America Magazine Criticizes Butker’s Speech


America magazine, the U.S. Jesuit flagship publication, has joined atheists and liberal elites in criticizing star NFL kicker Harrison Butker for his conservative Catholic-themed commencement address at Benedictine College.

The ideology espoused by Mr. Butker goes beyond legitimate conservative-liberal differences, Davis argued, falling into the backward-looking sectarianism that “Pope Francis has warned about repeatedly throughout his papacy.”

There is a tendency in this age of the Church’s life to “‘step back,’ not going up or down, but backwards,” Davis wrote, citing Pope Francis. “This ‘back-stepping’ makes us a sect; it makes you ‘closed’ and cuts off your horizons.”

Davis took the opportunity in his piece to join the Associated Press in criticizing Benedictine College itself, a small, conservative liberal-arts college located in Atchison, Kansas.

“Benedictine College was recently featured in a report from the Associated Press under the headline, ‘“A step back in time”: America’s Catholic Church sees an immense shift toward the old ways,’” Davis noted.

At Benedictine, “Catholic teaching on contraception can slip into lessons on Plato, and no one is surprised if you volunteer for 3 a.m. prayers,” Davis quoted from the AP article. “Pornography, pre-marital sex and sunbathing in swimsuits are forbidden.”

Perhaps this is why Butker’s address was so poorly received outside “the Benedictine bubble,” Davis suggested.

America magazine wasn’t alone among the religious media in its criticism over Butker’s speech, however.

Writing for the progressive Religion News Service, Tyler Huckabee adopted a similar tone, calling Harrison Butker an “agro Christian” whose underlying theme in his commencement address was “we must take back culture for cool tough men like me.”

“Christians of this particular stripe need for women, as a whole, to feel divinely called and entirely fulfilled by raising kids,” Huckabee wrote. “That way, men can go do all the cool, badass jobs and don’t feel like they’re sentencing their wives to a life of unfulfilling labor at home.”

Since he “was raised with weird ideas about gender and culture war stuff,” Butker “blames feminism and women who work too much” for our culture’s problems, Huckabee suggested.

As Bill Donohue concluded in his essay on the subject, it appears that liberal Catholics have more in common with “Catholic haters” than they do with conservative believers.

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