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Nienstedt forces out music director for getting married to long-time partner

Archbishop John NienstedtArchbishop John Nienstedt

This takes chutzpah. Says Madeleine Baran at MPR: “Archbishop John Nienstedt has asked the music director of a parish in Victoria, Minn., to resign after learning that the man married his long-time male partner last weekend, according to a letter from the parish priest. … In a written statement to MPR News, Nienstedt said he was ‘consulted about the employment matter and I responded by saying the teachings of the Church must be upheld, including the pastoral response of working with an employee whose actions are contrary to the Catholic faith.’” Where do you even begin?

Someone is going to have to explain this one. A.J.Lagoe and Steve Eckert at KARE-TV report, “According to official medical records, a former Minnesota Marine apparently contacted the Minneapolis VA from his grave to cancel an existing appointment and reschedule it. Jordan Buisman’s family believes his medical records were falsified to hide serious delays in patient care at the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Medical Center.”

Following that report, Mark Brunswick of the Strib writes, “On Tuesday, members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation reacted to the news report, calling on the VA’s Office of Inspector General and the Department of Justice to include the case in an ongoing probe of scheduling delays at the Minneapolis VA hospital and possible manipulation of records. A Rochester VA outpatient clinic also has been flagged for additional investigation over scheduling questions.”

Ride a Dreamliner straight to China? Kristen Leigh Painter of the Strib reports, “The leader of the biggest airline serving the state, Delta Air Lines chief Richard Anderson, told an audience in Minneapolis on Tuesday that it is considering another nonstop flight to Asia. Executives at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport — and many other business and political leaders in the region — want it go to China. Currently, Minnesotans who fly to China must connect through Delta’s hub in Tokyo or fly to another U.S. city, such as nearby Chicago or Detroit, for a nonstop on Delta or other airlines. ‘My hope is that we are going to be able to have another nonstop into Asia in the next three to five years,’ Anderson said, speaking to the MSP Foundation’s State of the Airport luncheon. … Delta is replacing its fleet of Boeing 747s with Boeing’s new, fuel-efficient 787 aircraft and Airbus A350s.”

Sometimes a guy just wants to get out of the house and go cruising. The AP says, “Police were called Monday morning on a report of an erratic driver in a Chevrolet Traverse. The driver was going slowly and weaving. Officers arrived to see the SUV slowly moving in the parking lot of an apartment complex. Police found [a 7-year-old] boy in the backseat of the locked vehicle after he apparently moved from the driver’s seat. Officers persuaded the boy to unlock the doors. He led officers to his apartment, where his mother said she had fallen asleep and her son had discovered the car keys.”

As you would expect: Alejandra Matos of the Strib says, “Senate Republicans will file an ethics complaint against Sen. Jeff Hayden Wednesday. The ethics complaint comes after the Star Tribune reported on Hayden’s involvement with the Community Action of Minneapolis board and after the Minneapolis School District alleged he and Sen. Bobby Joe Champion threatened to withhold state aid if Minneapolis school officials did not approve a contract with a north side community group.  The announcement by the Senate Republicans said they are filing the complaint against Hayden for ‘using his elected office for personal gain.’”

You, of course, already bought the boat. In the St. Cloud Times Kari Petrie writes, “Minnesota homeowners are seeing the largest property tax reduction in 12 years, according to a new report. On Tuesday, Minnesota 2020 released ‘Delivering Dollars: 2014 Homeowner Property Tax Report’. The report attributes the reduction to state tax laws passed this year and in 2013. Median-income homeowners in median-value homes in St. Cloud will see a 12 percent reduction, according to the report. In high-value homes, median-income homeowners will see an almost 20 percent fall.”

Good idea. Make ‘em vote. Blake McCoy of KARE-TV says, “Air strikes targeting ISIS were launched in Syria Monday night and Minnesota’s senators are now calling on Congress to vote on the use of force. ‘I do support these airstrikes. I think this is an evil organization,’ said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) while suggesting Congress lay out parameters. ‘You want to make sure it’s narrow and targeted and I think it would be a good idea to bring that before Congress.’”

