Kansas City Chiefs placekicker Harrison Butker gave the commencement address at Benedictine College on May 11.

Addressing the Class of 2024, Butker, an outspoken Catholic, criticized Catholic leaders for failing to take bold stances on key issues. He challenged bishops to emulate St. Damien of Molokai, a missionary who served lepers in Hawaii, urging them to lead courageously and prioritize spiritual responsibilities over seeking approval from civil leaders.

Butker expressed disappointment with current leadership, saying, “Our bishops once had adoring crowds of people kissing their rings…but now relegate themselves to a position of inconsequential existence.” He urged bishops to be more vocal about Church teachings and less concerned with maintaining comfort and status. Reflecting on the pandemic, he criticized church closures, saying that sacraments are essential and should not be neglected.

Butker also called out Catholic politicians, specifically President Joe Biden, for supporting policies contrary to Church teachings. He said, “Our own nation is led by a man who publicly and proudly proclaims his Catholic faith but at the same time is delusional enough to make the sign of the cross during a pro-abortion rally.”

Butker’s message to graduates emphasized living out authentic Catholic faith. He warned against the erosion of traditional values and the influence of “degenerate cultural values” in media, encouraging them to be vocal and steadfast in their beliefs, saying, “as members of the Church founded by Jesus Christ, it is our duty and ultimately privilege to be authentically and unapologetically Catholic.”

Concluding, he called for them to start embracing traditional practices and being proactive in evangelizing and living out their faith in a “post-God” world.

Photo credit: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
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