The Progressive Catholic Voice's sharing of your open letters to Archbishop Nienstedt continues with the following letter by Patty Thorsen, who describes herself as "a Universalist by birth, a Christian through baptism, and a practicing Catholic by way of living." To learn more about this series and how to participate in it, click here.
I am deeply disturbed by your appeal – your campaign – directed at me, fellow Catholics, and all Minnesota citizens to vote “Yes” on the Marriage Amendment. Same-sex marriage is not an affront to the institution of marriage between a man and a woman, as your appeal implies.
Quite to the contrary. Same-sex marriage is an affirmation of the committed, loving relationships to which all individuals engaged in the institution of marriage – homosexual and heterosexual – are called.
Being Christian, I am – we are – called to live guided by three principles Christ articulated, “faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love.” Being Catholic, I am – we are – called to respect life. Respect for – respect of – life does not begin at conception, nor does it end at death. Being Catholic, I am – we are – called to respect all of life – all committed, loving relationships between conception and death.
The Catholic Church I know and love blesses – sanctifies – committed, loving relationships. Be it through baptism, single life, vowed life, or married life, we are called to bless the living of all vocations – not exclusive to sexual orientation. To proclaim otherwise compromises the very integrity of all vocations.
The Catholic Church I know and love is called to live the meaning of its name, “catholic.” The Catholic Church I know and love is called to capitalize on the meaning of its name, “catholic” – universal.
We are called to be a universal church – a catholic Catholic Church – open to every individual without regard to sexual orientation.
Through Christ, we are called to be guided by faith, hope, and love. Through Christ, we are not called to exclude any individual from fully living their vocation – from fully expressing their love.
It is beyond my conception to understand a basic question raised by your opposition to same-sex marriage. You say that same-sex marriage is a threat to the institution of marriage between a man and a woman. It is not. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say it is. I think we can both agree, marriage between a man and a woman is an expression of committed, loving relationship.
Same-sex couples called to marriage are called by the depth of their commitment – the depth of their love.
Archbishop Nienstedt, enlighten me.
How is it that one couple united by their love of and commitment to one another can threaten another couple who is united by their love of and commitment to each other? How?
If same-sex marriage were to be a threat to the institution of marriage between a man and a woman, what does that say regarding the integrity of heterosexual marriage that you declare sacred through the sacrament of marriage?
Archbishop Nienstedt, that troubles me.
I am called to vote “No” on the Marriage Amendment. I am called to celebrate the gifts brought forth when same-sex marriages – expressions of committed, loving relationships – are affirmed and treasured.
I invite you to join me in celebrating the gifts of individuals who are called to same-sex marriage. We need your leadership. Join me. Join others. It is not too late to vote “No” on the Marriage Amendment.
May the peace of Christ be with you,
– Patty Thorsen
St. Paul, Minnesota