Fr. Steve Niskanen (Full Text): Another California Priest Comes Out Against Prop. 8 in California

Shipwrecked Faith
Shipwrecked Faith

Tragic, yet true, the Church and society continue to suffer the infiltration of those opposed to the King of Heaven and Earth. Unless they repent they risk paying a heavy price both on earth and within the eternal fires of hell without chance of heaven… The Sixth Commandment includes:

What God has joined together, let not man put asunder.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The tradition of the Church has understood the sixth commandment as encompassing the whole of human sexuality.” (Meaning: The act of homosexuality falls under and violates the same command–despite gay marriage support and pronoucements to the contrary).
Let us pray for these, that they come to their senses. Or rather, a clear realization of the supernatural value of the faith they are so easily endangering. To him whom much has been given, much will be required still applies…

Fr. Steve Niskanen, CMF, Pastor San Gabriel Mission

Proposition 8:

Known as the “Protect Marriage Act”, this Proposition would amend California law to stipulate that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Proponents of Proposition 8, including the California Bishops’ Conference, argue that the California Supreme Court’s decision extending the definition of marriage to include same-sex partnerships devalues marriage and does not insure the well-being of children: “We need to recall that marriage mirrors God’s relationship with us-and that marriage completes, enriches, and perpetuates humanity. When men and women consummate their marriage they offer themselves to God as co-creators of a new human being. Any other pairing-while possibly offering security and companionship to the individuals involved-is not marriage. We must support traditional marriage as the source of our civilization, the foundation for a society that can be a home to all human beings, and the reflection of our relationship with God” (California Bishops’ Statement).

I deeply respect and submit to the authority of our bishops and the force of traditional Catholic teaching limiting sexual relations to the love and life-giving commitment of heterosexual marriage. But I cannot in conscience unequivocally support Proposition 8 because I cannot in my heart of hearts say with certainty, at this time, that God would not call His gay and lesbian children into a faithful and life-long covenant with one another. Some members of our families and of our parish family are gay and lesbian. Studies estimate that between 5-10% of the human race, across cultures, has a predominantly same-sex orientation. I believe that we as a Church need to learn from their stories of rejection and alienation, of faith, hope, and love, so as to better discern with them God’s will for their and our lives. My belief is that gay persons, as gay, are good, and part of God’s diverse creation. Their expression of love, though different from the majority, does, I believe, participate in both the weakness and selfishness of sin and the generosity and kindness of God’s love. They, like all of us, are called to chastity; that is, sexual self-control and loving respect of the other in conformity with one’s calling in life. In the pastoral statement, Always our Children, the US Bishops’ Committee on Marriage and Family concludes with a consoling word to our gay brothers and sisters, “Though at time you may feel discouraged, hurt, or angry, do not walk away from your families, from the Christian community, from all those who love you. In you God’s love is revealed. You are always our children.”

Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Steve Niskanen, CMF, Pastor


6 thoughts on “Fr. Steve Niskanen (Full Text): Another California Priest Comes Out Against Prop. 8 in California”

  1. Defining marriage as between one man and one woman is not taking away anyone’s rights. The definition simply distinguishes a union which is biologically designed to produce its own children. Whether a married couple has children or not, I feel like this deserves a separate name–even the potential is kind of a miracle.

    Actually this definition can be seen as the ultimate expression of equality our society has to offer: it takes one man and one woman. One could see a lesbian union as a marginalization of men, or a homosexual union as a marginalization of women.

    Equality is especially important when it comes to raising children. Children deserve/need a father and a mother. Neither parent should be marginalized.

    Yes, many children are already growing up in single-parent homes. Prop 8 should be a reminder to everyone that as a society we need to assist and strengthen families as much as possible. Really, as a society we should be most concerned with the success and health of our families.


  2. Father Steve,
    I learned of your commentary on Prop. 8 through one of your perplexed and conservative parishioners who wanted to know my opinion. This was a tough one, being an old friend and a gay man. My advice was to vote her heart, also knowing that she has a gay and loving sister.
    But I just wanted you to know how much I admire your courage and commitment to God’s love. Having a view on something that is contrary to Church’s position on gay marriage is one thing, but to take a public stand is quite noble and brave.
    May God continue to bless you with this bravery, for it is a sign of greatness. And know that others are supporting you most profoundly.
    Thank you,
    Paul Cimarusti

  3. From the San Gabriel Mission Weekly Bulletin, dated October 19, 2008…

    Dear Parishioners of San Gabriel Mission:

    The Peace of Christ be with you!

    Two weeks ago, I presented in a bulletin letter an overview of the three Propositions (4, 6 and 8) on which our California Bishops’ Conference has taken an official position. I presented these positions in summary, but then added my own personal opinion regarding Proposition 8, framing it as a matter of my conscience. I regret and apologize for placing my opinions on the same level as our Bishops, “the authentic teachers of the faith.” I fully respect and support our Bishops’ position that Proposition 8 does not intend to infringe on the human and legal rights of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters; rather it seeks to preserve the restriction of the term “marriage” to the complementary, life-long partnership of the whole of life, open to the gift of children, between one man and one woman.

    Your brother in Christ,

    Fr. Steve Niskanen, CMF, Pastor.

  4. Dear Fr. Niskanen: It is too bad, that we have to endure all this descrimination and opression for centuries inside the Catholic Church coming from the Bishops [ So called “Teachers of the Faith ” ]. While for the most part ; most of them , are gay themselves. It is too bad ; that obviously , being ” Teachers of faith “, doesn’t mean being ” Teachers of Honesty ” . Father Geoffrey is paying a heavy price for his honesty . Being HONEST is his real sin. You lost your chance to stand up for what is right , just because you want to cover your salary and the food , that your oppresor is giving to you. By being this way ,as a priest ; you will never be a role model for gay catholic people

  5. Dear Ernesto,

    Thank you for responding.

    A few points:

    1. It is not the Catholic Church or the Bishops that causes you to feel oppressed and discriminated against: but sin. You are angry with them because (as teachers of the faith) they have a responsibility to do just that–teach the truths of the faith for the good of souls. But the faith did not originate from them nor the moral requirements of being Catholic–these came from God, and are not only found within the teaching of the bishops on this matter, but within Holy Scripture, as well as its Author-the Holy Spirit; who convinces us not only of His love for us, but of our sins that offend. I struggle with the sins of the flesh as well. But, as Catholics, we find ourselves in the enviable position of having aquired, through baptism, all the powers of heaven within the sacraments that help us overcome the powers of hell and personal sin on earth in reaching the reward of faith: eternal life.

    2. It’s a stretch to insinuate that most Bishops are homosexuals. And even if they were, they’ed be called to practice the same chaste life as we are.

    3. As for Father Geoffrey, I will continue to pray that he comes to his senses, the greater supernatural sense of the faith, which deep conversion within the Truth of our faith confirms. There is no fleeting pleasure on earth that surpasses the age to come–the eternal reality of a new heaven and earth. Again, it is not the Church that is causing Father to pay a heavy price.

    4. As for Fr. Niskanen: I will pray for your hurtful comments towards him, all his personal needs and struggles in his vocation, and clarify this point: As a priest he is not called to model gay catholicity, but to save souls–including his own.

    May God continue to bless you Earnesto,

    james mary evans

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