RD]

Yes, that’s why that babies in septic tanks shenanigans from Ireland didn’t impact American media at all.
The case I mentioned is the first of a high ranking cleric (appointed by a saint, no less) to be punished, yet its as if it never happened. So I’m sorry if I seem a bit skeptic with the choices of report.

#3 Comment By Daniel S. On July 3, 2014 @ 7:43 pm

I have a bad habit of believing any allegation, even if there is evidence proving it to be false. I always think there is something true about, more or less. It makes me take gossip and calumny seriously and try not to engage in it.

#4 Comment By Turmarion On July 3, 2014 @ 8:00 pm

Anne, I think there’s a difference between encouraging seminarians (who aren’t all or even mostly same-sex attracted) to have close non-genital relationships with each other and suggesting that as a route for people who actually are struggling with same-sex attraction. Actually, seminarians–to say nothing of priests, laity, heck, everybodydo need to have close, Platonic friends, both of the same and opposite sex. A need for love and friendship is a fundamental need of all humans.

The problem wasn’t encouraging friendships; it was the wink-wink, nudge-nudge, if-it-turns-sexual-no-biggie attitude of the late 60’s and early 70’s. In any case, as you note, there is a lot of hate in the comments. That’s why I think a third way is necessary if the Church is to have any credibility. If the perception is that it’s either adopt the gay lifestyle or be closeted and hated, is it a surprise that so many gays have no interest in even trying to follow the Church’s teaching?

#5 Comment By ginger On July 3, 2014 @ 8:17 pm

“[NFR: What would non-wanton anal sex look like? What about anal sex with a wonton? — RD]”

Ha! And why in the world did the bishop’s letter seem intent on trying to make us visualize it:

“One night after a drinking binge, one man makes a pass at the other and within seconds the latter mounts the former in an act of wanton anal sex.”

I like the mounting part myself (not really). But really, did the sweet little old ladies of the diocese need to read this? They probably could have happily lived out the rest of their pious lives without that visual.

I would have found it just as weird if a bishop wrote a letter detailing a wanton heterosexual mounting/anal, oral, or vaginal sex scene, too, but the homosexual aspect of it does add a whole other dimension to the weirdness of such a thing being written by a bishop and sent out to his diocese.

Reminds me of the time a seminarian at our parish gave a sermon at a holy day mass in which he could not stop talking about pornography and masturbation (I was not very appreciative as I had young children with me. Perhaps such a sermon might be appropriate at a men’s retreat, but not during a mass full of famililies with young children). I mean, he kept saying “pornography” over, and over and over. At least he didn’t say “masturbation” quite as many times. Red flags, anybody?

#6 Comment By Fran Macadam On July 3, 2014 @ 8:32 pm

Lawyering up is such a good use of tithes. How many widow’s mites have been squandered that way?

#7 Comment By ginger On July 3, 2014 @ 8:39 pm

“Ok, a word of defense of the Bishop. It would seem that there were no minors in his, er, peccadillos and thus the only thing he really can be accused of is hypocrisy.”

Well……..there is the allegation that he grabbed the posterior of a boy during Confirmation photos. No charges were brought, but the case has apparently been re-opened [10]

But yes, it does sound like most accusations are being brought by adult men–a fact likely to bring about quite a few sighs of relief by the faithful at this point.

If the allegations are true, though, there is far more here than just more-of-the-usual hypocrisy—there is the the bit about his retaliating against those who dared question his misconduct plus the question of whether there was any kind of unusual relationship with the shuffled child molester Curtis Wehmeyer. Those two aspects do tend to make the situation far more serious than just run-of-the-mill gay bishop hanky-panky with fellow adults.

#8 Comment By Novamama On July 3, 2014 @ 9:03 pm

If someone accused me of cheating on my husband (which I have never done and never would), I think my immediate reaction would be to say “that is completely false!” It would not occur to me to add “and furthermore my supposed lover is an adult and no laws were broken.” That just doesn’t seem like a natural reaction of someone who really never did what they’re accused of having done.

#9 Comment By charles cosimano On July 3, 2014 @ 9:21 pm

[NFR: What would non-wanton anal sex look like? What about anal sex with a wonton? — RD]

If it is possible, a Bishop will try it.

Sounds like their billboards were something that the bright boys in marketing thought up with the idea that they would make people think of their grandparents’ marriages and generate warm feelings of nostalgia. Obviously they generated feelings laughter and contempt which seems to be the Catholic Bishops’ stock in trade.

