Dan Maguire for Pope!

Posted by Censor Librorum on Mar 27, 2007 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

On June 19, 2006 Marquette professor Daniel Maguire sent two pamphlets to all the Catholic Bishops in the United States, one entitled, “The Moderate Roman Catholic Position on Contraception and Abortion,” and the other “A Catholic Defense of Same-Sex Marriage.” In them, he argued that the Catholic position on these issues was “pluralistic,” and that Catholic theologians throughout history had taken a variety of acceptable stances on these issues.

Daniel C. Maguire is a Roman Catholic theologian who teaches religious ethics at Marquette University, a Jesuit institution in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is a 75-year-old former priest and prolific writer, educated at the prestigious Gregorian University in Rome, who has been challenging Catholic teaching on sexuality for years.

On March 22, 2007 the Doctrine Committee of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops declared that pamphlets published by Dr. Maguire on contraception, abortion and same-sex marriage “do not present authentic Catholic teaching.” The bishops’ Committee on Doctrine denounced the pamphlets as “irresponsible.” The bishops said it was “serious error” to claim “that the teaching of the pope and the bishops represents merely one voice among many legitimate voices within the Catholic Church.”

“They are simply misinformed,” responded Dr. Maguire said of the bishops. “There is no one Catholic view on contraception, abortion or same-sex marriage. There’s a diversity of views. And it’s not just Dan Maguire versus the bishops. There’s a large school of thought that agrees with everything I’ve said in these pamphlets.”

Below is Professor Maguire’s statement in response to the March 22 statement by the Committee on Doctrine, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

“The statement signed by eight bishops and two cardinals unfortunately ignored the main message of my letter to them. I urged them to recognize they are overly fixated on issues like contraception, abortion and same-sex marriage to the neglect of issues like peace-making, ecological destruction of God’s good earth, poverty, racism, and sexism-issues on which liberal and conservative Catholics could and should unite. Good people from all the world’s religions (including Catholics) differ on the sexual and reproductive issues on which the bishops seem impaled. The bishops treat them as defined dogmas and they are not.

When I speak I speak as one theologian. When the bishops (who are not theologians; they are pastors and administrators) speak on moral issues they pretend to speak for the whole church. It is arrogant of the bishops to claim a monopoly on insight in the Catholic community. According to Catholic teaching the Holy Spirit does not restrict illuminating grace to three thousand bishops and the pope. History shows, as Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J. has written, that there are multiple magisteria in the Church (including the wisdom of the faithful, sensus fidelium, and the wisdom of theologians) which historically have been mutually corrective.

In my letter, I pointed approvingly to the example of Cardinal Roger Mahony who entered the emigration debate citing his obligation to higher law and as a matter of fact his words changed the national debate in significant ways.

According to the criteria that the bishops taught in the 1983 pastoral letter on Peace, the current war in Iraq is unjust and immoral. I urged them to rise to prophecy and point out that an unjustified war is collective murder. Why are these bishops so obsessed with what I call “the pelvic issues” and so mute as a group on the ongoing slaughter in Iraq? Why can they not direct their moral passions to the ongoing double-basting of the planet in CO2.

I wrote to the bishops because I believe most theologians stand by mutely as the bishops pronounce on issues where they have no privileged expertise.

The bishops chose not to answer me on those questions. They stuck to their obsession with sexual and reproductive matters. That is a ‘pity beyond all telling.'”

Professor Maguire’s courage will make the light shine that much brighter Easter morning.


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