News Politics

Gay Marriage Opponents Get Minnesota Secretary of State Ousted From Speaking At Catholic Church

Robin Marty

It appears that Ritchie's new ballot title language has some gay marriage opponents looking for retribution.

This fall, the state of Minnesota will be voting on an amendment that would forbid same-sex couples from getting legally married. Not that it’s an option in the state now, but conservatives have created an amendment to ensure that no one gets any crazy “equality” notions and allows it down the road.

As Secretary of State, Minnesota Democrat Mark Ritchie took the liberty of using the power of his office to name the amendment for the ballot. The new title?

“Limiting the status of marriage to opposite sex couples.”

Gay marriage opponents were incensed. To retaliate, they have pressured St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church from their invitation for Ritchie to speak on “A Spiritual Path for Democracy,” a Mass scheduled for August 12th. In response, the church has postponed his appearance.

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“The invitation to him is in the process of being withdrawn,” Jim Accurso, spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis told the St. Paul Pioneer Press Tuesday, July 31. “He will not be speaking on the 12th.” Accurso pointed to Ritchie’s public opposition to the ballot initiative as a reason, calling Ritchie’s input on the campaign “not appropriate.”

But was it withdrawn, or just postponed? According to the church itself, its the latter.

Dennis Heaney, a spokesperson for St. Joan of Arc Church, told LifeSiteNews on August 1 that there was never a cancellation. Since the speech “became such a media event,” they decided it was better for the community and for Ritchie to reschedule.

Heaney insisted the church discussions about the event and the rescheduling had nothing to do with Ritchie’s role in rephrasing the marriage amendment bill. Heaney did not wish to comment on why the speaking engagement had become such a “media event.”


Now the question is until when is it postponed. Indefinitely? Or just until the election is over?

Commentary Religion

Church or State? The Vatican Has Too Much Influence at the UN

Magdalena Lopez

It is simply unjust that one religion is allowed to act as a state, and use that power to block rights rather than protect them.

Click here for all our coverage on Pope Francis’ recent comments on abortion, contraception, and homosexuality.

The pope’s groundbreaking comments last week have certainly knocked the wind out of the ultraconservatives’ proverbial sails. And rightfully so. Pope Francis spoke to those who want a bigger church, one that needs all the world’s churches, not just St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Those of us who support this new turn, this acknowledgement that Catholics do disagree on occasion, will have an opportunity, we hope, to see the results in action this week. The United Nations General Assembly is taking place in New York, and it could not come at a more opportune time.

Ever since the Vatican—as the Holy See—joined the UN as a state actor in 1964, without a popular vote, people have asked, “Is the Holy See a church or a state?” Now, a three-minute video (at right) gives some much-needed perspective to the unprecedented situation of allowing a religion to masquerade as a state.

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The UN is the place where international norms are set; it is run on the basis of respect for diversity and the protection of rights, including the right to religious freedom. It works mainly through the General Assembly, but also at international conferences—where the Holy See has access that other religions do not. This means that other faiths’ moral reasoning in favor of condoms or abortion access, protections for women or LGBTQ individuals, doesn’t get the same audience as the Vatican, because other religions may only participate as non-governmental organizations.

It is simply unjust that one religion is allowed to act as a state, and use that power to block rights rather than protect them. I’m hopeful that, following Pope Francis’ conciliatory words last week, his diplomats will change their tune at the United Nations. Previously, they have railed against reproductive health services at every opportunity, including issuing statements against sustainable development and opposing a consensus document condemning violence against women.

The pope’s new approach to how the hierarchy interacts with Catholics and non-Catholics alike may now be reflected in its approach to other nations at the UN. For too long, the Vatican has obstructed progress on women’s rights and reproductive rights. Perhaps now, the Vatican’s representatives can stand aside rather than stand in the way.

As the video shows, the Holy See claims to work for “family values” but is home to few women and even fewer families (there are only an average of ten children in Vatican City at any time). In countries where the Catholic hierarchy is powerful, women are jailed after being suspected of abortion, which is not by any stretch of the imagination equivalent to protecting women’s dignity, health, or safety.

Anybody who supports true religious liberty would want religions to be treated equally at the United Nations. And anyone who wants to make their own decisions about sex and relationships would not want conservative religious groups—like the Holy See—to have the power to take away those rights. Just because this situation has been allowed since 1964 does not mean it must continue.

“The Holy See … should be judged by the actual results of its policies,” concludes the video, which calls for a change in the Holy See’s role at the UN.

Read more about the Holy See at the UN here.

News Abortion

Minnesota Abortion Rate Declines

Robin Marty

The state performed seven percent less abortions in 2010 than 2009.

The latest statistics are out, and the abortion rate in the state of Minnesota has once more decreased.

Via The Pioneer Press:

The number of abortions performed in Minnesota fell again in 2010.

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There were 11,505 abortions in the state during 2010 – a decline of 7 percent from the 12,388 abortions performed during 2009, according to a report released today by the Minnesota Department of Health.

It was the fourth consecutive decline in annual totals since the recent peak of 14,065 abortions in 2006.

The abortion rate is at its lowest since records began being kept, but may be adjusted later once the total population numbers for 2010 are released.