I’m sure it’s fine. Jon Collins and Matt Sepic of MPR report, “St. Paul officials are restricting traffic on the Kellogg Boulevard-Third Street Bridge in downtown after engineers found that the outer lanes weren’t designed to carry current traffic levels. A temporary closure of the bridge was already planned to start on Friday for construction on Prince Street near Kellogg Boulevard in Lowertown. When the bridge reopens Monday at 6 a.m., traffic will be restricted to the center lanes only. … St. Paul will immediately pursue funding to rebuild the bridge, Mayor Chris Coleman said.”

NerdWallet strikes again. In its latest study the on-line factoid factory declares there’s a fortune to be made in legal pot. Aaron Rupar of City Pages says, “Marijuana sales would bring in roughly $45,950,063 in tax revenue annually for the state of Minnesota if pot were legalized, according to a study put together by NerdWallet. NerdWallet’s methodology is rather impressive. Researcher Divya Raghavan used data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to estimate how many people over the age of 25 smoke pot in each state, then used that number to divvy up the $14 billion nationwide marijuana market and determine how much stoners are likely to spend in each one. The total tax dollar figure for each state assumes a 15 percent excise tax for marijuana purchases, which is the going rate currently in Colorado.”

Comments (49)

  1. Submitted by E Gamauf on 09/24/2014 - 06:36 am.

    Archbishop Victoria

    Regarding the ouster of the music director who got married:

    What other conditions fall under:

    “…teachings of the Church must be upheld, including the pastoral response of working with an employee whose actions are contrary to the Catholic faith.”

    A church can administer their own requirements, based on the club rules & by laws. After all, no one tells the Amish they cannot kick out members who use cell phones.

    Nevertheless, out of curiosity, I wonder what else is too egregiously contrary to the faith and whether the local parish objected to an Archbishop’s intrusion.

    There is a litany of other behaviors that fly under the radar & do not meet the letter of catholic law.

    Is there a requirement that the music director needs to be a catholic?
    If he is catholic, couldn’t they just excommunicate him?

    • Submitted by E Gamauf on 09/25/2014 - 08:16 am.

      Still No Answer. Did the Parish consult the Archbishopric?

      I’m still trying to establish whether the parish asked for advice / guidance on the matter;
      or whether the Archbishop just marched in & took over on his own.

      That leads down another path of speculation, but isn’t it important?

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 09/24/2014 - 06:41 am.

    When Bishop Nienstedt Says

    ” the teachings of the Church must be upheld,”…

    I can’t help but suspect that he believes “the teachings of the Church” though created and compiled by humans over the past two millennia,…

    are, nevertheless, perfectly aligned with the will of God in this place and time.

    Of course he’s WRONG about that, the church being a HUMAN institution which, as God has chosen to reveal during the progression of history,…

    and “the Church,” itself, has acknowledged (though often as much as a thousand years later than it should have)…

    and, therefore being built on very HUMAN desires for stability, and predictability, and the desire for every HUMAN institution to protect itself and maintain its own power,…

    has often been some considerable distance from bringing into the world the things God desired and dreamed would become part of human society as that society had, by then, come to exist.

    Thus has Bishop Nienstedt’s church often stood against God in favor of the maintenance of ideals and values with which it’s HUMAN leadership (and some of it’s members) felt more comfortable,…

    as opposed to allowing God to inspire it to lead the world into the new future God was trying to bring into being.

    Such is clearly the case today.

    A church which so clearly identifies itself with the past has precious little to offer the future on God’s behalf.

  3. Submitted by E Gamauf on 09/24/2014 - 06:48 am.

    The financial lever:15 percent tax rate on pot

    When its about income from people’s vices, we suddenly stop having intense arguments about what should or should not be legal on libertarian grounds; Whether there is a compelling reason to ban or to control something.

