Can the bishops save Notre Dame football?
Chicago, Dec. 3 — The Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will convene an emergency meeting here today to discuss the University of Notre Dame’s decision to retain its embattled head football coach, Charlie Weis.
The bishops are, by all accounts, divided internally on how to proceed. Some bishops believe that aggressive steps are needed to shake up the complacency that has settled in at South Bend.
The Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas, USCCB vice president and bishop of Tucson, said, “We bishops share a common vision but differ on the best means to realize that vision. We are unanimous in our conviction that something must be done. But, at this moment of great importance for the Church and the nation, we must not reduce the situation at ND to the single issue of Charlie Weis. Instead, we offer all Notre Dame football fans a moral framework with which they can properly form their consciences on this delicate issue. We are not telling anyone whom to fire or not to fire.”
Other commentators counseled caution. The Rev. Thomas Reese, SJ, senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center and former editor of America magazine, said, “Notre Dame administrators made up their own minds, and heavy-handed pressure tactics by the bishops will surely backfire. The best-educated Catholics in the history of the world just tune this stuff out.”