#10 Comment By Sean Scallon On July 3, 2014 @ 9:23 pm

“While it would seem the height of hypocrisy, let me suggest that even if Nienstedt has engaged in the alleged conduct, his position and his behavior do not undermine the moral force of Catholic doctrine regarding homosexual conduct.”

I’m sure you wish to believe this but let me ask you: Do you think it a coincidence that the advance of same-sex marriage throughout the country has also coincided with continued weakening of the church because of these scandals? Remember what Christ said about clean white tombs filled with rotting corpses? Well you can’t have a moral force that’s undermined by internal corruption.

How are Twin Cities parishoners supposed to react to this? “Well at least it wasn’t with underaged minors.” You’ve got to be kidding me! And this is on top of the investigation into his ahem! lack of enthusiasm at removing sex offenders in the diocese from the priesthood. You have a leader whose own integrity, ethics and honesty is under question not to mention under criminal investigation from the authorities, all sorts of costly litigation oncoming, who emptied the diocese’s coffers in a political campaign as churches were being closed and whose influence is virtually nil morally throughout the rest of the Twin Cities metro and who is seen as something of a joke. If these charges are the result of conspiracy, then make the most of it! Because even nominal Catholics can’t take this kind of embarassing leadership anymore, much less the serious ones.

“The same year a Catholic mother wrote to him pleading for acceptance for her gay son. He recommended she consult the Catechism. “Your eternal salvation may well depend upon a conversation [sic] of heart on this topic.”

So for Nienstadt’s own salvation he’s going to have to recommend to himself (assuming these allegations are true) to consult the same catechism, right? Just remember, if there are homosexual priests there are going to be homosexual bishops too.

[NFR: To second what Sean says up top, it’s true that the sins of men do not make the moral truths the Church teaches false. But they do make those truths more difficult to receive, much less to obey. — RD]

#11 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 3, 2014 @ 9:30 pm

J. Edgar Hoover had a reputation for going after homosexuals harshly… and there is a lingering reputation about why that might have been.

Another common theme is the alcoholic judge who gives drunk drivers the maximum.

Oh, I see every other comment said something like that. Isn’t great when we all agree on something?

#12 Comment By Roland de Chanson On July 3, 2014 @ 9:34 pm

Rod: NFR: What would non-wanton anal sex look like? What about anal sex with a wonton?

That is seriously not funny. I think you are losing it. Are you polishing off the remnants of the Percy weekend bourbon?

It seems that there are more and more homoerotics commenting on these perversion related threads. It is unfortunate that those who cannot distinguish teleologically between a vagina and a rectum should be afforded a venue for their psychopathologies. The blog has begun to suffer therefrom.

Re the topic of the thread: the Church hierarchy has always had a plethora of perverts simply because it denies the basic naturalness of sex. The “presbyterate” is “ontologically” distinguished from the “laity” and elevated thereby above them. They are thus “sexless”. And thus they are in addition to a great degree ontologically inverts.

Thus it attracts those who either fear or hate women. If Nienstedt had been accused of boinking 10 women, he would have at least elicited a sigh of relief from the “sheep”. But then again, women who are attracted to presbyters are probably mentally disturbed anyway.

Thus the corpulent Luther and his corpulent nun.

Let’s hope Nienstedt’s episcopal manor has no undisclosed cisterns.

#13 Comment By dominic1955 On July 3, 2014 @ 9:38 pm

“Well, the comically unfortunate phrase “wanton anal sex” is consistent with a “hanging-by-the-whites-of-his-fingernails closet-case.” Patrick Dennis of Auntie Mame and Little Me fame couldn’t have written it any better. He could also be simply clueless. Or, it could have been ghost-written by a ninny underling.”

Looking the word “wanton” up, it sounds totally appropriate in that context. Only a rube would think they could read queer in between the lines of that.

Of course, its common fare to insinuate that someone is light in the loafers if they can actually use words in a more elevated (however slight) manner than what is expected from your average newspaper or text message.

All that fancy hifalutin’ book learnin’ done turned ya in ta one a dem fancy boys too big fer yer britches!

