Monday, January 28, 2008

Archbishop Burke should get a life

Raymond Burke, the right-wing Archbishop of St. Louis, has his undies in a bundle because Rick Majerus, St. Louis University's basketball coach, made comments favoring abortion rights in an off-campus campaign appearance with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton where Majerus was interviewed by a local television station.

"It's not possible to be a Catholic and hold those positions," Burke said. "When you take a position in a Catholic university, you don't have to embrace everything the Catholic church teaches. But you can't make statements which call into question the identity and mission of the Catholic church."

The archbishop declined to offer specifics of what discipline Majerus, a former Marquette University basketball coach, should face.

"I'm confident it (the university) will deal with the question of a public representative making declarations that are inconsistent with the Catholic faith," he said.

St. Louis University, a Jesuit institution, apparently isn't taking Burke's bait. A spokesman for the university, Jeff Fowler, said Majerus' comments were not related to his role at the university.

"Rick's comments were his own personal view. They were made at an event he did not attend as a university representative," Fowler said. "

It was his own personal visit to the rally. The comments were his, he was not speaking for the university," he added.

The university won a legal victory in a public financing case last year when the Missouri Supreme Court affirmed that it is not controlled by the Catholic church or by its Catholic beliefs.

While I think Burke is out of line in calling for Majerus to be disciplined by the university, I appreciate the underlying concern he voiced.

Nonetheless, universities -- including Catholic ones -- would be poorer places if academic freedom was suppressed.

At the end of the day, though, Burke needs to get a life. Rick Majerus is a basketball coach, not a theologian. Who cares what he thinks about abortion rights? (And why did the television interviewer even ask?)

6 comments:

George said...

Thank goodness this idiot is no longer in LaCrosse. Majerus is a basketball coach ... a MEN'S basketball coach ... and not exactly the oracle of Catholic theology or ethics. Hardly the person any sane individual would turn to for advice on this subject.

Burke's energies would best be directed in prolife activities that make a difference. To their credit, the St. Louis Jesuits handled this well.

Dad29 said...

The Archbishop of St Louis, like all other Bishops, has the duty (Munus) to defend the Faith.

Since Majerus is a public figure, employed by a "Catholic" university, and claims to be a Catholic, contradicting the Church's stand on abortion and ESCR happens to constitute scandal.

See Canon Law #915.

But, of course, Abp Burke will not "judge" Majerus. That's reserved to Someone else.

RAG said...

There are many, many Catholics who don't share the church's view on many different subjects.

Burke is certainly free to criticize Majerus but he's just a basketball coach whose opinion on this subject means about as much as a rat's behind.

Expressing an opinion isn't the same as engaging in action contrary to church teaching. That's a major leap.

Stanislaus said...

Burke has his own ethical issues: http://www.wtu.edu/news/InTheNews/Polish-10-1-04.htm

Dad29 said...

Rag, look up the word "scandal."

Maybe that will help you understand.

As to disagreement with the dogma of the Church--good luck with that.

RAG said...

I have no problem with Rick Majerus expressing an opinion and with Archbishop Burke responding. The factor overlooked here is the word "opinion."

Many learned theologians have disagreed with church teachings. Even Pope John Paul I in hia younger days had issues with church teaching on artificial contraception.

Merely expressing an opinion is a lot different that actively advocating disobedience with church teachings or with clear disobedience. The archbishop would be on sounder ground if either of those factors were present. They were not.

Suppose you don't agree with the law that prohibits possession of marijuana. Saying that you think marijuana should be legalized does not necessary make you a drug user or dealer.