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St. Louis archbishop decries abortion advocacy by basketball coach January 23, 2008

St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke has announced that he would withhold the Eucharist from the basketball coach at a local Catholic university.

Rick Majerus, the coach at St. Louis University, had captured headlines locally by appearing at a campaign rally for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and announcing his support for legal abortion. "I'm pro-choice, personally," Majerus told a television audience, adding that he also supported embryonic stem-cell research.

During a visit to Washington, DC, to take part in the annual March for Life, the archbishop told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that it was "not possible to be a Catholic and hold those positions."

Archbishop Burke has been the leading figure in a public debate among American bishops about the duty to withhold Communion from Catholics who are flagrantly at odds with Church teachings on key moral issues. The archbishop has argued that bishops and priests have a duty to do so in order to prevent public scandal. Other American bishops have said that they are not prepared to take that step.

The archbishop said that he was confident St. Louis University, a Jesuit institution, would take action to remedy a situation in which a prominent representative of the university is taking positions incompatible with the Catholic faith.

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