    It worked for alcohol.
    Its working as states build casinos on every major interchange.

    MEDICAL marijuana apparently wasn’t a big enough financial player!

    Has anyone considered what impact this will have on the entertainment dollar?

  4. Submitted by Tim Walker on 09/24/2014 - 07:28 am.

    ” … the teachings of the Church must be upheld.”

    Except if you diddle little boys.

    Then you just get transferred to another unsuspecting parish.

    Rinse. Lather. Repeat offenders.

    • Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 09/24/2014 - 08:29 am.

      obviously the Catholic church teaching allows child molesting…

      based on their actions over the decades. From everything I’ve read in the last several years no one was ever made to resign strictly for being a child molester. They’ve been counseled, transferred, given extra chances, retired, but never fired.

  5. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 09/24/2014 - 07:29 am.

    Girls! Girls! Girls!

    Would anyone be even raise an eye brow if a Catholic parish found it’s music director is an stripper (sorry, “exotic dancer”) at a strip joint and asked her to resign?

    Neinstedt is a legitimate target for criticism. This is why he needs to resign. In this case he is correct, but because he tolerated and abetted priests who “did not follow Church teaching” by raping boys, he has no moral authority here. He’s ticketing a speeder when he gave a drunk driver a ride home the night before.

    • Submitted by Tim Walker on 09/24/2014 - 07:55 am.

      Actually, it’s even worse

      “He’s ticketing a speeder when he gave a drunk driver a ride home the night before.”

      More like he let the drunk driver continue on his drunken way, which put others in jeopardy.

      And then he distracted the police by phoning in a fake report of a crime on the other side of town.

      • Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 09/24/2014 - 08:32 am.

        After the drunk killed a kid on a bike and damaged his car…

        …the archbishop got him another car so he could continue on his drunken way. He never phoned the cops.

  6. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 09/24/2014 - 07:46 am.


    Here is one item that I think should be heavily taxed. Let the potheads who are using the stuff (and having all of the social consequences of addictive behavior) pay more taxes.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/24/2014 - 09:16 am.

      Lol, so what, “Taxes are OK for thee, but not for me?” I like how you’re pro-tax as soon as it’s something you disagree with. Everything else that’s taxed is theft.

      • Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 09/24/2014 - 02:15 pm.


        Jonathon, how do you like it? I would think that the taxaholics in this state would not have an issue with a tax of any kind. They engage in class warfare with the battle cries that redefine fairness.

        The medical marijuana issue is just a disengenuous way to legislation for recreational use anyways.

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/24/2014 - 03:48 pm.


          Well, I guess I don’t “like” it, but It serves to illustrate the typical conservative double-standard on most issues (it’s OK to tax behavior I don’t like, it’s not OK to tax behavior I do like, etc), or at the very-least, perpetuates the conservative problem with empathy (I doubt that the many people suffering certain chronic conditions who would benefit from medical cannabis are being disingenuous).

          • Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 09/24/2014 - 06:35 pm.


            chronic conditions are those? All of a sudden everyone wanting pot for their own recreational use will have all of these symptoms that qualify. And they are symptoms, not diseases.

            • Submitted by E Gamauf on 09/25/2014 - 08:20 am.

              Why the outrage?

              You seem to be very worked up over what other people do.
              I don’t see a real explanation – why.

              You’ve expressed personal judgments, but given no hint of reason who anyone should agree with you.

            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/25/2014 - 09:29 am.

              Examples of chronic conditions

              Cancer, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, seizure disorder, glaucoma, migraines, to name a few.

            • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 09/26/2014 - 12:32 pm.

              “And they are symptoms, not diseases.”

              Yes, they are painful and persistent symptoms that dog those afflicted with the conditions named by another commenter above. And there are other circumstances, too, where the palliative of marijuana can ease suffering – such as the nausea and discomfort caused by chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

              The medical marijuana legislation was passed as a gesture of compassion so that people suffering would have this palliative treatment available.

