St. Joan of Arc parish Minneapolis, determined to change Church's homosexual teaching


#1

wcco.com/localnews/local_story_349125218.html

**Gay Ministry In Minneapolis At Crossroads


Dec 14, 2004 11:50 am US/Central

Minneapolis (AP) The two visitors to the meeting were quick with their comments – and their exit moments later. Gays have no place in the church, they said. Stop making trouble.

Then they left the gathering of gay and lesbian parishioners at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in south Minneapolis, a wave of confusion and anger closing in behind as the others watched them leave.

“I try not to listen to that ****,” a lesbian parishioner said as she relayed the conversation to others a few moments later. She started to say something else but then, shaken, stopped.

The encounter at St. Joan’s last month, brief as it was, was like a window into the soul of the Roman Catholic Church today. The tension among straight and gay Catholics has become a persistent and personal one illustrating both the rising power of the American gay rights movement and the nation’s rightward shift on social issues.

“I really think this is part of a much larger struggle,” the Rev. George Wertin, the pastor at St. Joan’s, told the gay and lesbian parishioners at last month’s meeting. He then referred to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s that helped overturn discriminatory laws. “What happened for black people has to happen now for a new group of people.”

The conflict in the Twin Cities among Catholics has flowed beyond St. Joan’s of late. Twice this year people have protested at the Cathedral of St. Paul, the archdiocese’s home parish, including a group known as the Ushers of the Eucharist whose members knelt in church aisles to block members of a homosexual advocacy group known as the Rainbow Sash Movement from participating in mass.

And the road ahead for St. Joan’s and other parishes sympathetic to gay and lesbian causes remains as uncertain as ever.

Wertin was ordered in mid-October to remove extensive Gay Pride material from his church’s Web site after an anonymous complaint to church authorities. A directive from the Vatican was delivered in person by two bishops. The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis also told the church to stop allowing the unordained to speak during mass, a long-standing practice at St. Joan’s in which guest speakers talk about everything from scripture to American history to overseas missionary work to homosexuality.

The consequence for future violations could mean removal of Wertin, St. Joan’s longtime senior priest, and installation of a replacement chosen by the archdiocese.

The archdiocese distributed a statement several weeks ago that called on St. Joan’s to return to more traditional practices: “Pope John Paul II has announced the coming liturgical year as ‘The Year of The Eucharist’ and as part of that observance has called for 'unity of purpose and commonality of practice,”’ the statement read.

Still, one of St. Joan’s more vocal critics says it’s hard to see that much has changed at the parish since the directive was handed down.

St. Joan’s Web site still carries an abundant amount of information for gay and lesbian Catholics, and also a link to a Web site for gay dating that promises, among other things, “romance.”

“It seems to me the only thing they pulled off the Web site (was a photograph of the Gay Pride week),” said Al Matt, editor of the Wanderer, a Twin Cities Catholic newspaper that takes a decidedly orthodox posture and is a longtime nemesis to the Twin Cities archdiocese from the polar opposite ideological spectrum of St. Joan’s.

St. Joan’s has been censured before. Kathy Itzin, a religious education coordinator at the parish, was denied an award from the archdiocese last year because she is a lesbian in a committed relationship. Flynn withdrew the award after Catholic Parents Online complained to him in a letter. That decision led to a protest by about 200 church members in favor of Itzin.


#2

As for Catholic teaching on homosexuality, gays and lesbians are welcome to full participation in the Catholic mass as long as they are celibate. The same teaching holds true for heterosexuals who are not married. Same-sex unions are forbidden, and priests must be celibate, regardless of sexual orientation.

That falls short for Catholics such as Michael Reinbold. Born into the church, he left as a young adult when he believed Catholic teachings excluded him. He said that about the time he was in college and studied church history, he realized “this is not what I want to belong to. So I left.”

Years later, his body succumbing to an HIV infection, Reinbold accepted an invitation from his sister to attend Easter service at St. Joan of Arc. “We were in for such a surprise at St. Joan’s,” he said.

