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Minneapolis/St. Paul Catholic Archdiocese gets a New Conservative Bishop

Roman Catholic Bishop John Nienstedt of New Ulm, Minn., was named Tuesday to succeed Archbishop Harry Flynn for Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Known to have very conservative viewpoints when it comes to enforcing Catholic rule, Nienstedt has "prohibited cohabitating couples from being married in Catholic churches. He barred female pastoral administrators from leading prayers at a semiannual leadership event. He once disciplined a priest for holding joint ecumenical services with a Lutheran congregation after the Catholic church had been destroyed by a tornado," according to the article in the Pioneer Press.

According to the Star Tribune: "He has pushed for an amendment to the state Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman and has taken conservative stances on issues ranging from Terri Schiavo to the causes of homosexuality. But he skirted questions about whether he will be liberal or conservative, calling such labels "too political" and saying that "the Holy Spirit, not I" will mediate disagreements among Catholics.

"The church is like a football field with goalposts and boundaries, but a good many things can be accomplished within the structure of the game," he said. "Jesus has given us instructions, and we have to be faithful to them, so if someone is out of bounds, they may be whistled down. But yes, we can always talk about issues.""

The political and social views of this priest may or may not affect the attitudes of his public, but only time will tell.