              Your comment seems to indicate you could care less about these people, but instead are all riled up about someone who might fake those symtpoms.

              Your demand, issued in mock disbelief, for the names of the alleged chronic conditions,

              – as though the entire claim were bogus,

              along with your strange protest above regarding symptoms,

              – as though mere symptoms don’t deserve treatment,

              goes to show just how absurd this discussion can get.

        • Submitted by E Gamauf on 09/24/2014 - 06:44 pm.

          That’s rather dismissive

          Dayton is more conservative on this issue than the challenger seems to be (if we can believe what Johnson says today will hold true tomorrow, something I doubt).

          There are things you want to see taxed beyond reason?
          Whether or not its MEDICAL use, or recreational use. (Does that include guns?)

          Yes I too might wonder if some people are using the medical issue to get marijuana legalized for recreational uses. This doesn’t change the proposition that someone with severe medical issues ought to be free to use it for some relief.

          Another example might be cancer patients & the use of narcotics.
          It may (or may not) be the same scale, nevertheless, should we really stand on principle that no one has a right to pain relief, simply so that we can feel smug & justified by denying them this “evil?”

          Certainly not in a day when copper-lined underwear floods the market as “treatment.”

    • Submitted by jason myron on 09/24/2014 - 02:35 pm.


      “potheads?” “stuff?”…reefer madness lives on.

  7. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/24/2014 - 09:55 am.

    Conspiracy and the VA

    My father died last December and he’s still getting stuff from the VA, one of the letters was an attempt to schedule an appointment. It’s just a big system with a lot of different departments. You see this in private sector all the time as well. My mom got a letter from her mortgage company wanting to know when insurance repairs on her house were going to be completed… two months AFTER they sent out an inspector who certified that they repairs were 100% complete.

  8. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/24/2014 - 10:47 am.

    Two thoughts.

    Apparently, it’s better to simply live in sin than to marry and live in sin, in the Archbishop’s eyes.

    Is the marijuana tax revenue estimate as accurate as what we were given for the electronic gambling that’s to pay for the Vikings’ palace?

  9. Submitted by kay smith on 09/24/2014 - 11:52 am.


    I remember seeing on the teevee an older priest saying he knew his molesting children was a sin but he didn’t know it was against the law. Lying or stupid?

  10. Submitted by Eric Snyder on 09/24/2014 - 12:51 pm.

    The church of hypocrisy

    Let’s properly contextualize this.

    With the Catholic Church we’re looking at a global child rape scandal going back, as far as anyone knows, centuries. The church has been covering it up, retaliating against whistleblowers and victims, lying to the public, lying to the police, and apparently believing it is above the law. It has denied the problem. It has shifted responsbility to others. It has compounded the abuse in many cases by sending child rapists to new parishes where they could access new victims.

    There have been statements of contrition from the church, but also many statements that reveal a shocking lack of understanding or even moral awareness.

    The toll on victims has been immense, with numerous reported cases of lives ruined and suicides. A number of cases of priestly sexual abuse have been especially ghastly and unforgivable. Former Los Angeles Times religion reporter William Lobdell noted in a talk the case of priests gang raping a youngster.

    Or, there’s this case:

    “The bodies of 796 children, between the ages of two days and nine years old, are believed to have been buried in a disused sewage tank in Tuam, County Galway. They died between 1925 and 1961 in a mother and baby home under the care of the Bon Secours nuns.”

    Or, take this recent news:

    From the UK’s Daily Mail:

    Do a little bit of searching online and you’ll readily dig up an unending stream of scandals.

