Bishop and Priests of Kansas City Catholic Diocese Voice Support For Harrison Butker

The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City–Saint Joseph has issued a statement voicing support for Kansas City Chief’s kicker Harrison Butker and his “right to share his faith and express his opinions.”

Since his commencement speech, Butker has seen his words get distorted in the media and has faced enraged calls for his dismissal from the team.  The NFL put out a statement distancing itself from player, and espousing a “commitment to inclusion.”

The official X account of the city of Kansas City even went so far as to partially doxx Butker, prompting Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey to launch an investigation into the Mayor’s office.

In a statement to the Catholic News Agency (CNA) Thursday, Bishop James V. Johnston defended the devout KC kicker.

“Harrison Butker’s passion for his Catholic faith and his family are beautiful and well known,” Johnston said.  “And like most people, he also has strong opinions on where we are as a Church and as a nation.”

Johnston continued:  “The Catholic Church believes that God calls everyone to pursue holiness no matter what path they take. As St. Paul notes, that diversity of callings and vocations is essential to the life and mission of the Church.”

The bishop ended his statement by saying he supports “Butker’s right to share his faith and express his opinions—including those that are critical of bishops.”

In his commencement speech, Butker had delivered a strong message to priests and bishops, saying that “before we even attempt to fix any of the issues plaguing society, we must first get our own house in order, and it starts with our leaders.”

“The bishops and priests appointed by God as our spiritual fathers must be rightly ordered. There is not enough time today for me to list all the stories of priests and bishops misleading their flocks,” he said.

Parish priests throughout the diocese read the statement during their homilies over the weekend.

“How about that Harrison Butker?” quipped one priest, prompting hearty applause from the congregation in support of the player.

Fr. Richard Rocha, the Catholic Chaplain for both the Kansas City Chiefs and and the Kansas City Royals addressed the controversy during his homily at St. Robert Bellarmine Church in Blue Springs, Missouri, on Pentecost Sunday. Rocha, an alum of Benedictine College, told the St. Robert’s parishioners that he fully supported Johnston’s statement.

“It took courage to speak at a commencement address at a Catholic college in Atchison, Kansas, which I was fortunate to attend,” said Rocha. “Not condemning careers, but reminding the graduates about embracing their vocation of one day becoming, if it be God’s will, a wife, a mother, in God’s design.”

Rocha said that it’s a “lie” that men aren’t necessary in the home and that lie is “plaguing society.”

“The absence of men in the home is what plays a larger role in the violence and the destruction in our world,” he declared.

The popular priest said “the gatekeepers of our culture” want people to feel afraid to be associated with Jesus, like St. Peter was during Christ’s Passion.

“The cultural elites want our beliefs and benefits from grace to be silent. They want us compliant with society. This woke culture sees courage as embracing what society celebrates today,” Rocha said. “Being a public witness to your Catholic Christian faith—that takes courage,” he added.

Quoting Pope Benedict the XVI when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, Rocha said, “whoever comes close to Jesus, must be prepared to be burned.”

The priest added that “being a Catholic Christian is daring to entrust oneself to that burning fire.”

Editor’s Note: The author is a parishioner at St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church in Blue Springs, Missouri. 



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About Debra Heine

Debra Heine is a conservative Catholic mom of six and longtime political pundit. She has written for several conservative news websites over the years, including Breitbart and PJ Media.

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