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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 15, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 24
Good Catholics can support marriage equality, priest says
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Good Catholics can support marriage equality, priest says

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

An openly Gay Catholic priest is urging his fellow Catholics to vote against a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

Speaking to an audience of more than 200 Catholics in a Minneapolis suburb, Father Bob Pierson said the amendment violates Catholic teaching, even though the church hierarchy supports it.

'Too many of us have been taught to think of God in terms of God's judgment, rather than God's tremendous love and mercy,' Pierson said.

'I believe this amendment violates an important principle in Catholic teaching, and that as Catholics, we can vote no.'

Repeating an argument used by U.S. nuns, who are being investigated by the Vatican on a variety of doctrinal disputes, Pierson said Catholics must follow their own conscience on moral issues.

'We must not be prevented from acting according to our conscience, especially in religious matters,' Pierson said.

'My conscience tells me to vote no on the amendment ... I do not believe the church has the right to force its moral teaching on others outside our fold.'

Pierson says he knew he was Gay when he was ordained.

Catholic priests are required to be celibate, whether they are Gay or straight. The church teaches that Gay behavior is 'objectively disordered,' but if a Gay priest remains celibate, his sexual orientation would normally not be an obstacle to continuing in the priesthood.

Same-sex marriages are already barred by statute in Minnesota, but a coalition of Catholic and evangelical Protestant leaders lobbied the state legislature to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November.

Unlike the constitutional amendment passed recently in North Carolina, the Minnesota amendment leaves open the possibility of recognizing same-sex civil unions.

Roman Catholics make up the largest single denomination in Minnesota, with about 28% of the population.

The second-largest denomination the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has voted to oppose the amendment. Despite the word 'Evangelical' in its name, the ELCA is considered a fairly liberal denomination.

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