    A great many lawsuits later and billions in damages paid out, newly emerging scandals, victims still demanding truth and recognition…and yet this institution still doesn’t entirely get it. It still can’t decide if it’s more important to treat this matter with the seriousness it deserves, or whether it should be in damage-control mode, trying to protect the remaining tatters of its reputation, or even if there’s a problem here to begin with, or, as Cardinal George Pell recently said, if it’s even responsible at all:’s-trucking-company-analogy-outrages-sex-abuse-survivors-29277

    Meanwhile, one of its employees found someone he loved and decided to get married. Wrong move. You’re fired. Perhaps if this man had raped a child he’d still have a job.

  11. Submitted by Walter Wozniak on 09/24/2014 - 02:11 pm.

    Archbishop John Nienstedt

    Strange, but not long ago, didn’t we hear Pope Francis say something to the effect that all people are God’s children, and that if someone is gay, who am I to pass God’s judgement onto them?
    Obviously, the Archbishop’s sense of who and how to judge, does not coincide with the Holy Father’s.

  12. Submitted by Andrea Morisette Grazzini on 09/24/2014 - 06:51 pm.

    From the Pope

    “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible.” (…)
    “The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. (…)
    We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel. The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant..”
    –Pope Francis from: “A Big Heart, Open to God” America Magazine, Sept 30, 2013.

    It is unclear how Archbishop Neinstedt sees his decision as ‘a new balance,’ ‘simple,’ ‘profound’ or ‘radiant.’

    Here’s more, including Vatican social doctrine:

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 09/24/2014 - 09:00 pm.

      Frank On Frank

      Francis is certainly calling the Church to a more nuanced and balanced direction acknowledging there is a lot of grey in the world as opposed to the black/white of his predecessors, which has delighted liberals. What he has not done is to change Church teaching in the least. The Church still deems sex outside of marriage, abortion and gay marriage sinful (now there’s a word that sets liberals on edge). He’s reminded us to hate the sin but have love and compassion for the sinner.

      Christ did not condemn the prostitute, but He also said, “Go and sin no more.” When someone we love is doing something harmful to themselves, it is difficult but necessary to call their attention to that. If my family is suffering materially and emotionally because I gamble too much, it is not compassionate to just smile and say nice things to me. True friends and loving family will speak to me respectfully and point out that I am not being the spouse and parent I am supposed to be.

      Some Church leaders have failed spectacularly, and those who love the Church have spoken out, first privately and then publicly, pointing out the harm they have caused. Those failed leaders, including the local Archbishop and Bishop Piche have no moral authority here and that is why they need to resign immediately. The Church became aware that the music director was violating a basic an important tenant of the Church, one that Francis has in no way said is now acceptable.

      Again, if a Church employee, male or female, were found to also be employed in a strip joint, would anyone object to the Church directing the employee involved to choose one or the other? Are there any acceptable circumstances (barring poor performance, etc.) for the Church hold it’s employees to a moral code? Anything goes, as long as it’s legal?

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/24/2014 - 09:49 pm.


        So long as the church doesn’t mind driving the more socially liberal members to the doors. Which is of course their choice. They face quite the dilemma, this country at the very least is not likely to turn back on the social changes that are happening, the church can take whatever stand it likes, but here at least it runs the risk of irrelevance over the long term, if not out and out schism. The old guard is by definition, old, and as they seem to have lost this war in their younger generations it seems illogical to keep on fighting, what is there to gain? Its not as if church doctrine is set in stone, despite what the devout might claim, a simple study of all the varying interpretations of the foundational text, the bible, is more than enough to show that.

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 09/25/2014 - 08:56 am.


          Actually, Church doctrine has never changed. Discipline has, but doctrine has not. Discipline is akin to policy, such a the priestly vow of celibacy which is asked of Roman rite priests but not of Eastern rite priests. Pope Francis could drop this requirement today and it would not alter doctrine one bit. Discipline is the means to carry out doctrine, so it changes as needs change.

          Don’t hold your breath waiting for doctrine to change, it never has, and the Church does not have the right to do it. In the past when various Popes have tried, the people have risen up in opposition to it, such as one Pope who tried to declare that Christ was not Devine.

          • Submitted by E Gamauf on 09/25/2014 - 10:00 am.

