07/19/2005: Well, I can think of one explanation....
According to an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Archdiocese of St. Louis has evicted a series of lunchtime theology lecture/discussions from their previous venue at the Archdiocese's Cardinal Rigali Center:
A popular Aquinas Institute round-table discussion series on issues of Catholic theology has had to find a new home. Without giving a reason, the St. Louis Archdiocese has refused to allow the discussions to continue at the Cardinal Rigali Center in Shrewsbury.No mystery to me, Fr. Bouchard. Archbishop Burke is a dictatorial asshole, and you've pissed him off, no doubt. Right now, if I had the money to bet, I'd start betting heavily that His Assholiness shuts down your round-tables shortly. And I'd lay more money down that he's going to run Aquinas Institute out of his archdiocese.
The action has puzzled Aquinas' president, the Rev. Charles Bouchard, who described the tenor of the round tables as "a setting for informed conversations, not opinions." He said he had received no complaints about the programs from archdiocesan officials.
In May, Aquinas called the Rigali Center's building administrator to schedule the space for next year's lectures.
"We assumed it would be a pro-forma thing," Bouchard said. "But Mary DeFrank said she had been instructed not to let us use the facility, and if we had questions we should ask the archbishop."
DeFrank would not confirm the conversation, saying only "I think you need to talk to the archbishop."
Bouchard said the response to the program "has been overwhelming."
But there were some round-table topics that were controversial. In October, Bouchard led a heated discussion at a round table on a Catholic's responsibility in the voting booth. Last summer, Burke suggested that Catholics who voted for politicians who support abortion rights may have committed a grave sin and would have to go to confession before receiving Communion. Facing a somewhat hostile crowd, Bouchard defended Burke's theology on the matter.
A January round table, also led by Bouchard, focused on lay ministry, an issue that has been a source of tension between Aquinas and Burke.
For the 2005-2006 academic year, the round table will move to the Orlando Gardens Banquet Center in Marlborough. Bouchard said the facility is better suited to the program because there are fewer stairs for attendees to negotiate. But he said he is mystified as to why Burke decided to kick a fellow Catholic institution off archdiocesan property. "I'm very discouraged," he said.
Len on 07.19.05 @ 07:56 PM CST