When I read of Archbishop John Nienstedt’s letter to Minnesota parishioners, urging them to donate toward the “Protection of Marriage” amendment, I experienced a sense of time turning around.
There was a time, you see, when Catholics weren’t considered true Americans by the so-called Christian majority.
It wasn’t that long ago.
I grew up Catholic in a city in southern Indiana. I was surrounded by the society of a close-knit parish. It felt comforting, safe, as long as I remained within that familiar group of people.
But in the park, on the way home from school, and even through the metal fence bordering our playground, we were called names. I remember one in particular: “Catholic Queer.” I never quite understood what was meant by it, but I remember it to this faraway day. We were physically attacked, oh, no use of weapons and few bruises. But it hurt to know there were people who judged us by what religion we practiced.
My parents voted for John F. Kennedy. Every school child knows him now, just another “old” man they have to remember on the history test. Are they even taught that he was America’s first Roman Catholic president? Would they know many people feared electing a Catholic president would open the door to too much Vatican influence over the government?
How sad it is, that such an ancient faith has such short-term memory. And how tragic it is, that those old fears are being proven right.
With respect, Archbishop, I urge that you carefully rethink this action to qualify citizen rights. History has proven kind to the Catholics in America. There is no kindness in this amendment, only the same hurtful names through the metal fence.
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