            Hey Andy, Popes used to be able to marry

            “…such as one Pope who tried to declare that Christ was not Devine.”
            Never heard of this one.

            Using its own structure & rules, I don’t understand how you conclude what you did.
            How does the “church” not have a right to do whatever is decided by the vatican?

            If the church is patriarchal, the Vatican’s word is final & the pope has god on speed dial,
            then how is it a populist movement in the trenches which is responsible for strict doctrine?

          • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 09/25/2014 - 10:04 am.

            Not correct

            The Catholic Church’s doctrine has changed throughout the years with the interpretation of the Pope and councils held over its history. Not all of the doctrine is considered infallible, and is therefore subject to change. Compare, for example, the outcome of the Council of Jerusalem with modern Catholic practices.

            Regardless, the point is that the Church allowed the abomination of child molestation and rape, which violate doctrine in at least the prohibition against fornication (extramarital sex) if not others, while selectively “enforcing” its views against gay marriage. Kinda makes Nienstadt look like a bit more than a jerk, and probably also brings to question whether or not the Church leadership is actually even following doctrine.

    • Submitted by E Gamauf on 09/25/2014 - 08:05 am.

      Does it matter to point out hypocrisy any more?

      I don’t know that many people really care where their religion stands on things,
      so long as they, themselves can skirt the rules.

      The Sunday noises are for Sunday – except when it slaps someone else down.
      Then, the congregation can get behind it.

      By standing on the shoulders of those people, it changes personal stature.
      So long as it doesn’t rock their personal world.

      That may be preferably to Fire & Brimstone Theocrats who’s mission it is to punish everyone.
      The problem arises: it is by & large whim & personal gain that has people meander back & forth from one extreme to another.

      We have another televangelist recently in the news telling her “folks” they should take care of themselves first & the rest will take care of itself. (more or less).

      Isn’t that fairly common – each person makinge up a reason to be the center of the Universe?

  13. Submitted by John Appelen on 09/25/2014 - 11:50 am.


    I agree whole heartedly with going after the Catholic Church for the illegal activities that have occurred.

    Yet I am puzzled why the commenters here are so upset with the Catholic Church firing a man who behaves out of alignment with that Church’s preaching.

    Do you think PETA should have to employee people who traps animals for their fur in their spare time?

    You want the freedom for Gay/Lesbian people to do and live as they wish. Yet you complain about the Church’s desire to do the same.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/25/2014 - 12:44 pm.


      If you can’t fathom the outrage, then no response can satisfy you.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 09/25/2014 - 01:21 pm.

      Tolerance is defined as you allowing me to do as I wish, but I can still proscribe your behavior.

      Some people won’t rest until the Catholic Church says “They’re really just The Ten Suggestions, so anything goes”.

      Jeez, I’m agreeing with Appellen now.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/25/2014 - 03:38 pm.

        Ten Suggestions

        Now that is humorous…

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/25/2014 - 04:17 pm.


          Or, 4 non-compete clauses, 3 good rules to follow, and 3 suggestions to be a happier person…

          At least, from my perspective. 🙂

      • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 09/25/2014 - 04:51 pm.

        Speaking of the Ten ‘Commandments’

        Marrying a same-sex partner didn’t make the list.

        Let’s review, shall we?

        Are Church employees being asked/forced to resign for:
        -Worshiping a different God?
        -Taking the name of God in vain?
        -Not keeping the Sabbath?
        -Dishonoring their mothers or fathers?
        -Murdering someone? This is probably true, although they might wait until the person is found guilty, no?
        -Committing adultery? Remember, if they’re divorced and remarried without an annulment, or married to someone who is divorced, whose marriage was not annulled, they’re committing adultery.
        -Bearing false witness? Wow, that’s a tough one. What about all the lies spread about gay people?
        -Coveting? Are there any employees left after culling the herd of this sin?

        The Archdiocese has no leg to stand on.

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