Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Faith, Football and Formation: And When It All Comes Together

Ben Kessler, "Tommie of the Year" gave a Commencement address at his graduation from St. Thomas University in Minneapolis a few days ago. Seems he upset a few people. Which is why he attracted our attention.

Who is Ben Kessler? Ben is a Seminarian who also happens to play college football as Defensive Tackle for the University. He graduated from the Seminary program with a 4.0 gpa majoring in Philosophy and Business. He will attend the Pontifical College in Rome for his studies next year.

During the speech Kessler referenced some controversial events of the prior school year. First he mentioned a food fight at the Spring formal that became so out of control that Security had to be called to restore order. Next the University had to institute a Travel Policy that prohibited unmarried school employees from sharing hotel rooms on trips because of the rank scandal that existed. In both cases he said that the people involved had acted selfishly. And then the real outrage- he said that women who use birth control are selfish.

The reaction- people booed. People walked out. Thomas Rochon, the University Chief Academic Officer followed his remarks by saying that "it takes courage to express your convictions." Oh, how Mr. Rochon will pay for that remark I'm afraid.

The fallout- the University President, Fr. Dennis Dease is doing damage control. He has disavowed the speech and said that "it was inappropriate for Kessler to express his opinions." Now this is where I have a problem- they were HIS opinions- they were, they are the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church. (Right Fr. Dease?)

I regret that it seems that Kessler has apologized for his remarks in that they offended some people. I would have told him never apologize when you haven't done anything wrong. How will Mr. Kessler fare in the seminary? I fear, not well. I fear he will be called "unpastoral". I fear he will be called opinionated and I fear he will be found rigid. And I hope he retains all those qualities and is ordained as soon as possible. We want some mo' ! We want some mo'! (from Remember the Titans).

To read more articles about Ben Kessler go here and here. Better yet, print them out for your sons to read. If you want to congratulate Ben Kessler on his graduation and his graduation speech you can contact him at


Madeline said...

Ben's story reminds me of the days when men were men, and women weren't.

M. Alexander said...

Madeline- I didn't realize you were THAT old!

Madeline said...

Ouch! I'm not! I'm refering to the kind of thing I've only seen in movies... (usually black and white ones). Besides, I detect the distinct ring of "maturity" in your posts!

M. Alexander said...

No, not maturity- heaven forbid! Just excessive cynicism!

Anonymous said...

Show your faith to the world with these hats--creative and compelling!