Coadjutor Archbishop Nienstedt Responds to Pioneer Press
I just got my May 3, 2007 issue of the Archdiocesan newspaper, The Catholic Spirit and there is a brief interview by Maria Wiering with Coadjutor Archbishop John Nienstedt in it. I found this particular exchange interesting.
Question: The Pioneer Press article that ran the day after the coadjutor announcement called you “hard line” [“Hard-line Bishop to Succeed Flynn,” April 25, 2007]. How does that initial perception strike you?
Coadjutor Archbishop Nienstedt: It struck me as being very harsh. I don’t see myself as being a hard-line person. I believe what the church believes. And unfortunately, in this day and age where there is such pluralism and individualism in our society, a person who believes in a creed as we do as Catholics, is somehow considered hard-line or a fanatic — a zealot, if you will — because they believe what they believe, they believe what the church believes.
I have worked ecumenically with the Lutheran bishops in New Ulm, and on the national level I’ve worked on religious affairs. I’m on a committee — I have been for about 10 years — with the Jewish rabbis. But, I believe the Roman Catholic Church is the one true church of Jesus Christ. I wouldn’t have given up my life, I wouldn’t have given up a family and a wife, if I didn’t believe that.
And so, that isn’t to say that we don’t find truth in Judaism — we do. Spiritually, we are all Semitists, Pope Pius XII said. It’s not that we don’t find truth in the reformed churches. But I believe that the Catholic Church reflects the body of Christ as he intends it to be reflected.
As I said in the press conference, I’ve given all my affection to the church, and I will do what she asks me to do because I believe that her message and her mission need to be heard.
I hope the readership of The Catholic Spirit will find me as a compassionate person, as an understandable and reasonable man. I don’t think I’m harsh at all, but I do stick to my guns. If confronted by questions, I answer them truthfully. If I’m confronted with people who disagree, I argue our point of view because I think our point of view is right. I would hope that more would be willing to accept it.