A reader points to a column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about the "respectful defiance" of St. Louis University basketball coach Rick Majerus toward Archbishop Raymond Burke. The coach, you see, knows more about what it means to be Catholic than the Archbishop:
"I'm very respectful to the archbishop," Majerus said. "But I rely on my value judgments, thanks to my education at Marquette, which is a Jesuit institution, just like St. Louis. And that Jesuit education led me to believe that I can make a value judgment. And my value judgment happens to differ from the archbishop's.
"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. I think religion should be inclusive. I would hope that all people would feel welcome inside a church, and that the church would serve to bring people together, even if they happen to disagree on certain things."
Let's say, just for sake of argument, that I am a player on Coach Ma
rjerus's team. He wants me, an already undersized power forward, to play center. He also demands that I practice for two hours a day, in addition to spending another two hours a day learning plays and watching film. On top of that, he has the audacity to inform me that he will be the one who decides when I play and how much I play. The problem is that I attended My Way High School and I learned a different set of value judgments. I was taught that I, being the star player and being a fully autonomous 18-year-old, should be able to practice and play however much I want and when I want. Who is the coach to tell me what I can do on the court? After all, I chose to play for his team, but that doesn't mean I have to do what he says. I have every right to be a starter on the team and ignore his coaching and do what I want. To borrow from Coach Ma rjerus:
"These beliefs are ingrained in me," Majerus said. "And my First Amendment right to free speech supersedes anything that the archbishop would order me to do. ...
As for abortion, Majerus said his position is simple: A woman should have the freedom to choose.
Very well, Coach. You are free to hold your beliefs. All that anyone asks is that you stop claiming to be a loyal, committed member of the team (the Church) when you reject the directives of the coach (the Archbishop) and the Man (Jesus Christ) who founded the team and owns it to this day. I know that if I was on your basketball team and I publicly disobeyed you and the rules of the team, I certainly wouldn't be allowed to play and I would probably get kicked off the of team. And rightly so. Is it so hard to understand?
Finally, Coach Ma
rjerus provides this Sad and Revealing Comment of the Poorly Catechized Catholic of the Week:
Majerus told a story that, to him, best sums up his philosophy. Holding an anti-death penalty sign outside an Illinois prison one night, Majerus was approached by a penitentiary guard who offered friendly advice.
"He told me, 'Coach, stop it, because you can't change the world,'" Majerus said. "And I told him, 'You're right, buddy. But I won't let the world change me.'"
Just so we're clear, Coach: it is the world that disrespects authority and lauds the killing of the unborn. Not the Church. Better get yourself a copy of the playbook and freshen up a bit, especially paragraphs 2270-75.