To the editor:
Father McBrien’s comments in the September 2005 issue gave me some cause for reflection.
In the column, Father McBrien assails Senator Rick Santorum for his “particular kind” of Catholicism, referring to Santorum’s preference for the Latin Mass. Father McBrien belittles Santorum’s choice of parish and exuberant comments made after the election of Pope Benedict XVI essentially because Father McBrien considers Santorum’s theological education to be inadequate. Father McBrien states, “He never attended a Catholic college or university. Having received a BA in political science from Penn State, an MBA at the University of Pittsburgh and a doctorate of jurisprudence from Dickinson School of Law.” Father McBrien then proceeds to take a comment made by the Senator completely out of context of a larger interview for Time magazine and mock it by saying, “A remarkable statement indeed from someone who has never had a graduate-level course in church history.” Although I have some respect for Father McBrien as an academic, this really was a cheap shot taken at a Senator who has courageously taken a stand on life issues when others in positions of political authority have shied away or actually opposed Church teaching. Thus, rather than write an essay praising the courageous positions taken by the Senator and encouraging others to do the same Father McBrien chose to, with some arrogance, give the Senator a history lesson, a history lesson from no less an authority on history as the defender of the DaVinci Code.