nienstedt1Just when you thought Minnesota’s Catholic bishops couldn’t sink any lower into the cesspool of anti-gay bigotry, Saint Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt posts a letter to the local diocesan website that injects a prayer for marriage discrimination into the Catholic Mass itself.

Nienstedt writes that he is “pleased” to offer the following prayer, “meant for use within the Holy Mass as part of the Prayer of the Faithful,” for the explicit purpose of “assist[ing] in the strengthening of our state-wide efforts to defend marriage in our civil constitution:”

Heavenly Father,

Through the powerful intercession of the Holy Family, grant to this local Church the many graces we need to foster, strengthen, and support faith-filled, holy marriages and holy families.

May the vocation of married life, a true calling to share in your own divine and creative life, be recognized by all believers as a source of blessing and joy, and a revelation of your own divine goodness.

Grant to us all the gift of courage to proclaim and defend your plan for marriage, which is the union of one man and one woman in a lifelong, exclusive relationship of loving trust, compassion, and generosity, open to the conception of children.

We make our prayer through Jesus Christ, who is Lord forever and ever. Amen.

The archbishop’s letter also “encourage[s] the posting of the prayer within Eucharistic Adoration chapels, along with an encouragement to adorers to pray for the success of the amendment and all efforts to strengthen marriage.”

There is absolutely no defense on any level for this kind of malicious, disgusting hatred. Nienstedt’s text is anything but a “prayer,” but instead is an overt attempt to cloak a set of anti-gay political talking points with the mantle of faith. The Archbishop even stoops so low as to use the Eucharist, which is sacred to LGBT and non-LGBT Catholics alike, as a weapon in the fight to exclude loving same-sex couples from marriage in Minnesota. This latest affront is religion-based bigotry in its most putrid, vile form.

This isn’t the first time that Minnesota’s Catholic bishops have specifically encouraged their priests and congregants to use parish time, facilities, and resources to push for the passage of the state’s proposed ban on same-sex marriage. In September 2010, the bishops produced and mailed a DVD attacking marriage equality to all registered Catholic households. And in another letter this fall, Nienstedt directed parish priests to form committees in their churches devoted “…to educat[ing] the faithful about the church’s teachings on [marriage], and to vigorously organiz[ing] and support[ing] a grass-roots effort to get out the vote to support the passage of this amendment.” The Archbishop called it “imperative that we marshal our resources” in this fight.

And as a side note: Archbishop Nienstedt’s contemptible “prayer” is just the latest example of Catholic churches and dioceses engaging in nakedly political activity in violation of the Internal Revenue Code. The tax-exempt status of these serial lawbreakers needs to be revoked. Exactly why aren’t they being investigated already?