From readers – April 23, 2020

| April 23, 2020 | 0 Comments

What ‘love’ means

Elizabeth Rosenwinkel correctly states in her letter (April 9) that to love one another is Jesus’ greatest commandment. She asserts that this means we must accept others without question, particularly those who are transgender. Where Ms. Rosenwinkel errs is in her definition of love.

St. Thomas Aquinas stated that to love was to will the good of another. To accept someone’s sin is not loving them. Jesus told the woman accused of adultery, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more” (Jn 8:11). He does not tell her go and keep on committing adultery. Certainly we are not to condemn those with gender dysphoria, but we are not loving them by going along with their mistaken identities; we are leading them away from Christ. God created them the gender they were born with, who are we to question God’s judgment?

Melanie Hogan
St. Joseph, Taylor’s Falls

Unite sufferings to Christ

First and foremost, people who identify themselves as transgender are children of God. They are loved dearly by our Creator and loving Father. God does not look into our eyes and see our identity as it relates to the culture like we do. We created these labels, not God. I cling to my own wounds, abuse from a childhood I’ll never get back. My family and the Church failed to protect my vulnerability during a very disordered time in the Church. As a result of my hidden trauma, I have disordered tendencies myself to sin that are difficult to overcome. The chains of bondage are broken when we come to grips with this truth about ourselves. We are all broken! God allows free will. He never forces himself on anyone! When we fail to recognize that we need his healing power, we turn to the greatest disorder, self-righteousness. Each of us is called to “die of self,” unite our bodies to the sufferings of Christ. This, my friends, is our universal call to holiness.

Carol Longsdorf
St. Peter, Forest Lake

Clergy and partisan politics

Archbishop Hebda’s “Office of Priest Overrides Party” message explains well why current Canon Law instructs priests “not to have an active part in political parties.” The relevant sections of Title III Sacred Ministers or Clerics also apply to consecrated religious, including nuns, that take scared vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. In Canon 285 there is the additional prohibition on sacred ministers or clerics assuming elected or appointed “public offices which entail a participation in the exercise of civil power.” Permanent deacons have exemptions. These sections of Canon Law empower the religious and the laity to fulfill their rightful roles and help avoid many potential conflicts of interest. However, the counsel from MCC and omissions in the accompanying news story about the new MN presidential primary law risk creating an inaccurate picture of its impact on priests and religious (“Archbishop Hebda shares MCC counsel with clergy,” March 12). I have writings published elsewhere about primaries and party-affiliation issues. For now, I will focus on one key area of omission. For the vast majority of Minnesota’s history, the party caucus-convention system has been used to participate in the nomination of partisan candidates for president. Participating a party’s candidate selection is taking an active part in a political party, whether through a caucus or a closed primary. This new law, though not without flaws, does not necessitate a greater prohibition on clerical activism in political parties than was already the case.

John P. Augustine
Holy Trinity Parish, South St. Paul

Editor’s note: Jason Adkins, executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, addresses questions raised by Augustine:

The author’s point is not entirely clear, as he seems to agree with counsel provided to the bishops of Minnesota by Minnesota Catholic Conference staff that voting in Minnesota’s new closed presidential nominating primary is playing an “active part” in a political party.

Archbishop Hebda’s decision to pass along that guidance to clergy was a prudent course of action because priests and deacons may not have fully understood the implications of the new primary voting system, and the potential that their names could be made public. The writer suggests that there was no need to announce a new prohibition, because participating in the caucus system, still in place but no longer used for the presidential nomination, is also engaging in party politics. And he is correct that the caucus system was and remains a partisan activity. But a presumption that informed the MCC guidance is that priests were also not participating in political caucuses.

The MCC guidance spoke to the new primary system and its implications for disclosure, but it should not have created the hue and cry it did from a few priests. It did not announce any new principle or prohibition, nor suggest that clergy refrain from doing anything they were likely not doing in the first place, namely, participating in the caucus system.

The presidential nominating primary is different from the secret-ballot primaries held to winnow the field of general-election candidates and that do not require people to attest to a party platform as a condition of receiving a ballot. There is no prohibition on clergy participating in those primaries.

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Category: From Readers