#14 Comment By dominic1955 On July 3, 2014 @ 9:55 pm


“dominic1955, it’s not either/or, but both and. It is indeed “daft” to “view a profound friendship between two men as needing to have been gay affected”. It’s also true that we tend to view the past through the lens of the present (as indeed we can’t help from doing, to an extent). On the other hand, it’s also true that there actually were same-sex attracted people in the past. I don’t really have an opinion on St. John of the Cross–I don’t know enough on the background nor have I read more than superficially in his oeuvre.”

That’s kind of the point. St. John of the Cross and Cardinal Newman have been dead for an awfully long time. Seeing as no one is living now that knew them and from all the canonization reports, their sanctity was unquestioned, there is no need to ponder if they were SSA because there is no way in hell one could know.

Moderns do the whole wink-wink, nudge-nudge, of there MUST have been a gay sexual relationship between Cardinal Newman and Ambrose St. John. Why? Well, to undercut the Church’s teaching on celibacy and homosexual acts. Otherwise, why even ponder on if any of them were chaste homosexuals? There is no way to know and no way to find out and its quite irrelevant to any serious pious reflection.

“If it could be definitively proved that he was on the absolute straight and narrow, or conversely that he was a three dollar bill, it wouldn’t matter either way to me, nor would it be relevant to his sanctity or his teachings.”

But it can’t, so why even start unless to try to win points for the pro-homosexualist team? It is akin to proposing that St. John of the Cross really had to struggle with the native dress of females in Castile (or where ever) because that really got him going. Who’s going to know and quite frankly, who gives a damn?

“My main point is that IMO O’Halloran is right in suggesting that telling gays that they’re defective goods who need to just deal with it is not the best strategy and that there are approaches that keep within the bounds of Church teaching while being open to the goodness of chaste same-sex relations. Eve Tushnet has written a lot in this regard, too.”

I’m not opposed to that, I’m just pointing out its failed from the start if we propose preposterous things for no apparent reason. What is the point of saying stuff like, “I bet St. John of the Cross had SSA!” There is none and it doesn’t do anyone any good to do so.

For instance, I’m all for married priests-in theory. In practice, hell no. Why? At this point in time in the real world, I see it getting mucked up so bad I’d never advocate for it.

#15 Comment By EngineerScotty On July 3, 2014 @ 10:19 pm

You will know the heart of a preacher by what he says at the pulpit. If he speaks mainly of love and grace, that is what is in his heart. And if he speaks mainly of sin and hellfire, that, too, is what is in his heart.

[NFR: These aren’t mutually exclusive categories. There is nothing loving about refusing to speak of sin. — RD]

#16 Comment By Anne On July 3, 2014 @ 10:31 pm

What reminded me of the advice seminarians got in the 60s wasn’t the suggestion they make close, Platonic friendships (with women in that case), but the emphasis put on such friendships as supposedly necessary extensions of their sexuality. I should have made that more clear. Again, in this case, the talk is about some sort of non-genital expression of sexuality on the part of the same-sex attracted. We assume that means close friendships, but why the emphasis on sexuality? The suggestion may be totally innocent, but I can see how misunderstanings could happen.

None of this is to deny that the Church should do more to help those with SSA fi dernd meaning and close relationships in their lives instead of simply telling them their feelings are disordered so too bad; suffering can be good for people. Oh, joy.

Those comments are stark reminders of how un-Christ-like Christians become when doctrine becomes a dividing line. Not a pretty sight.

#17 Comment By John Roche On July 3, 2014 @ 10:40 pm

When you have elderly gay men, ie a Bishop, threatening concerned church going mothers with damnation while at the same time sleeping with an indeterminate amount of men Rome we have a problem. It severely hampers the Church in having anything relevant to say about any social/sexual issue. I can assume there are many other of these situations. Thank God the sacraments and grace are not contingent upon these people. I feel as if us Catholics have just been left alone with our consciences in many matters. Who among us who is actually sane believes that contraception or having loving relationships between homosexuals imperils our salvation?

[NFR: Pope Francis, for one. Is he crazy? It’s kind of pathetic to call your opponents insane as a way of not having to take them seriously. — RD]

#18 Comment By John Kelley On July 3, 2014 @ 11:08 pm

Nienstedt categorically denies these allegations but then goes on to say that if these things did occur, they did not involve minors or laity and they happened a long time ago. His denial sounds more like a de facto admission.

#19 Comment By HeartRight On July 3, 2014 @ 11:19 pm

Who among us who is actually sane believes that contraception or having loving relationships between homosexuals imperils our salvation?

