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Statement of the Catholic Bishops of Minnesota in Response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson

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Along with women and men across our nation who respect the inherent dignity of each human life, the Catholic bishops of Minnesota give thanks to God on this historic day as the Supreme Court ends the injustice of the Roe v. Wade decision.  We are grateful that the Supreme Court has returned to state Legislatures and federal officials the ability to protect preborn children and save mothers and fathers from the untold pain of abortion.

For almost 50 years, Roe grievously denied one of America’s founding principles: that all men and women—irrespective of their stage of development—are created equal, with God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Forgetting this self-evident truth has resulted in the death of over 60 million preborn children and the wounding of millions of mothers and fathers.

Welcomed in Life

As a Church, we have been committed to providing help to every mother and father dealing with a crisis pregnancy, so they are not forced to choose abortion.  We are proud that many of our Catholic faithful work in crisis pregnancy centers that create nonjudgmental networks of support for women.  These centers offer shelter, housing assistance, free diapers and clothing, pregnancy and parenting classes, community referrals, childcare, and other charitable assistance.  Through our continued efforts to respect the well-being of both the mother and the child, we have been honored to accompany countless women and men tempted to choose abortion.  We have been privileged as well, through post-abortion healing retreats, to help parents who have chosen abortion to work through the pain they so often suffer.

To further support our work, the Catholic bishops of the United States have launched a nationwide initiative, Walking with Moms in Need (walkingwithmoms.com), to create additional avenues of support for mothers in our communities by way of Catholic parishes, ministries, and crisis pregnancy centers. We also pledge that our Catholic churches will be a sanctuary for women in crisis pregnancies. Any woman in a crisis pregnancy who comes to the door of a Catholic church in the state of Minnesota seeking assistance will be supported and, at a minimum, referred to resources where she can get help.

The Church’s contribution to public life walks with the two feet of justice and charity.  Our direct assistance to women in crisis pregnancies through charitable and philanthropic efforts is fundamental in our endeavor to build an authentic culture of life.  But we also commit to working in our state Legislature to ensure that every child is welcomed in life and respected by the law. 

Respected in Law

Unfortunately, the landscape in Minnesota is shaped by our own version of Roe v. Wade. The 1995 Doe v. Gomez decision of the Minnesota Supreme Court characterized the state right to an abortion as a “broader protection” than Roe, including the right of low-income women to a taxpayer-funded abortion. Sadly, Gomez is unlikely to be overturned without a change in federal law or a state constitutional amendment. 

Despite Minnesota’s legal landscape, we should continue to find ways to place reasonable limits on the availability of abortions, especially after viability (Minnesota is one of the few states without limitations on post-viability abortions). We should also put in place, and keep in place, measures to help protect women from further serious injury arising from the risks already involved with an abortion.  Such protections include, among other things, licensing abortion clinics and requiring that chemical abortions be procured only through a physician.

To limit the demand for abortion, the state should also commit its resources to ensuring that women have the support they need to choose life. Some pregnancy centers are supported in part by the state’s Positive Alternatives Grant Program, which promotes healthy pregnancy outcomes and assists pregnant and parenting women develop and maintain family stability and self-sufficiency. In a budget that will reach $60 billion by 2024, our state allocates only $3.375 million for these services, even though the need is much greater.  The most recent round of funding requests totaled roughly $6.5 million.

The prospect of Roe being overturned has already sharpened partisan division on the abortion question. As bishops, however, we have no interest in engaging as partisans, and we will continue to work to build common ground rooted in the principles articulated above. This is a matter of prenatal justice—giving to both mother and child that which is their due, namely, support and protection. 

But make no mistake: we will rigorously oppose efforts to expand the abortion license in Minnesota and we will work with people on both sides of the aisle to prevent Minnesota from becoming an abortion sanctuary state. 

Abortion advocates want people to believe that abortion promises liberation, but instead, it leads to sadness, pain, and the death of a human being.  To quote one pro-life leader, “Abortion says ‘I sacrifice your life for my convenience.’ But Love says, ‘I sacrifice my convenience for your life.’  Only love will lead to fulfillment.”  Let us be a credible witness to the Gospel of Life by sacrificing ourselves for the sake of others, both born and unborn.

We ask all Minnesotans to join our efforts to combat a throwaway culture, foster prenatal justice, and create a state where love prevails. 

 Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda
Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens
Diocese of Crookston

Bishop Daniel Felton
Diocese of Duluth

Monsignor Douglas L. Grams
Diocese of New Ulm

Bishop Joseph Williams
Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Bishop Donald J. Kettler
Diocese of St. Cloud

Bishop John M. Quinn
Diocese of Winona-Rochester

Largest Private Collection of Papal Artifacts Outside of Rome to be on Exhibit in Duluth

Duluth, MN  What started out as a hobby of collecting presidential autographs, turned into a papal passion for Duluth native, Father Richard Kunst. Through the years, his love of his faith propelled him to build what is believed to be the largest collection of Papal artifacts outside of Rome. The full collection is staggering and includes rarities connected to the papacy, canonized saints and notable individuals in history–including Napoleon.

 Father Kunst started this collection while working for the U.S. Senate. Over the years, it continued to grow and became so substantial that colleagues encouraged him to share these significant artifacts through a public viewing. The first viewing was held in 2004 in Duluth, commemorating the end of Pope John Paul II’s Jubilee Year.

 “My mission is to educate people about the Church, to help grow an appreciation for the papacy and share the beauty of our faith.” states, Father Richard Kunst, curator. “For many people, this is the closest they will ever get to a Pope, or the Vatican; it’s my belief that you cannot love what you know little about”.

 Father Kunst goes on to share that the collection is historically important, even for those who are not Catholic.  “The history of the Catholic Church has been influential in the formation of

our world today”. A prime example is the influence of Pope John Paul II. He was a leader whose religious convictions defined a new approach to world politics—and changed the course of history. As even his critics conceded, Pope John Paul II played a crucial role in some of the most momentous events of our time, including the collapse of European communism, the quest for peace in the Middle East, and the democratic transformation of Latin America.

 The Vatican Collection has been viewed by the likes of George Weigel, a leading Catholic theologian, and Crux editor, John Allen Jr. The Papacy: A Living History, (a series about the Collection and hosted by Fr. Kunst) aired for two seasons on EWTN and was part of numerous media outlets covering stories about the Collection over the past many years.

 The collection has grown immeasurably since 2004 and now includes:

 ●   Cross from Mother Teresa’s Habit (on loan from Bishop Brom)

●   Relics of the True Cross owned by Pope Clement XI

●   Many notable items from the life of Pope John Paul II

●   Signed letter from Napoleon Bonaparte discussing his strategy for managing Pope Pius

VII during his assault on the Papal States

●   Items from Pope Francis to Pope St. Victor I (189-199)

●   A relic from the original chair of St. Peter himself

●   Rare treasures from historic Conclaves and Swiss Guard

 Not only will Father Kunst be sharing his collection with the world, he’s turned it into a fundraiser that will benefit Stella Maris Academy, Catholic schools of Duluth, and Star of the North Maternity Home, with maternity home locations in the Twin Ports and the Iron Range.

 The event is ticketed and open to the public. It will include over 150 artifacts, presentations by Father Kunst, a Vatican store, a sponsors’ gala dinner at the Kitchi Gammi Club, and VIP Evening at the DECC hosted by Mark Hall Patton, of the famed TV show, Pawn Stars.

Protecting our children’s right to be safe at school

By Minnesota Catholic Conference, the Minnesota Catholic Bishops Public Policy Voice.

Guns are claiming the lives of U.S. children at alarming rates. It is the second leading cause of death for our kids. We’re just halfway through 2022 and already firearms have claimed the lives of over 700 children under age 19, including the 19 who were recently killed by an 18-year-old in a mass shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas. 

The Church takes an all-of-the-above approach to combating gun violence, as there is no ultimate solution to the complex problem, so long as evil persists in the human heart and guns are readily available as they will be in the U.S. due to our constitutionally protected right to own guns. But because rights come with responsibilities there are common-sense safety reforms that need to be part of the solution.  

At the state level, there are various gun safety proposals which the Minnesota Catholic Conference supports, such as red flag laws, but there is no political will to find common ground to pass them.

Therefore, to take steps to protect students now, MCC has urged Governor Walz to call a special session and pass Safe Schools legislation. This need is urgent! There were 22 shooting incidents in K-12 schools so far in 2022 and 119 since 2018. We need to act now before one more child gets on their bus uncertain whether they will return home.

The Safe Schools legislation, H.F. 4005/S.F. 3380, has bipartisan support. It creates a funding stream for all schools that can be used for security personnel, building enhancement, violence prevention programs, and mental health initiatives. Passing such legislation would be a concrete step toward protecting our children’s right to be safe from gun violence at least in the classroom.

