Calling for Marquette to dismiss Maguire

Calling for Marquette to dismiss Maguire

Catching up on some recent news, lots of Catholics are following up on the recent USCCB pronouncement on Prof. Dan Maguire’s pro-abortion, pro-gay, pro-dissent-of-the-moment is unacceptable from a Catholic theologian by demanding that Marquette University remove him from his teaching post.

Both Human Life International and the Cardinal Newman Society have called on the Jesuit university to fire Maguire because his continued presence on the theology faculty is a grave scandal.

Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer, president of Human Life International, (HLI), said, “I call upon Marquette to stop hiding behind false ideas of tenure and ‘academic freedom’ in the face of theological malfeasance and dismiss Dan Maguire. A Catholic university should be Catholic and not tolerate false teachers like Maguire.”


CNS president Patrick J. Reilly wrote to Marquette president, Robert Wild, a Jesuit priest, saying, “Marquette University is responsible for presenting Maguire to students and the general public as an expert in moral theology and ethics. Marquette gives Maguire the legitimacy he needs to publicly undermine the Church and secure frequent media appearances.”

Marquette claims that academic freedom trumps fidelity to the magisterium. While it may be true that academic freedom is a necessary component for the study of, say, biology, when it comes to teaching theology at a Catholic university, that freedom must remain within certain bounds.

Of course there are bounds outside which no professor may stray. If a theology professor declared that Jews are subhuman or Christ-killers, he’d be out on his butt faster than you could say anti-Semite and the university would be trumpeting the necessity based on Christian moral teaching. So why does Maguire get a free pass on abortion, gay marriage, contraception, and the rest? Because he’s espousing the liberal viewpoint?

This is a question of consistency and for consistency’s sake, Maguire should go.

Incidentally, does anyone else remember a little document called Ex corde ecclesiae, which required all thologians at Catholic universities to request a teaching mandate from their local ordinary and was supposed to ensure this sort of thing didn’t happen?

Whatever happened to that? Oh yeah.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • I used to be upset at colleges about the whole mandatum thing, but it also clear that the bishops (even some good ones) have been negligent in their responsibilities. The USCCB document you link to clarifies (section 4,e) that “The mandatum recognizes the professor’s commitment and responsibility to teach authentic Catholic doctrine and to refrain from putting forth as Catholic teaching anything contrary to the Church’s magisterium.”

  • “Academic freedom” has many bounds.  What would happen to a biology professor who taught creationism?  What would happen to an astronomy professor who taught that the moon was made of green cheese?

    Yet the scientific “truths” that both of those teacihngs would contradict are infinitely less important than the content of the faith.

  • They are hiding behind tenure.

    I get emails from catholicnews Digest, who, though they seem to be having some difficulty with the mechanics of sending out emails, sent in a recent email a letter an alum sent to the University as well as Fr Wild’s response “Tenure, you have to understand, is a property right strongly protected in law.

    While you seem to suggest that it would be easy enough for us to get rid of Dr.Maguire if only we had the will to do so, I can assure you that it is not….After he had acquired tenure at Marquette, Dr. Maguire, in pursuit of his academic discipline, arrived at, published, and enunciated positions regarding certain matters that are not totally consonant with formal Church teaching.

    Since he is tenured and since he, in other respects, performs well as a scholar and teacher, the university has no legitimate grounds for his removal.

    Many find it difficult to understand the apparent incongruity in Dr. Maguire’s presence on the faculty of an institution that unreservedly and enthusiastically avows itself as Catholic.
    However it is just that, an apparent incongruity. It is simply an instance of what must be done when an institution makes a commitment to academic freedom…”

    and the kicker:
    “I would note that I see no way of resolving these problems that people have with Dr. Maguire. I simply know that I will follow in the footsteps of former Marquette President Fr. John Raynor regarding Dr. Maguire’s presence at Marquette and accept his right as a tenured professor to speak out even while personally disagreeing with certain of his positions, especially in terms of their conformity to Catholic teaching and/or their civility and good sense.

    I also find it useful to recall that even Jesus did not have a perfect group of disciples. That is why it is important to remember that Dr. Maguire is only one of about forty professors in our Theology Department. Those who would condemn
    these men and women as a group must also condemn Jesus’ whole group of apostles for the misdeeds of one of them. For my part, that flies in the face of everything we know that Jesus, and our Church as well at His behest, has taught us.”

    What makes me at least a little hopeful is that Franciscan is doing a conference on this very topic:

    (ps though I am assisting with this Conference, I am not shilling for attendees.  I just think that people need to be aware that this is happening, that it hasn’t been done before and that this is an extraordinary event that begs for your prayers.  It could be the beginning of great changes if we support it in prayer)

  • Even if Maguire’s tenure prevents them from firing him, there is no requirement under the law for them to give him classes to teach or any university platform from which to speak. Yes, they’d have to continue to pay him, but shouldn’t that be a price they should be willing to pay to avoid allowing him to spread his poison?

  • Dom,

    Didn’t BC do something similar with Mary Daly after male students began filing complaints against her for sexism?

  • Yes, I think so. And Franciscan University of Steubenville did it too when Fr. Scanlan first arrived back in 1975. It took several years, but eventually all the tenured professors who did not go along the university’s mission eventually got the message and moved on.

    It takes hard work and sacrifice, but it can be done.