Response Regarding Father VanDenBroeke


I guess I caused a bit of trouble for Father VanDenBroeke (here is a much better picture that the one that was on his church’s website). I contacted the Catholic Diocese of Minneapolis/St. Paul about Father VanDenBroeke’s homily and received this response, after two days and when the news story broke (or as we say in the blogging biz the shit hit the fan)  I received a response:

Dear Mary,

Thank you for contacting the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis regarding Father Nick VanDenBroeke’s Immigration Sunday homily.  Below is a statement from Archbishop Hebda and an apology from Father VanDenBroeke.

 From Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda:

I have spoken with Father VanDenBroeke about his homily on immigration and he has expressed sorrow for his words and an openness to seeing more clearly the Church’s position on our relationship with Islam. The teaching of the Catholic Church is clear. As Pope Benedict XVI noted, “The Catholic Church, in fidelity to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, looks with esteem to Muslims, who worship God above all by prayer, almsgiving and fasting, revere Jesus as a prophet while not acknowledging his divinity, and honour Mary, his Virgin Mother.”  He called upon the Church to persist in esteem for Muslims, who “worship God who is one, living and subsistent; merciful and almighty, the creator of heaven and earth, who has also spoken to humanity.”  If all of us who believe in God desire to promote reconciliation, justice and peace, we must work together to banish every form of discrimination, intolerance and religious fundamentalism.

That continues to be our teaching today.  Pope Francis has echoed Pope Benedict, stating that it is important to intensify the dialogue between Catholics and Islam.  He has emphasized “the great importance of dialogue and cooperation among believers, in particular Christians and Muslim, and the need for it to be enhanced.”  He has called for all Christians and Muslims to be “true promoters of mutual respect and friendship, in particular through education.”

I am grateful for the many examples of friendship that have been offered by the Muslim community in our region and we are committed to strengthening the relationship between the two communities.

From Father Nick VanDenBroeke:

My homily on immigration contained words that were hurtful to Muslims.  I’m sorry for this.  I realize now that my comments were not fully reflective of the Catholic Church’s teaching on Islam.

Both statements may be found here:

Thank you,

VanDenBroeke’s apology reminds me when one sibling is forced to apologize to another sibling: “I guess my fist was hurtful to your face. I’m sorry. I know now that my fists hitting you are not reflective of mom’s teaching on loving your sibling.” I’m sure he is sorry he was caught but apologizing for words isn’t exactly the same as admitting you were wrong. I doubt that he will ever do that. This is what I think a conversation between the Father and I would look like:


Lonsdale Priest Says Keep Out Muslims

Grove Church (from website)

The other day a friend responded to a post of mine in Facebook about a news article I read on how the Methodist church leadership wants to revive a church in Cottage Grove, Minnesota and their first step is to ask all of the current members, most of whom are 60+, to go away.  She said:

I went to the catholic church in Lonsdale a few weeks ago for a family baptism and the priest said from the pulpit that we should not let Muslims into the country. He said other disturbing things, but that was the kicker.

I couldn’t believe this, although I guess I’m not sure why I shouldn’t believe it. Such a statement is no longer a surprise in this country – but I guess if this was going to come from a church pulpit I expected it to be an evangelical “Christian” church pulpit, not one at a Catholic church.

From church website

So I had to try to find the church and see if there was any reference to the statement. The church is the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Lonsdale, Minnesota. Lonsdale is located about 40 miles south of the Twin Cities in Rice County. It is a fast growing community that since 1970 has gone from a census population of 622 to an estimated current population of 4,000. This includes a friend of mine from work and her husband and daughter. She loves it there and raves about what a great place it is. She also thinks this is a bullshit. Continue reading