While it is true that virtuous people need fewer laws, our reality is a permissive society that has become an incubator for alienation, mental illness, spiritual poverty, and other pathologies. It breeds nihilistic killers.  

Undoubtedly, we must minister to people before they reach such a dark place! So, in conjunction with the long-term project of creating a virtuous society in which families and thereby individuals flourish, we need more immediate safety reforms such as Safe Schools legislation.

Go to MNCatholic.org/ActionCenter today to tell your legislators we must pass Safe Schools legislation before even one more child is injured.

 

Action Alert:

Religious Freedom Week

We are soon approaching Religious Freedom Week, which will take place this year from June 22 to the 29. We are invited with Catholics around the country to pray, reflect, and act to promote religious freedom. Each day of the week will focus on a different issue at hand such as our calling to walk with moms in need (June 22), for the adoption and foster care system (June 24), and for health care workers and their conscience protections (June 28). We ask you to join in prayer during this important week to ask God that our religious liberty be respected and protected in this country, even in the face of pushback. To learn more, you can visit: https://www.mncatholic.org/religiousfreedomweek

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help to Launch “The Shepherd Project” on May 1

The nationwide campaign invites the faithful to join the Shrine in praying for the bishops across the country.

 Champion, Wis. – The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, the first and only approved Marian Apparition Site in the United States, will be praying for the United States’ bishops, one diocese a day, from May 1 until the end of October. The nationwide season of prayer, titled “The Shepherd Project,” will begin with the dioceses closest to the Shrine’s physical location and emit outward until each bishop in the United States is prayed for.

 “As our world faces a shortage of peace and an increase in division and attacks within our families and the Church, our bishops are facing extreme challenges,” said Rev. John Broussard, C.P.M. and Rector of The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. “This is what inspired The Shepherd Project - to pray, through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, for our church leaders and ask our Lord to grant them the grace necessary to heroically guide our communities in these precarious times.”

 Pilgrims visiting the National Shrine in Champion, Wisconsin from May to the end of October will see a perpetually lit candle in the Apparition Oratory that is dedicated to all United States bishops, along with a sign indicating what bishop and diocese is being prayed for on that day.

 For those interested in praying along day by day, the National Shrine has also launched a webpage that includes a special prayer for the Shepherd Project and the date lineup for each bishop’s dedication. While just the ordinary bishop’s names are included on the list, the prayers being offered also include each diocese’s auxiliary bishops as well.

 The Shrine is inviting all Christians to join its prayers for all bishops as they continue the good work within the communities they are entrusted with. For more information on The Shepherd Project or to pray along, visit championshrine.org/shepherd-project.

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 About the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help

Located in Champion, Wisconsin, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help is the first and only Marian Apparition Site in the United States approved by the authority of the Catholic Church. The Shrine covers the peace-filled holy ground where Mary, the mother of Jesus, appeared to a Belgian immigrant woman named Adele Brise on October 9, 1859, identifying herself as "The Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners.” Six years after the 2010 decree of authenticity was made, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops designated the site in Champion as a National Shrine.

 For more information on the Shrine, its history and events, visit www.championshrine.org or follow along on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. To sign up for its newsletter, click here.

Bishop Cozzens of Crookston, Minn., talks new Eucharist film, explores disbelief in the Real Presence

by Catholic News Agency

Crookston, Minn. - “Providential” is the word that Bishop Andrew Cozzens of Crookston used to describe the April 25 release of “ALIVE: Who is there?”, a movie highlighting the transformative power of the Eucharist.

He said the movie is timed perfectly for this summer’s kick off to the U.S. bishops’ Eucharistic Revival, which Cozzens is leading in his capacity as U.S. bishops’ conference chair on evangelization and catechesis. Cozzens, who offers exclusive commentary in the bonus features of the film for U.S. audiences, spoke to CNA April 12 about his excitement for the movie, while elaborating further on his thoughts about topics such as disbelief in the Eucharist, reverent liturgy, the ad orientem posture, and practices for the reception of Holy Communion.

“I think it is a wonderful time as we’re preparing to launch the Eucharistic revival to have such a powerful movie about people’s encounter with Jesus and the Eucharist,” Cozzens said.

The movie’s one-day-only showing in the United States on April 25 marks the first time that English speaking audiences will be able to read along with subtitles, as it was directed and produced by Spanish filmmakers. Tickets for the 90-minute-long, Spanish-language documentary, which is subtitled in English, can be bought through the movie’s content distributor in the United States, Fathom Events.

