Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Catholics Told They Cannot Pray Out Loud at Cathedral

PCV Editorial Team

Thirty Catholics participated in the first weekly “pray-in” at the St. Paul Cathedral on Tuesday, April 17. The weekly gathering is designed as “an expression of support for the inherent dignity of all God’s people and the promotion of the spiritual well-being of every family.”

Shortly after the individuals arrived to begin their prayer session they were met by the Pastor of the Cathedral, Fr. Joseph Johnson, who acknowledged the group’s right to stay and pray silently but prohibited them from praying out loud as a group.

Fr. Johnson stated that “public prayer” had to be approved in advance by his office. Fr. Johnson was clearly aware of the purpose of the gathering which he deemed to “contradict” the Church’s positions. When asked if the group could whisper the Rosary together, Fr. Johnson said no.

The group chose to stay and pray the Rosary silently, standing as a sign of respectful support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons and their families.

Vigil spokesperson, Barbara Frey, stated, “Through our presence we seek to emulate the expansive and inclusive love of Jesus, who always stood up for the most vulnerable.”

According to Frey, many Catholics are disturbed by the Archdiocese’s choice to expend funds to promote discrimination rather than to address the most urgent needs of the community.

The vigils will continue being held weekly at 6 pm in the Cathedral. All are welcome.

Recommended Off-site Links:
Conflicted Catholics: Consciences Wrestle with Church Actions on Marriage Amendment – Beth Hawkins (MinnPost, April 18, 2012).
"This is the Living Word"Sensus Fidelium (March 28, 2012).
Church Officials Fail Us, But a Local Priest and Parish Shine – Jim Smith (Sensus Fidelium, April 11, 2012).


  1. It was a privilege to be with these men and women on Tuesday and to witness remarkable respect, grace, courage, and commitment by Catholics who truly take "senses fidelium" to heart. Ultimately, the silent witness (though imposed) may have spoken more loudly than words. A prayerful and peaceful presence for justice may "contradict" the position of the Church; it clearly represents the mind and heart of Jesus.

  2. I wonder where this priest was when the abortion protesters LOUDLY say the Rosary in front of Planned Parenthood or in the PUBLIC streets? Oh yeah, all Catholics are equal; some just more equal than others.

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    2. This priest of whom you speak is Father Joseph Johnson who was my pastor for 6 yrs. He is the most loving, compassionate and respectful of priests, please don't misjudge him. The Cathedral must follow proper protocol in regards to Church teaching when public prayer it is to take place within the Cathedral. Each year, different groups descend upon the Cathedral and it is the reasonable that public prayers held at the Cathedral be approved by the rectory office or things can easily get out of hand.

      As for praying the rosary in front or Planned Parenthood for the ending of abortion, this is in keeping with Church teaching. That's just it, these people are not praying on Church grounds, thus he has no control over the fact that they are praying on the sidewalk which is public grounds.

      BTW: I am a VOTE NO Catholic too.

  3. Is the sidewalk in front of the Cathedral public or private? Another approach: Stand three feet apart, don't pray in unison, even use different prayers, "I'm not with them." Good luck

  4. there is no such thing as progressive Catholics, we must always follow the Church! Failure to do so removes Christ as the head of the church and in His place we idolize our own selfish desires. May God have mercy on this group which seeks to destroy rather than unify.