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A letter to ESPN columnist Pat Forde: Coach Majerus and Archbishop Burke

By Peter Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Jan 25, 2008

You can read Forde's article on the clash between Coach Rick Majerus and Archbishop Raymond Burke here:

Majerus: 'Good for your soul to be involved in this process'

Here is my response to Pat Forde.

Pat,

With respect, both you and Coach Majerus have missed the point. As a Catholic, you are permitted to have your own opinion. However, Catholics (by definition) believe that the Catholic Church has the authority to definitively teach in matters of faith and morals. This is one of the central tenets of Catholicism, and if you espouse the view that the Church’s expressed teaching on a matter of morals is merely its own opinion, to be considered on equal footing with your own, you have forsaken Catholicism. Therefore, to continue to call yourself a Catholic is deceitful.

In fact, this is one of the litmus tests by which you can determine true Catholics from those who claim to be Catholic, but in fact are not.

The Catholic Church has definitively taught that abortion is intrinsically evil. One of the common national misconceptions about Catholicism, put forth by Kerry during his presidential campaign, is that the Catholic Church teaches that individuals must follow their consciences in regards to these matters – as if that is all there is to it. The Catholic Church also teaches that the Catholic is required to properly form his conscience according to the teachings of the Church.

To sum up:

  1. Rick Majerus claims to be a Catholic.
  2. The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is immoral under all circumstances.
  3. Rick Majerus disagrees with the teachings of the Church on the matter of abortion, and has taken his opinion into the public forum.
  4. Therefore, Majerus does not believe that the Catholic Church has the authority to teach definitively on matters of Faith and Morals.
  5. Therefore, Majerus has relinquished the right to call himself a Catholic.
  6. Catholics in good standing, especially those in positions of responsibility, should feel compelled to take appropriate action (or at least correct error where it appears, as I do with you).
To expect to be able to enjoy, or claim membership in, a religion or even secular organization while disagreeing with its central beliefs and rules is ridiculous.

I would not expect you to accept me as a sports journalist despite the fact that I have never written a sports column. Why should Majerus expect I or Bishop Burke to accept Majerus’s claim to be Catholic, even though he has (apparently) never followed the teachings of the Catholic Church?

Regards,

Peter Mirus
Vice President
Trinity Communications
trincomm.org, catholicculture.org, cwnews.com

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