Anyone who takes Doctrine even slightly serious.

No doubt the corinthian chap who had a relationship with his father’s ex-concubine had a loving relationship with her…

#20 Comment By jaybird On July 3, 2014 @ 11:50 pm

Reminds me of the time a seminarian at our parish gave a sermon at a holy day mass in which he could not stop talking about pornography and masturbation (I was not very appreciative as I had young children with me. Perhaps such a sermon might be appropriate at a men’s retreat, but not during a mass full of famililies with young children). I mean, he kept saying “pornography” over, and over and over. At least he didn’t say “masturbation” quite as many times. Red flags, anybody?

I went to an all-male, Catholic high school. There was one priest in particular who was infamous for his regular anti-masturbation lectures. Like, he had a whole point system where one episode of illicit pud-pulling = 1 venial sin, and thus 10 IPPs = 1 mortal sin, etc., and he’d spend hours of class time talking about it. Now I doubt this point-scale of his was actually a matter of church doctrine, and was most likely something he came up with by himself, but it was a running joke around the school. An ostensibly celibate, middle-aged man who puts that much thought into teenage boys fondling themselves… It was kind of difficult to take anything he said about sex seriously after that.

#21 Comment By Gretchen On July 4, 2014 @ 12:30 am

Exactly, Darth Thulhu. The bishop wanted to ban Brokeback Mountain because he thought it made homosexuality so appealling that it would convert straight guys. The straight guys I knew were just squicked out by it – they weren’t the slightest bit tempted to go try it. So someone who things it’s so alluring it’s going to tempt someone to switch sides is probably already on the other side. I just found it heartbreaking – the story of hopeless true love, similar to Shakespeare in Love.

#22 Comment By William Dalton On July 4, 2014 @ 12:58 am

I will allow the judicial processes of the Catholic Church reach a judgment in Archbishop Nienstedt’s case before venturing one myself. The fact that he has been an outspoken opponent of the gay agenda, inside and out of the Church, however, does not make the accusations less likely to be true, nor does it discredit his stance if they prove to be true.

I suspect that the clergy who are most impelled to be active in defending church doctrine on the issue of homosexuality are those who have personally been scarred by their experience with it. The person who has been burned in a house fire will be the one most adamant about the need to install working smoke alarms. What is discrediting in these allegations is not the fact of so many sexual encounters in his past – it is his present denial, if the allegations are true, and the charge that he worked to undermine the ministry of those who refused his advances. What is lamentable is that he would not have shown the way early in his career to make public his struggle with his sexual desires while vowing, like priests who battle other destructive addictions, to amend his ways, seeking the help of his colleagues to do so.

It is the greatest curse of the “gay rights” movement that it has succeeded in suppressing those organizations which work to help homosexuals overcome their desires and give them the open encouragement they need not to indulge them.

#23 Comment By relstprof On July 4, 2014 @ 2:57 am

Anne says: “Nature seems to trump third ways.”

Yes, this.

Christians can keep trying to craft a teaching that fits a second-tier status for gays, those poor souls afflicted with “same-sex attraction.” Or they can insist that the disciplines of marriage and fidelity also apply to this God-given instantiation of the human.

The tertium quid option doesn’t cut it. Never has.

[NFR: What do you mean “craft a teaching”? This has been the teaching since the beginning, and the New Testament could hardly be more clear. As a matter of moral theology, traditional Christians don’t believe gay marriages can exist, except as a matter of civil law, so how would we insist that the disciplines of marriage apply to something we think cannot be? — RD]

#24 Comment By Anne On July 4, 2014 @ 4:14 am

@William Dalton,

With all due respect, I can’t imagine any priest, much less a bishop, being naive enough to think admitting same-sex attractions publicly would garner anything more than goodwill and a concerted effort by fellow clergy and laymen to help him deal. True, there have been parishes that have stood loyally by parish priests who’ve admitted to being HIV positive, but a high proportion of those laity turn out to reject Church teaching on the sinfulness of homosexual behavior. But experience tells me most devout laymen who accept Church teaching would be wary of any priest with SSA residing in their parish. Even our Pope Emeritus believes homosexuals should not be allowed in the priesthood. One already in that position is literally damned if he does…and even if he doesn’t.

#25 Comment By Anne On July 4, 2014 @ 4:29 am

Oops, that last post should have read I can’t imagine any priest w/ SSA being naive enough to think admitting it WOULDN’T garner anything more than goodwill, etc. ! A great many laymen still find the idea unacceptable.

