Minnesota Teen Supports His Friend in Confirmation Controversy

Last weekend, we reported the story of a Minnesota teenager, Lennon Cihak, who is being denied confirmation because he took a stand in support of marriage equality during that state’s recent ballot initiative.

An interesting development has occurred in this story:  one of Cihak’s confirmation class peers has refused to receive confirmation as a  gesture of solidarity for his friend.  What makes this development even more interesting is that the second teen, Ryne Kisch, does not share Cihak’s support of marriage equality.

D-L Online.com reports:

“Jay Kisch said his 16-year-old son, Ryne, did not agree with 17-year-old Lennon Cihak’s support of same-sex marriage, instead withdrawing from the confirmation process at Assumption Church here ‘out of compassion and concern’ for Cihak.

“ ‘They don’t necessarily share the same viewpoint on gay marriage, but yet they’re good friends and very supportive of each other,’ Jay Kisch said.”

Yet, the priest who denied confirmation to Cihak, Fr. Gary LaMoine, made a public statement that Kisch agreed with Cihak on marriage equality, which Kisch and his family have denied:

“In a letter to the parish made public last Friday, LaMoine said both Cihak and another ‘candidate,’ meaning Ryne Kisch, withdrew from the confirmation process ‘because of their disagreement with the teaching of the Church concerning marriage.’

“ ‘My son feels like he’s been maligned,’ he said. ‘No one even asked him why he didn’t want to go through the confirmation process. I think it was just assumed that he believed in gay marriage.’

“Although Ryne, who has been a friend of Cihak’s since kindergarten, says he does not support same-sex marriage, he still wanted to stand with his friend.

“ ‘We disagree on the views but we can still be friends,’ Ryne said. ‘I decided to stick up for him.’ ”

LaMoine–and indeed the entire church– can learn a lesson from Ryne:  you don’t have to agree to be able to stand in solidarity and communion with your friend.  Love can transcend all differences.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry



5 thoughts on “Minnesota Teen Supports His Friend in Confirmation Controversy

  1. K. Miller November 25, 2012 / 10:33 am

    Truly, love is the answer. The church and its members will hopefully realize that blind obedience is not the way. We are to love God and love our neighbors.

  2. IzzieJ November 25, 2012 / 4:19 pm

    What a wonderful friendship. It seems to embody the love of Jesus Christ and God’s commitment to LOVE His creation, even when He does not agree with our sinful nature. Blessings-Izzie J

  3. Bishop James Wilkowski November 25, 2012 / 9:53 pm

    These two young men renew the meaning “out of the mouths of children.” It is sad that those who needed to be adults have deaf ears.

  4. Terri Hemker November 25, 2012 / 10:50 pm

    It reminds me of Jonathan and David! 🙂

  5. Jaime November 26, 2012 / 12:05 am

    This is an inspiring story. I made calls during the campaign season on behalf of the “Vote No” group, Minnesotans United for All Families. It’s true I got my ears burned a few times. But when I got into conversations with some who explained they are Catholic, I found some who were open-minded and inclined to vote no. As many of you know the Archbishop in Minnesota has been extremely active, some might say over the top in opposing gay rights in general let alone gay marriage. I often question people about the “Golden Rule” and ask them to reconcile that when they raise biblical concerns. But tolerance is also a key part of this and this story is about tolerance and courage.

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