Archbishop John Nienstedt: No Luke Warm Catholics!

“O’ How I Wish You Were Hot or Cold, But Because You Are Luke Warm I Will Spit You Out Of My Mouth”–God

By: Craig Lassig AP

The Catholic archbishop for the Twin Cities defended his right Monday to speak to fellow Catholics on social issues, and said a shrinking Roman Catholic church is no reason to consider a more liberal stance.

Archbishop John Nienstedt sat down with The Associated Press after a weekend in which the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese announced it would close 21 churches to reflect churchgoers’ move from urban areas to suburbia, declines in regular church attendance and an expectation of fewer new priests to replace those who retire or die.

The archbishop, who recently angered some of the area’s 800,000 Catholics with the mailing of an anti-gay marriage DVD, said he believes spiritual leaders have a duty to talk to their flock about issues they see as important — even if some of those views might be unpopular with prospective churchgoers.

“We’re part and parcel of the culture, so it’s important for us to be involved with those discussions and have our say,” Nienstedt said. He said Jesus Christ directed his followers to “either be hot or cold, but if you’re lukewarm, I don’t want that. So we want people who live their faith.”

Nienstedt called the reorganization, which also will involve dozens more churches sharing priests and some staff and resources, “a reconfiguring of resources to meet our needs and mission.” But he said Catholics need not fear a smaller church, and the threat of one is not a reason to abandon core tenets.

“I believe that it’s important that if you’re going to be Catholic, that you have to be 100% Catholic,” Nienstedt said. “That you stand by the church, you believe what the church believes and you pass that on to your sons and daughters and your grandsons and granddaughters.”

The Rev. Mike Tegeder, lead pastor at St. Edward Catholic Church in Bloomington and a frequent critic of the archbishop, said he was puzzled by the term “100 percent Catholic.”

“The church has always gotten into trouble when it seeks to separate the pure from the impure,” said Tegeder, whose suburban congregation emerged unscathed from the reorganization plans. “Jesus cautions us to be careful in weeding and judging.”

Tegeder and some other priests have argued the Catholic Church could quickly resolve its problem with declining numbers of priests if it allowed married clergy. But “I personally don’t see that happening,” Nienstedt said.

One church on the list of those to be closed and merged with several nearby churches is St. Clement, in Minneapolis. its pastor, the Rev. Earl Simonson, said he’s not sure if the building will actually shut down or still be used for some services, though under the archdiocese’s approach it will at minimum lose its name.

“We just wait for the great archbishop to tell us what we’re doing,” Simonson said. “We’re mere flunkies.”

Still, Simonson did not take issue with Nienstedt’s conviction that smaller isn’t necessarily less desirable for the Catholic Church.

“That’s what I was taught in seminary,” Simonson said. “If you don’t want to be Catholic, then get out. The archbishop is right about that. Human nature being what it is, you’ll always have some who think they can be half in and half out.”

Let us know your thoughts.  Is the Archbishop being “judgmental” or faithful to Christ.

P.S. – Would you do Courageous Priest a favor and share this info with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Email right now? We truly appreciate it. Or leave a comment, we would love to hear what you think.

26 comments to Archbishop John Nienstedt: No Luke Warm Catholics!

  • Deblette

    Too bad that the churches with pastors like Tegeder weren’t closed. Granted, he is in a parish that is barely Catholic so I suppose the fit is good. Now, if the media would just stop thinking he is a priest who represents Catholics, because he isn’t.

  • Gloria

    Hello Every one, I was about to make my comment. Then decided to read the comments of others readers. what is this? I mean this was 2010.But still! Stop This now. Please.

  • Tom Kearney

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we, here in Ireland, had bishops who did not hesitate to speak the truth when necessary, just as Archbishop John Nienstedt of St.Paul-Minneapolis did recently over there. He believes that spiritual leaders have a duty to their flock to speak about issues they see as important even if some of those views might be unpopular with some prospective churchgoers. He said that Jesus Christ directed His followers to either be hot or cold, If not,Jesus said, “I will spit you out of my mouth.” Can anything be plainer than that ? When o when, ,are we going to get inspiring, consistent and proper leadership, from our bishops in this country ? Or do we wait in
    vain, and what are they afraid of anyhow ?

