Archbishop Confronted …

Lavender Magazine

Archbishop Confronted: Gay Man in 35-Year Relationship Clarifies Archbishop Nienstedt’s Restaurant Comment to the Star Tribune

By John Townsend

October 18, 2012

Last year the Archdiocese distributed 400,000 antigay DVDs* made by the Knights of Columbus meant to stir antigay marriage sentiments.

In the Oct. 6, 2012, Star Tribune Q&A with John Clayton Nienstedt, Archbishop for the Minneapolis-St. Paul Archdiocese, one question asked for clarification about a recollection by Rev. Michael Becker of St. Paul’s St. John Vianney Seminary that occurred at St. Paul’s Lexington Restaurant. The questioner said, “a man came into the restaurant and threw one of the church’s DVDs at you” to set context for a response.

Gregg Larson has come forth to challenge Rev. Becker’s account. He was at the restaurant with his partner of 35 years on Friday evening Dec. 3, 2010. He was the man who confronted Archbishop Nienstedt. Larson: “First off, I didn’t come into the restaurant. My partner and I were there before they arrived. Also, I did not throw the DVD at him [contrary to Rev. Becker’s account to the Star Tribune]. I would never have done that. In fact, nobody in the restaurant even was aware of the conversation that we had with them. It’s less than accurate to characterize what happened that way. It also says that the Archbishop remained composed. He didn’t really remain composed. And in the Archbishop’s answer he didn’t refute any of that. He simply said, ‘I try to reply to emotional outbursts with reason, calm, and patience.’ Well, there was no emotional outburst. And nobody in the restaurant was aware of the conversation.”

Synchronistically, Larson had a copy of the DVD sent to his elderly mother at her nursing home in his car which he was intending to return to the Archdiocese. What follows is what Larson says actually happened starting when he saw Nienstedt waiting alone near the coat check to sit down. Larson: “First I went up to him and asked, ‘Are you John Nienstedt?’ And he said, ‘Yes.’ And I introduced myself. Then I said my mother got this piece of junk mail and I wanted to return it. And I said it was the [antigay marriage] DVD that you had sent out.” Larson then told Nienstedt that he had heard he is gay and that “if that was true then he was a hypocrite and I went back and sat down.”

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