Monday, October 8, 2012

Contact: John Becker, Director of Communications
Phone: 920.265.6023

Truth Wins Out Condemns Twin Cities Archbishop for Anti-Gay Letter to Catholic Parent of a Gay Son 

Abp. John Nienstedt’s Assertion That Salvation May Depend on Acceptance of Anti-Gay Beliefs is Reprehensible, Says TWO

BURLINGTON, Vt – Truth Wins Out condemned Twin Cities Catholic Archbishop John Nienstedt today for a letter in which he told a mother with a gay son that her “eternal salvation” may depend on whether or not she embraces the anti-gay teachings of the Catholic Church.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune, which published Nienstedt’s letter last weekend as part of an article about the prelate’s aggressive efforts to pass a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, reports that it was written in May 2010 in response to a note from “a mother who pleaded for acceptance for her gay child.”

“It is appalling that Archbishop Nienstedt chose to issue such an un-Christian response to a vulnerable member of his flock who came to him seeking help,” said TWO Executive Director Wayne Besen. “The archbishop’s letter shows just how deeply held his anti-gay views are.”

In the letter, Nienstedt wrote that Catholics are obligated to believe the Church’s official teachings on homosexuality, and that “those who do not… ought not to participate in the sacramental life of the Church.” He exhorted the recipient to reconsider her inclusive spiritual beliefs, saying that “[her] eternal salvation may well depend on a conversation of heart on this topic.”

“Telling the parent of an LGBT child that she ‘ought not to participate in the sacramental life of the Church’ unless she renounces her pro-equality views – and that her ‘eternal salvation may well depend upon’ her willingness to accept the Catholic Church’s anti-gay teachings – is spiritual bullying of the highest order and utterly reprehensible,” added John Becker, Director of Communications & Development for Truth Wins Out. “What kind of spiritual leader demands that a mother reject her child in order to save her soul?”

Such rejection can have devastating consequences for LGBT youth: according to a 2009 study conducted by San Francisco State University researcher Caitlin Ryan and published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, LGBT teens who experienced negative feedback from their families were 8 times more likely to have attempted suicide, 6 times more vulnerable to severe depression, and 3 times more likely to use drugs than teens who did not experience negative feedback.

 Truth Wins Out (TWO) is a nonprofit organization whose goal it is to create a world where LGBT people can live openly, honestly, and true to themselves. TWO monitors anti-LGBT organizations, documents their lies, and exposes their leaders. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating, and fighting for LGBT equality.