#26 Comment By JonF On July 4, 2014 @ 10:18 am

Re: But then again, women who are attracted to presbyters are probably mentally disturbed anyway.

Um, Roland, you have just traduced any number of very good (and maybe some not-so-good) matushki, khourias and presbyterai of the Orthodox faith.

#27 Comment By John Roche On July 4, 2014 @ 11:26 am

Rod I may be projecting but one does not go from “who am I to judge” to your salvation depends on the cessation of your same sex relationships. And even of those Catholics, Traditionalist or otherwise who use NFP, which is itself a form of controlling births, how many of them do it to avoid damnation? The Church offers NFP as true sexual health that honors both spouses and the gift of Life itself yes? Not as an avoidance of damnation. You have to be pretty deep into the Lefebrivist world or even Sedevacantism to really preach Hell to married couples using contraception. Ive never seen it and I doubt you have either Rod.

[NFR: It is very much not my place, or anybody’s place (not even the Pope’s), to say who God is and is not going to damn. But we don’t have the right to say that God will surely give us a pass for indulging in some sins. Jesus himself said that when we call our brother a “fool,” we put ourselves in danger of hellfire. — RD]

#28 Comment By John Roche On July 4, 2014 @ 11:36 am

@William Dalton

I am not gay by any means but describing same sex attraction as an “addiction” that must be battled like any other addiction seems a bit odd to me. Do you really believe that same sex attraction is equivalent to alcoholism or drug abuse? And in regards to our Pope Emeritus any clerical authority in the church who bellows against homosexual activity I will now suspect that figure to be guilty of that same attraction/ behavior. I am an orthodox Catholic with absolutely no desire to besmirch the reputation of any figure of the Church and certainly not a Pope but Im sorry that is what Im forced to think nowadays.

#29 Comment By John Roche On July 4, 2014 @ 11:51 am

Rod I never abrogated for myself that right. I just wonder if the Church has almost entirely ceased to threaten its members with damnation for contraception then why should I really believe my soul is in peril if I contracept in a marriage. As an Orthodox Christian I am assuming you you do not believe contraception imperils your salvation but that is a complete assumption on my behalf.

#30 Comment By LaurelhurstLiberal On July 4, 2014 @ 1:06 pm

Regardless of doctrine, isn’t this a terribly common scenario? Ted Haggard , Roy Cohn? It doesn’t mean everyone opposed to gay rights is a closet case, but it isn’t unusual.

#31 Comment By Roland de Chanson On July 4, 2014 @ 2:33 pm


Thanks for the comeuppance! I was thinking in my own little parochial world. I totally forgot about Orthodox, Eastern Catholic and Ordinariate priests. No offense intended.

#32 Comment By wycoff On July 4, 2014 @ 3:02 pm

With regards to Brokeback Mountain, make the good Bishop was warning about the allure of Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway. As a heterosexual man, I know that I was pleasantly surprised with their scenes in the movie.

But seriously, the phrasing in his denial makes me think that there are some truth to the rumors. Maybe he had some liaisons years ago that are being dredged up now. If he’s fighting against the urges, it’s not surprising that he’s fallen off the wagon at times. Catholics don’t expect clergy to live sin free lives, just that they try to do so. It’s an embarrassing story for him and another propaganda victory for the pro-SSM side, but at first blush it doesn’t seem to be that big of a story.

#33 Comment By Richard Parker On July 4, 2014 @ 4:43 pm

“My parents settled the matter for me when I was baptized with all the faculties of newborn baby. It was a good time for the matter to be decided by me.”

I feel the same about my circumcision.

#34 Comment By EngineerScotty On July 4, 2014 @ 11:27 pm

[NFR: These aren’t mutually exclusive categories. There is nothing loving about refusing to speak of sin. — RD]

Hence the word “mainly”. Of course even the best pastors must speak of sin, both from the pulpit and in private counsel. I’m referring to folk, like the subject of this article, who are obsessed by sin, particularly a specific sin.

When your ministry starts to resemble gay porn in its graphic descriptions of sodomy and such… that’s a major red (or pink, if you prefer) flag.

#35 Comment By Urbania On July 8, 2014 @ 10:02 am

I don’t know if the abp is gay but I hope he isn’t. I am a closet bisexual and I hope to stay that way.