Archbishop Calls Foul on Catholic Basketball Coach

By Coday, Dennis | National Catholic Reporter, February 8, 2008 | Go to article overview

Archbishop Calls Foul on Catholic Basketball Coach


Coday, Dennis, National Catholic Reporter


St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke, who has called Catholic presidential candidates on the carpet for supporting abortion rights, now wants a Catholic university to discipline its basketball coach for making pro-abortion statements.

Rick Majerus, coach of the St. Louis University Billikens, has a high profile in college basketball. After taking the University of Utah to 10 National Collegiate Athletics Association tournaments, he was lured to Missouri by Jesuit-run St. Louis University. His hiring last April electrified students and alumni. But his popularity and high profile have drawn him into public conflict with the orthodoxy-enforcing St. Louis archbishop.

Majerus attended a rally for Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign Jan. 19. At the rally, he gave a television interview in which he said that he is a pro-choice Catholic and supports stem-cell research.

Three days later, Burke was in "Washington for the annual Right to Life March. Speaking there to reporters from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the archbishop called on St. Louis University to discipline Majerus.

"I'm concerned that a leader at a Catholic university made these comments. It can lead Catholics astray," Burke told the newspaper. "As a Catholic, you just cannot hold these beliefs."

Responding to Burke's comments, Majerus told the Post-Dispatch he "respectfully" disagreed.

"I do not speak for the university or the Catholic church. These are my personal views. And I'm not letting him change my mind," the coach said.

What if any action the university will take is not known. University officials have remained mum on the subject.

The autonomy of St. …

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