|"Father" Bob Pierson at "Gay Prom"|
Fr. Pierson was born on December 29, 1955 and graduated from St. John's University in 1978. He was ordained on 2, June 1984.
He's famous in the past for resigning from his campus ministry position at St. John's University when the Pope announced some increased standards for seminarians. Homosexuals were to be excluded. The ruling was later softened, but Fr. Bob Pierson insisted on sticking to his guns.
Last year, he even found time to attend a "gay prom".
Since then, he's been toted by the media barons, like the anti-Catholic Huffington Post, as a "Gay Priest" which prompted some stern words from the local ordinary, Archbishop Nienstedt.
Despite the fact that Fr. Pierson identifies himself alternatively as "Epsicopalian" on his Facebook, he is still in good standing. Indeed, he approves of and has even posted an open letter to the Archbishop by a Lutheran Lay-Bishop.
Despite all of these antics, and many others that go on at St. John's, theAbbey website still describes him as a Catholic monk in good standing, to whom it falls the task of creating an inviting, welcoming and caring environment for visitors to the Monastery. It's a pretty tall order for anyone to make that badly wreckovated place look inviting. The poured concrete Abbey Church is a significant pile of brutal concrete, designed by Jewish architect Marcel Breuer. It looks nothing like a Catholic Church and actually more closely resembles a Buddhist temple. Still, irony of ironies, Father Pierson is in good standing with the Catholic Church and many local people, albeit a shrinking number, have been fooled into believing that the Abbey, the monk, his very public and scandalous declarations, are Catholic.
Despite all of this, more recently, the Benedictine told the tale that he'd been advised by Archbishop John Nienstedt to stay out of his Archdiocese. Despite what looks like a very stern warning, the errant priest and one of his cohorts, Father Mark Tegeder, continue to work with wheelchair organizations like CALGM and CPCSM which have been unwelcome in the Archdiocese in the past.
They also continue to be very public in attacking the Archbishop's marriage amendment. Indeed, despite repeated warnings, including a pointed e-mail to Father Mark Tegeder, the priest has continued to speak publicly, to the glee of the local anti-Catholic Star.
Last fall, Nienstedt told priests and deacons that he expected them to support the marriage amendment and that "there ought not be open dissension on this issue."
He had more specific instructions for the Rev. Mike Tegeder, priest at St. Frances Cabrini Church in Minneapolis who's been a rare internal, public critic of the church on this issue.
"If you choose not to offer your resignation, but continue to act openly or speak publicly about your opposition to Church teaching, I will suspend your faculties to exercise ministry and remove you from your ministerial assignments," Nienstedt wrote to Tegeder in a letter last November.
Asked why the archbishop hasn't removed Tegeder, given the priest's continued public criticism, spokesman Jim Accurso said the archdiocese doesn't comment on personnel matters. More generally, Accurso said, "we are not aware of a single incident where the conduct of an employee regarding the marriage amendment has raised the issue of discipline."
Nienstedt has declined Pioneer Press requests to be interviewed about the marriage question.
To Tegeder, Nienstedt's push is "putting things really out of kilter."
What threatens marriage most is a bad economy and divorce, he said. Trying to deny a small percentage of people with homosexual orientations the right to have committed relationships under law "seems to be cruel."
"That's the odd thing about Nienstedt's making a big issue out of this. There's a small percent of gay people, but what is it, 50 percent of marriages break down or something? Using the constitution to do what he says he's doing, defending marriage, it's like using a bazooka to kill a fly. You're going to get all kinds of collateral damage; you're not doing what you're trying to accomplish."