Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Fr. Michael Tegeder: Church plans for mass mailing on abortion bill are ill-advised

Being a Catholic today is kind of like one of those carnival midway games where they give you a couple of mallets and you are to pound the rodents as they emerge from their burrows. When things start to go well in one area, something happens in another. Father Michael Tegeder is the pastor of St. Edward's parish in west Bloomington. He has been out there on the skinny branches of dissidency for a very long time. Unfortunately, he still has a few years before retirement age yet (but he still has been long eligible for AARP membership.

Among other things, he was an immediate objector to the appointment of Archbishop John Nienstedt as our archbishop, has long been a supporter of removing celibacy requirements for priests and opposing state laws that would limit marriage to one man and one woman.

He not only endangers his own immortal soul, but also those of his parishioners. He is a proponent of "absolution free confession." I guess he thinks they should just trust in the Lord, rather than obey His commandments.

Pray for Father Tegeder and his parishioners.

Michael Tegeder: Church plans for mass mailing on abortion bill are ill-advised

December 22, 2008

When I signed up 35 years ago to be a priest, little did I realize that postcards would be an essential tool of ministry in the Catholic Church. It began a few years ago, when the Catholic bishops of Minnesota, led by then-Bishop John Nienstedt, pushed a postcard campaign in all Minnesota Catholic parishes that promoted a constitutional amendment to limit marriage to one man and one woman. Preprinted postcards were to be signed and sent to legislators.

We never got a report from the bishops on what was accomplished. To someone who did not see this as necessary, it seemed a waste of time and money. It also generated some unnecessary ill will.

Now the bishops of the United States are conducting a national postcard campaign to oppose the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). This is to take place in all Catholic parishes the weekend of Jan. 24-25, which happens to be during the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and just a few days after the historic inauguration of the first African-American president, Barack Obama. This should indeed be a time to focus on what unites us.

Our nation and new president will be challenged by ongoing wars, an economy in severe recession, ballooning deficits, high unemployment and an environment and health care system in crisis. Yet at this very moment the Catholic bishops have declared that they have this more pressing need.

A national postcard campaign against FOCA is a huge undertaking. In the letter from our archdiocese to me as pastor, I was told, "Our Archdiocese is responsible for securing a point person in each parish who will be responsible for the January 2009 massive postcard campaign materials in your parish." Actually, they intend for the pastors to do this. Postcards are to be sent to our representatives in Congress.

Obviously church leaders have every right to promote their concerns in the public arena. But FOCA is a phantom threat. It is meant to limit legislation by Congress on abortion. It will not be passed. Why would Congress pass a law to limit its own power? One well-placed Catholic commentator stated, "FOCA has as much chance of passage as the [now 0-15] Detroit Lions have of winning the next Super Bowl."

A Catholic journalist, David Gibson, has a good perspective for Catholics concerned about abortion: "The problem of course is that these straw men and red herrings divert us all from the hard work to be done on this issue both within the church and in the public square. Opposition to FOCA should be part of that, to keep pressure on and pols honest. But using a phantom FOCA as a single-issue means of demonizing one's political opponents does no good to one's cause, or the wider society."

We can do many positive things. Indeed, Obama has stated that he wants to reduce the number of abortions. We should work with him on doing this.

In the Christmas spirit, may I offer this suggestion to my fellow Catholics: With your Christmas offering, include a note saying that we do not need to send FOCA postcards. During this season of goodwill, let us offer our new president some and hold back on the confrontation. And to the bishops: Your Graces, remember grace.

Michael Tegeder is a priest in Bloomington. Star Tribune


Anonymous said...

It would seem that Fr. Tegeder is more obedient to his president than his bishop. I wonder what his attitude toward the president elect was at this time back in 2000? I wonder if he believed the liberals back in 1973 when they stated that abortion should be safe, legal and rare? I wonder if he thought it unnecessary to have an amendment to state that marriage is between one man and one woman when we aleady had the defense of marriage act. I wonder how far he will follow this new "messiah"? It would seem that abortion and same sex marriage don't rank very high if at all with this priest. I think the time for praying for dissident priests is long over. It is time to remove them and save the parishoners from being misled.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

We should send a postcard to Father and remind him that we, as Catholics (last time I checked he supposedly was one), are to work and pray for an total END to all abortions: NOT a reduction. Note that Father throws the word "reduction" in there just like he's reading from the position of "Catholics for the Common Good"

What better time than NOW to remind our President-elect that even though he won the election we, pro-life, Magisterium Catholics, are not going away.

If it's true that Father thinks FOCA will not pass does that mean we should just sit back and then say, oh well too bad, if it does? Can we live with ourselves doing nothing? If Father sleeps well at night complacent in the thought that he barely did what he could, than God have mercy on him, but I don't think sitting around ignoring the threat of FOCA is what we should be doing.

Definitely not what I'M doing. I'm all over it. I have to wonder what Father is saying from the pulpit to his flock about this postcard campaign? He's probably throwing in there his patented line about how regal and kingly the Archbishop is now that he's forcing his will on his flock-Oh, the nerve!

Ignoring FOCA for a moment..even without it, the pro-life fight goes on. I wonder what Father has to say about that? My guess is he does not think abortion is all that important. I'm starting to wonder if he even thinks it's evil.

Ray: Your intro paragraph is brilliant and very nicely phrased. *deep curtsy*

Unknown said...

Thank you, Cath:

I was a little nervous about using the words "rodent" and "pound", but it does seem to work.

I think that the "tolerance" that the Church has shown towards dissidents for fear that they might go into schism is fading away.

The Church has lost so many members through its own inactivity in catechizing and preaching these past 40 years, the thought of losing militant dissidents to schism brings no fear any longer.

The Church will be better off and can begin to rebuild.

God Bless You and Merry Christmas, Janice/Cathy/Marian!