  • Joseph

    Absolutely right! Get in the pool or stay under the sun!
    The problem is political correctness.

  • Clara

    Thank you, Archbishop Nienstadt, when you stand firm, it’s easier for priests, religious, and laity to stand firm. As for Rev. Mike Tegeder, perhaps the good Archbishop will be able to win him over by his good example. However, if not, he should leave the priesthood before he undermines the teachings of the Church and endangers the souls of his parishioners any more than he already has. Judas was one traitorous priest too many. We don’t need more, unless we will always have Judas in the priesthood so we can use our free will to choose Christ or the world.

  • Ro

    Archbishop Nienstadt is a true soldier of Christ. There are too many
    people that are Catholic in name only and unsatisfied because they do not know their faith! I support him completely. We need to hear more of this from the pulpit.

  • Amen. as Jesus said- were either Hot or your Cold. Either we are IN- as Full Catholics, faithful to ALL the teachings of our church, no abortion, no divorce, no contraception., no gay marriage, PRO life, PRO family.. ready to stand up and defend her, live by all the truths no matter how hard they seem to be at times.. OR your OUT.
    its a choice of Life or Death. we must choose LIFE>
    enough of this “being Pastoral”, inclusive”.. Catholics need to hear from the pulpit that if they are in a state of Grave mortal sin they may NOT recieve our Lord in the eucharist. to do so is to fall into deeper sin by sacrilige, First they must repent, and STOP doing this sin- Before they can return to full communion with the body of Christ.

    No Lukewarm.

  • PMMurphy

    Thank you Archbishop Nienstadt for your faithfulness to the Truth!

  • PMMurphy

    Let’s get educated on what “judgmental” really means. We judge things all day long in order to make decisions. We need to know right from wrong so we can teach our children and most of the time that involves making judgements. I don’t know many parents who let their kids go with any stranger or who allow their children to take part in activities that will be hurtful to them. This involves critical thinking about people and situations that arise in our daily lives, in order to protect from harm – physically, morally and spiritually – in a word “judging”. Adultery and fornication are serious sins that mortally wound the soul, as taught by the Church for centuries. To reduce these sins to a mere personal choice that we dare not judge, is not only hurting the individual, it is watering down truth and confusing right from wrong. As Catholics, we are bound to a moral disposition as a means to be fully human and ultimately to be united to God. “Condemnation” is the more appropriate word. Don’t condemn the sinner (because we do not know his fate, nor can we predict it), rather, kindly and lovingly, give him truth through knowledge. Read Hosea, chapter 4. Verse 6 clearly states, “My people perish for want of knowledge!” We have an obligation to teach and spread the Truth. It is up to the individual to accept or reject it, but at least he will know it. Plant the seed!

  • Mary M.

    There’s a vast world of difference between being judgemental, and expecting Catholics to be faithful to the tenets of the church, to avoid sin, and repent of our sins. There are important reasons for doing so. The church is not a social club, and we aren’t being kind to sinners, if we condone their sin. We’re called to convince others to abandon their sinful behaviors and repent, and to protect the innocent from sin. I don’t believe the Archbishop was wrong in any way.. in fact, I believe the church has lost membership, because over the years, it’s seemed to lose it’s way, or tried to hard to be “hip”, “relevant”, when in actuality, it’s lost relevance, because so many of those who walked away, really needed the passionately Christian Catholic church that it used to be. What we need, whether it’s in a smaller, or larger church is a sense of communion, in the wider sense of the word.

  • Kris

    I must first say that taking a poll of what we think regarding the Archbishop is somewhat “worldly” a tactic to see what percent agree. In my own experience of being in a very progressive Archdiocese I have found that the tactics used by those who would stop the true mission of the Church from being preached and taught are very tyrannical. I have watched as lies, manipulations of people and situations, power struggles, to name a few, are used to tear down the authority of the Church. I am glad that Archbishop Nienstedt is taking charge of his archdiocese and standing up for what is Catholic. It is true no matter what an Archbishop says or does there will be those who know being Catholic has some perameters that define who we are and will follow or, just the opposite, those who believe that the Church should be something other than what she is and want to redefine those perameters into an image more to the individual’s liking. When a situation exists as we have in our Archdiocese, where the AB appoints progresive members to his curia and they then take the image of the local Church off in a direction that faithful Catholics can see is inappropriate/wrong then we have to find ways to keep the Church alive in our own homes and pass on that faith to our children. It is sad to live in a such a way that we must kindly teach our children that what is happening in the local church is not what the universal church actually teaches or practices. I applaud AB Nienstadt for his courage in teaching the simplicity of the faith in a world that has made truth such a disordered image. One thing we must all do and that is pray and fast for Holy Courageous members of the Church. thanks for the article