Being aired in all 50 states and Washington D.C., the movie features the testimonies of five men and women who share how the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist has transformed their lives. Negotiations are underway in Canada and Australia to distribute the film to English speaking audiences in those countries as well.

Cozzens, who said he hopes everyone will see the movie, praised the film’s mode of using testimony to teach about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. “When one person tells me about the reality of Jesus, especially his Presence in the Eucharist, that helps me believe in Jesus’ own words and what those words could mean for me,” he said.

Do this and the Real Presence will become clear to you

Commenting further on the Real Presence, Cozzens said that for those who haven’t had a life-changing experience in eucharistic adoration, he would tell them that “in order for faith to be real, I don’t always have to have an emotional experience and real faith will transform things over time.”

“I would also say what Jesus says: ‘Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened. Ask and you will receive.’ And that really means keep on seeking, keep on asking, and as you continue to pursue Jesus and his presence in the Eucharist, it will become clear to you,” he added.

Two fundamental reasons for disbelief

Cozzens said he thinks there are a couple “fundamental reasons” why there are such high rates of disbelief in the Real Presence, among both Catholics and non-Catholics.

First, Cozzens said that modern culture has fallen into a heresy of what he calls “scientism” and has lost a “sacramental worldview.” Cozzens said that people struggle to understand the sacraments, which is “God’s very life being communicated through this physical, tangible reality.”

The second reason for disbelief is bad catechesis, Cozzens told CNA.

“More than 10 years ago, the bishops really sort of tried to take by the handle catechesis in our country because they realized that several things in common catechetical texts were misrepresenting the truth about Catholic theology and one of those was the Eucharist,” he said.

“That’s where the bishops started this very intensive catechism review for all catechetical texts and we’re still getting our hands around all that, but it pointed to a problem that was very real in catechesis,” he added. “And some of that reality in catechesis also really flowed into our liturgy.”

Cozzens said that the liturgy of the Mass has not always had true reverence “that would help to carry forth the meaning of the truth of both the sacrifice of the Mass and Jesus’ presence and the Eucharist.”

Cozzens said that at times “we placed more emphasis on the communal dimension of the liturgy, which is a very important dimension, but sometimes to the detriment of the reality of what’s happening at the Mass and who we’re encountering.”

How to restore belief in the Eucharist

“Good liturgy follows the General Instruction of the Roman Missal,” Cozzens said, while noting that the General Instruction allows for variations within the liturgy. He said if the Missal is followed, “that alone contributes to reverence of the Eucharist.”

When asked if liturgical changes such as Communion in the hand and celebration versus populum had contributed to disbelief in the Eucharist, Cozzens said, “I am hesitant to believe that certain particular ritual changes will solve all our problems.”

Cozzens said he believes that “we ought to receive Communion reverently,” while adding that he has seen people receiving on the hand with so much reverence that it has brought him to tears “because you can tell how much they believe in Jesus in the real presence.”

“I also think it’s very beautiful when people receive Communion on the tongue, or even when people receive Communion kneeling and I appreciate the reverence that they’re showing for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament there,” he said.

Cozzens said that he trusts the Church in its judgement to permit Communion on the hand and Mass said versus populum, and noted that there “may come a day when the Church in general says, ‘yeah, we think it’s better to go back to Communion on the tongue.’”

However, he said it would be difficult to say Communion on the hand was a mistake, “because a lot of evidence that we have shows that Communion on the hand preceded Communion on the tongue for centuries.”

Cozzens praised the writings of Benedict XVI on Mass said ad orientem, which communicated his thoughts that “it would be too much of a dramatic change to try to change that back, at least right now and that it was better to try to do the versus populum liturgy well because something was gained for many people in their experience of the liturgy by being able to see more of what the action of the priest is.”

Cozzens told CNA that people often bring concerns to him about irreverent liturgy, and liturgical abuse.

He said that he recommends to those people that they sit for an hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament in adoration once a week and that they “offer that holy hour for the struggles that their parish is having and for the people in [their] parish.”

Anger is a normal reaction when holy things are not treated properly, Cozzens said, but, “that kind of anger needs to be converted into deeper love and sacrifice in order to be able to be used by the Lord in a spiritual, for the good of his Church.”

Cozzens also recommends starting a small group with friends to study the Eucharist and sit in adoration together as a witness.

“I think it’s wonderful that [the movie] is in Spanish because we have so many Latino Catholics in the United States, many of them great lovers of our Lord in the Eucharist,” Cozzens said.

He said that there are many English and Spanish speakers whom the movie could benefit by giving them a deeper understanding of the Eucharist.