The Weekday Ramble is a daily dose of sports, music, culture, and more from Rambling On founder Erik Ritland. For more information check us out on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, or at our website.
Thursday April 9, 2015
Today’s ramble features some words on often criticized John Nienstedt, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
How well do you know the man?
As I mentioned in my Quote/Picture/Video about Pope Benedict XVI last Friday, when it comes to the Catholic Church it is often easier to build straw men instead of engaging reality. Like the Pope Emeritus, the reputation of Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt as a mean spirited, hard-nosed conservative is far from accurate.
I know this because I’ve worked with him. I worked security for years at the Cathedral and saw how professionally and charitably he treated everyone around him (even lowly people like me). As with most Archbishops he was constantly working, visiting homes, nursing homes, and hospitals, giving talks, celebrating Mass all over the state, and more. It’s hard to understand unless you see it, but people in his position give of themselves for a living.
Charity in action
I had the privilege of attending the Easter Vigil at the Cathedral last Saturday night. The Mass, a huge celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, is the pinnacle of the Catholic year.
Because of severe back pain Nienstedt isn’t able to stand long enough to give communion to the faithful. But something interesting happened on Saturday. Due to an apparent mistake there was only one priest serving in the busiest section of the church. Seeing that he was hung out to dry, the Archbishop grabbed a plate of hosts and helped him until communion was over. He was certainly in a lot of pain but I'm sure he didn’t regret it.
I know this isn’t conclusive evidence of his character, but hopefully it at least helps people think twice before they assume they know somebody that they’ve never met much less interacted with.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. His blog and podcast Rambling On features commentary on music, sports, culture, and more. He is also a contributor for Minnesota culture blog Curious North. Support Erik's music via his Patreon account, reach him via email, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.