Senator disinvited from St. Louis Catholic graduation

Senator disinvited from St. Louis Catholic graduation

Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis should be unremarkable for doing his duty, but unfortunately he isn’t and thus we’re constantly hearing about him.

His latest action involves the disinvitation of a US Senator from Missouri, a pro-abortion Catholic, as a speaker at a Catholic school graduation. McCaskill had been invited to speak at St. Joseph Academy, where her daughter was graduating, but Archbishop Burke, following the guidelines approved by the USCCB in its document Catholics in Political Life, declined to give her a platform on which to speak or any other honor which would imply support for her erroneous beliefs.

(To be clear, the archbishop’s spokesman says that Burke did not have a direct role in the disinvitation, but it should be kept in mind that all actions taken by the archdiocese, in his name, is an an indirect act of the bishop. This is why it’s so important that he put good, like-minded people in positions of authority in his chancery.)

Once again, as I have in other situations like this recently, why the invitation was extended in the first place. Some hard questions need to be asked of those people.

Burke did not order the disinvitation, but the archdiocese called the school to remind them of the policy. From the president’s remarks to the press, it sounds like she’ll need frequent reminders since not causing scandal to the faithful by confusing them with heterodox viewpoints doesn’t seem like her top priority.

The president of St. Joseph’s Academy, Sister Michaela Zahner, said she made the decision to rescind the invitation to McCaskill after receiving a call from the archdiocesan education office.


She said McCaskill was not asked to give a political speech, but was chosen to address the class because she is a woman who has served Missouri “well and faithfully for over 30 years.”

Zahner said she was concerned about possible disruptions by anti-abortion activists if McCaskill spoke. While St. Joseph’s is a private, rather than an archdiocesan school, it receives its right to be identified as a Catholic institution through the archdiocese, she said.

“It was a very hard decision,” Zahner said. She personally believed having McCaskill speak was going to be a good choice for the girls. “My personal belief could not affect the good of the institution,” she said.

That’s right: Sr. Michaela was more concerned with those pesky and disruptive (not to mention “violent” ) pro-lifers than she was that holding up as a role model a woman who’s successful by the world’s standards and boldly heterodox would have a negative influence on her students.

N.B. As I was reading about this issue on another site, I saw a reference to some kind of hypocrisy in McCaskill’s choice of school for her daughter versus some policy positions she’s taken, but I can’t find that reference now. If anyone has seen it, please post it in the comments.

Tom, in the comments, found what I was thinking of at Ignatius Insight in a quote from a different article:

Here’s another interesting and unreported aspect to the story: Last year, McCaskill received $10,000 each from the NEA’s PAC and the American Federation of Teachers PAC1, yet she chooses to send her child to a private school that teaches values with which she obviously disagrees. We wonder what message about public education is being sent by our senator? Perhaps a journalist will ask her… Or, more likely, perhaps not…

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  • Zahner said she was concerned about possible disruptions by anti-abortion activists if McCaskill spoke.

    Anti-abortion activists protested the speaker at my (Catholic) HS graduation.  I wouldn’t say it was particularly disruptive. 

    I do think that in the end it was counterproductive.  My friends and I all agree that having them protest our graduation didn’t exactly endear the pro-life cause to us.  For years afterwards I would REFUSE to be identified as pro-life (regardless of my personal position) because I didn’t want any association with those people.

  • What we wouldn’t do to have Archbishop Burke back in Wisconsin, this time in Milwaukee.  God bless him.