  • Tom

    Dear Excellency

    I am with you. Our Church is being drowned by the secularism/relativism of today’s world. I believe that Our Lord (as He promised) will always protect His Church. Given our long history He has demonstrated this protection on numerous occasions. However, in today’s world the ‘enemy’ has many tools that distract and entertain people. These distractions are often sinful and/or wasteful. So indifference to the Faith becomes greater. We are Catholics who use toto follow totally the teachings of the Magisterium. The problem is that now we are attacked by those who know little or nothing about the Truth (including Catholics) and those who don’t care about ‘spiritual’ matters. Between the business of earning a living and self entertainment, Our Lord can not reach such stony hearts. I pray that the Holy Spirit will come upon our world as an Act of God’s Mercy to again remind us of the way to the ‘narrow’ path. How God will do such an act, I do not know but nothing is impossible with Our KIng.

    God Bless and Keep us in His Loving Arms

  • terrig

    I support the Archbishop. It’s going to see that there are still some bishops teaching the Truth. I agree with the statement – if you don’t like the teachings of the Catholic Church, then get out. People need to be taught that the Catholic Church cannot change its teachings because God never changes. Maybe if more priests gave good homilies and told the truth, people would get that.

  • Bill Purcell

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMEN!! No cafeteria Catholics! Jesus was devisive only when it meant NOT conforming to the ways of the world! You do the faith, and your family, a disservice by vacillating.

  • Paula

    The secular media needs to learn the difference between church closings and mergers! This story is not entirely accurate. Many read in the media that their church was going to be closed, when that was not the case, and it caused undue distress.

    Also since I personally know Fr. Simonson, I question the context his statement was made in. If he meant it in the manner which the secular press had presented it in, it would be, impo, out of character for him and reflective of an attitude which he has not presented at any other time. I know him to be a good, fine, priest.

    An example of this is when it is time for Communion it is at his instructions that the priest who is not the offering celebrant (there is another priest in residence at the rectory, though this priest is assigned elsewhere, not to the parish)comes out of the rectory and the two priests then distribute communion with alter servers holding patens. No extraordinary eucharistic ministers are called on. I know of no other parish in which this is the practice any longer, tho it is supposed to be!

    Just on this alone, I question the secular press’s reporting, and it saddens me for it has given a dark mark on Fr. Simonson which I doubt he deserves. In my opinion, he is not the type of priest who would make such a statement as above with an indignant attitude. He has always respected his bishop and shown obedience.

  • Janie

    First of all, I would never post anything written by an AP ‘journalist’ on “Courageous Priests”. You must also check the facts on this. This is not only incorrect, but written with such a politically correct bias, I couldn’t get past this line “who recently angered some of the area’s 800,000 Catholics with the mailing of an anti-gay marriage DVD’. The diocese only mailed to 400,000 households and the DVD was “PRO-MARRIAGE” NOT ANTI-GAY. GRIEF!

    Check your facts man and please post only news and commentary written by non-leftist. There’s too much out there to be promoting leftist propaganda from an AP writer.

    • Thank you Janie for voicing your concerns on the AP article. I completely agree that the AP can be suspect and biased in their articles. However, in the article I wanted to show the divide between the courageous and faithful Archbishop, and the less than faithful priests that the AP interviewed. By publishing this article from the AP it was in no way an endorsement of the AP, what they stand for, or their track record on reporting on Catholic and/or conservative issues. The article was presented on our website to highlight the Courageous Archbishop, and for dialogue purposes. Thank you so much for your concern.