The church bulletin listed events for the gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people. The priest only occasionally delivered the homily himself, allowing guests instead to speak during the part of the mass in which the parishioners are instructed on how to live.

“It was exciting,” said Reinbold. “It was like going to a place of enlightenment. I joined right away in probably one of the most crucial times in my life, when I needed spiritual awakening.”

It’s not hard to find people at St. Joan’s who, like Reinbold, say the things they found at St. Joan’s drew them back to the Catholic Church after years away.

Reinbold sings in the choir and writes for the parish’s Web site. He said he feels that he is a part of the ministry. “We’re asked to grow,” he said. “We’re asked to question.”

Reinbold said he regards Wertin “as my spiritual father. His homilies never preach ‘that you must be saved,’ but rather insist 'you’ve already been saved, so get on with your life and commit to social justice.”’

Though the past several weeks have been a struggle for Catholics such as Reinbold, parish administrator Peter Eichten said: “I think there is consensus among the staff that we are not going to leave.”

Parishes that have left have not fared well on their own, Eichten said. There’s no reason for new people to come to that church, and though the original members may have felt they had good reason to strike out on their own, they eventually die off and there’s no one to replace them, he said.

“We are the church,” he said. “We cannot let the institution and the hierarchy become our view of the church. That’s part of the church, but it’s not the totality of the church. We … need to stay in it to make it better.”

“We’re Catholic,” he said at the meeting for gay and lesbian parishioners. “And we’re staying Catholic.” :eek:


#3

Reinbold said he regards Wertin “as my spiritual father. His homilies never preach ‘that you must be saved,’ but rather insist 'you’ve already been saved, so get on with your life and commit to social justice.”’ >>>>>

Yes but aren’t we supposed to clean up our own house before going out to tell others how to live? Sheesh! I am thankful we do not have that kind of parish. I do not particularly enjoy having ‘guest speakers’ doing the homily. The mixed message about homosexuality must be pretty hard to explain to anyone who’s read the CCC.

Strange goings on but Minnesota seems to be a bit out there isn’t it?

Lisa N


#4

Hmmm… the one guy read Church history, decided he didn’t want to be here, left, engaged in homosexul activity, and contracted AIDS…Moral of the story: the Church knows best.

People like him need more prayers and real guidance. This parish is not helping them, but only giving them the excuse to continue this behavior. They need to bring back the anathema ceremony just for priests like this. He is tolerating and encouraging people to spit on God’s plan. When will people realize that love is better than tolerance?


#5

Sorry, but that statement would be false.

The CCC
2089 “*Heresy *is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same”

Canon Law****c. 1364

  1. With due regard for can. 194, part 1, n. 2, an apostate from the faith, a heretic or a schismatic incurs automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication and if a cleric, he can also be punished by the penalties mentioned in can. 1336, part 1, nn. 1, 2, and 3.
  2. If long lasting contumacy or the seriousness of scandal warrants it, other penalties can be added including dismissal from the clerical state. This canon is saying that once a person willingly repudiates Christ, embraces a heresy, knowing it to be contrary to divine and Catholic faith, or refuses submission to the Roman Pontiff (or communion with the members of the Church subject to him), by virtue of the law itself they are automatically excommunicated. No ecclesiastical act is necessary and no public notice.

#6

And the bishop of all this…after all these years, what are reasonable folks to conclude?


#7

[quote=Genesis315]Sorry, but that statement would be false.

[/quote]

Kinda

An Excommunicate is still a part of the Catholic Church, they are just barred from recieving an Sacraments except in certain specified circumstances (near death ect…)

Excommunication is NOT a explusion from the Church, it is an official notice to a member of the faithful that their behavior is detrimental to their eternal salvation, and they must ‘clean up their act’ to enter into the deep communion that God desires.

They are still Catholic, just under canocial penalty.


