The one and only place, in my eighteen city tour, that plan to host my talk in Catholic property is Minneapolis. I am due there Wednesday next. This is from the parish bulletin of Mike Tegeder, the pastor. He was hauled in by the bishop, who went so far as to say that I am not as Catholic!
Mike’s response is worth reading. I am looking forward to going there. It should be fun!!
A MESS IN OUR ARCHDIOCESE With CTA-MN and CCCR we are preparing for Redemptorist Tony Flannery’s visit here this Wednesday, November 5. I invite you to the 7 pm gathering with Tony. You might want to google his name to read about his faith journey. Also, as we will have visitors, could Cabriniites please park in the overflow parking lot on Franklin.
Actually, last Wednesday I met with Archbishop Nienstedt over Tony’s visit. At the meeting the Archbishop requested that we change Tony’s venue to a non-Catholic location. It was amazing that in the week when Minnesota Public Radio had two stories on the Archbishop’s own doubtful statements in his deposition about sexual abuse, he is now trying to prevent adult Catholics from openly discussing the need for reform in our church. Thank God for Pope Francis who, in a speech at the closing of the recent Synod on the Family, said “Personally I would have been very worried and saddened if there hadn’t been these … animated discussions … or if everyone had been in agreement or silent in a false and acquiescent peace.”
My meeting with the Archbishop lasted about 30 minutes. The interesting thing was that with the marriage amendment two years ago he ordered me to stop publicly opposing it or he would take away my faculties to function as a priest and remove me from the parish, and in the past when I invited speakers co-sponsored by CTA-MN (Call to Action Minnesota) or CCCR (Catholics Concerned for Church Reform), I was told not to have any association with them or, again, be removed from ministry. But today he only asked that I change the venue of the talk. I guess it is kosher to associate with Flannery, just not on Archdiocesan property. This is progress.
He wanted the change of venue so as “not to cause scandal” but he was not able to explain the scandal of adult Catholics having a discussion about needed church reform. Indeed, I pointed out that the very issues Flannery raises are those discussed by the bishops and Cardinals at the Synod on the Family last week: if these issues can be raised in the Vatican, they can be talked about in a small, little parish in south Minneapolis.
He also said some things that revealed much confusion, such as saying Father Tony Flannery was not a Catholic. I pointed out that he is a Catholic in good standing; indeed he has been and remains a member of the Redemptorist religious order for over 40 years. To say he is not Catholic is to suggest he has been excommunicated which is not the case and in fact is a defamatory statement. Such ignorance saddened me.
I invited the Archbishop to attend the meeting next Wednesday at Cabrini and said that we would welcome his participation. Regrettably he declined. He also refused my offer of a copy of Flannery’s recent and very moving book, A Question of Conscience. We ended our meeting with the Archbishop asking me to pray about this, which I gladly agreed to do as I will also pray for the Archbishop.
Francis had the wonderful statement that he wanted a mess in our dioceses. Our ever out-front Archbishop apparently anticipated this desire.