      God Bless you,

      Jeff Gares

  • Sue

    Once again Archbishop Nienstedt has shown himself to be a strong and faithful shepherd. Rev. Mike Tegeder has chosen the path of least resistance which takes no strength and little faithfulness. How could anyone really be okay with watering down the truth just to increase attendance? Give me a 100% Catholic leader any day. Lord, we need more good, solid, COURAGEOUS 100% Catholic men for priests like Archbishop Nienstedt. And it would be good for the wimpy ones to at least be obedient and respectful of those above them and not add to the confusion, which is the work of the devil. Shame on you Rev. Tegeder.

  • RJ Wargo

    The Church should not water down its doctrine for the sake of the parishioners.
    Parishioners should strive to live up to the teachings of Christ, thereby the doctrine of the Church. Also, they should not receive communion if in a state of mortal sin.
    However, while the Archbishop should stand firm in teaching beliefs, all priests, bishops etc must be careful in not creating an environment were people feel they are not welcome if the don’t meet the standards. Christ was criticized for associating with sinners. “Those who are not sick have no need of a physician.”
    The closing of parishes disturbs me more. We should all pray that calls to vocations are answered. How wonderful if every family was blessed with at least one child answering God’s call to the priesthood or women religious.

  • Marshall Hopper

    As Father Corapi said “if you put the Truth in peril because of your need of being accepted, you will not be loved. If you want to be loved, fathers, give the good people what they need. Even if they don’t want to hear it, they need to hear it. If you give it to them straight, unadulterated, unvitiated, unmitigated, undistorted, they will love you.”
    It is imperative for the future of the Church and for the future of mankind that the true, complete and correct Catechism of the Catholic Church be taught and lived. The Catholic Church may actually lose “members” but those she loses because they don’t agree with the Church’s teachings are already “lost”. A smaller Church may be more honest to itself and the world, and as a result will be a more powerful servant of God. A Church teaching and living “the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth”, is aligned with the original Church of Jesus Christ, whose members knew and accepted the possibility of martyrdom because of their beliefs. They weren’t interested in diluting the faith, even to save their lives. Thank God for courageous priests.

    Rev. Tegeder stated:“Jesus cautions us to be careful in weeding and judging.”…Was that not more for those that don’t believe, that are not of the faith, we should not judge them? I believe Jesus Himself, and throughout the Gospels and Epistles states we are called as believers to stand firm in our faith, EVEN if it is against the tide.

    I find the Catholic Education where I am from has begun now too speak a language of ‘equity’ and ‘inclusive’. Where once the Policy was about providing a Catholic spiritually based education has become ‘foundation of excellence’, ‘identifies and eliminates barriers;…Adding Religious Accommodation Policy…

    “If you don’t want to be Catholic, then get out”…amen..
    Human nature being what it is, you’ll always have some who think they can be half in and half out.” Exactly!! this is what I also think about sending your child to a Catholic School education but refusing to allow them to participate in anything that even ‘resembles’ Catholic. And blast anyone who would state that…so to those who take a stand for the faith ..To this end, we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every effort of faith, that the Name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ!Fight the good fight of faith Courageous Priest!!

  • Ruthie Halvorsen

    Shame on Rev. Mike Tegeder to openly oppose his bishop. My heart cries to see such disrespect and Rev. Earl Simonson’s comment about “the great archbishop” and “we’re mere flunkies” saddens me extremely. I will pray for them.

  • Ruthie Halvorsen

    Making judgements is part of our gift of reason. We as humans make judgements daily regarding many things. “Should I eat this or not, will it be good for me?” etc. Why then are we not to make judgements regarding moral things. Agreed, we are not to judge the soul of another. We know not their heart nor intentions, but we can judge their actions and the fruit of said actions. It would be best if we asked of ourselves the questions, “Am I living a true, authentic Catholic life?” or “Am I lukewarm.” Yet, without the courage of our bishops and pastors to teach the truth of what a true, authentic Catholic life is, we won’t hasten to ask the tough questions nor will we be challenged to live them. I say thank you to Archbishop Nienstedt for speaking the truth in love and willing to take what comes of it, and thank you for challenging us to live an authentic Catholic life. God bless.

  • Elsa Golez Canlas



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