#8

[quote=Brendan]Kinda

An Excommunicate is still a part of the Catholic Church, they are just barred from recieving an Sacraments except in certain specified circumstances (near death ect…)

Excommunication is NOT a explusion from the Church, it is an official notice to a member of the faithful that their behavior is detrimental to their eternal salvation, and they must ‘clean up their act’ to enter into the deep communion that God desires.

They are still Catholic, just under canocial penalty.
[/quote]

So what would make someone not Catholic? At some point, renouncing Church teaching is going to make you not Catholic right? Or is it just anyone who is baptized and says they are Catholic are therefore Catholic? I figured the word “excommunication” meant you were no longer in communion with the Church.


#9

Homosexuals just don’t belong as priests, or near kids, or in positions of Church authority where clarity of thought and emotional stability are required.

Even though the bible clearly states that homosexuality is an “abomination”; and the Catholic Catechism clearly states that homosexuality is “objectively disordered”, there’s no reason why they cannot attend a Mass.

But homosexuals are not the third sex, or a special minority group, and the Church shouldn’t cater to their dysfunction.


#10

This story is sickening, and reflects a microcosm of the larger problem of the Church around the world: The modern-day Judas Iscariots – the enemy from within. No enemy from outside the Church can inflict as much spiritual damage to the faithful as this priest and those like him who claim to be Catholic, yet defy the Church. I shudder to think what the receiving end of God’s justice would be for such people. I shall pray for them today, that they repent and abandon thier wickedness. Extra prayers would be needed for the priest who’s been teaching Protestant "once-saved-always-saved " doctrine.


#11

Is it ok for a priest who teaches homosexuality to be allowed to remain a priest? That was the point I was trying to make above. This guy claims to be Catholic yet he is preaching falsehoods and leading people astray. The Church has to have some ability to get him to change his ways or to prevent him from being able to legitimately call himself Catholic, no?


#12

You know the best way to be popular in the world? Confirm the people in thier sin…where is their Bishop? Something needs to happen and soon.


#13

[quote=Genesis315]Is it ok for a priest who teaches homosexuality to be allowed to remain a priest? That was the point I was trying to make above. This guy claims to be Catholic yet he is preaching falsehoods and leading people astray. The Church has to have some ability to get him to change his ways or to prevent him from being able to legitimately call himself Catholic, no?
[/quote]

Thanks for clarifying. I am in total agreement with you. A Priest who teaches or condones homosexuality should first be sternly warned, and if he persists, defrocked.

I believe in zero tolerance of homosexuality in the Priesthood, and if an example needs to be made, then the Bishop or Vatican must make examples!


#14

[quote=Tyler Smedley]You know the best way to be popular in the world? Confirm the people in thier sin…where is their Bishop? Something needs to happen and soon.
[/quote]

He is too busy giving communion to rainbow sashers.


#15

St. Joan of Arc’s has long been a problem in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota area, and its pastor Fr. George Wertin is a well known heretic among orthodox Catholics here. But our very diplomatic Archbishop Harry Flynn has only resorted to periodical slaps on the wrist, and never the huge canonical censures and interdicts that are clearly called for in this case. Flynn seems more concerned about keeping this parish in the fold, than the scandal and confusion it has caused within the rest of his flock. You can read the history here catholicparents.org/letters/

Fr. Wertin quite frankly needed to be suspended a divinis a long time ago, but the archdiocese has been asleep at the switch for far too long, and since his ideologies have consumed an entire parish and have spread to others. But thank God he will be leaving soon catholicparents.org/priestsleave.html :thumbsup:

However the damage has been done.:crying:


#16

They will need a really good preist to come and clean things up…I don’t envy them.


#17

bump


#18

Pray for Flynn in appointing a successor to Wertin. And pray for Wertin’s successor. For him to preach the truth in that parish, he has a VERY long row to hoe. . .

What a mess.


#19

Here is a list of Gay Friendly Parishes to stay away from…

catholiclesbians.org/pastoral/pastoral_orgs.html#NY


#20

BLEAH!!! Where’d you find that terrible website??


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