By Elizabeth O’Brien

MILWAUKEE, June 29, 2007 ( – In a letter to the New York Times on Monday, Daniel C. Maguire, a professor of moral theology at Marquette University and prominent Catholic dissident, stated that bishops should stop “harassing” Catholic politicians who vote in favor of abortion.

Maguire drew on St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas who both thought that to allow certain moral evils would prevent “greater evils.” He further cited Aquinas, who said that the “wise legislator” imitates God, who “tolerates certain evils lest greater evils ensue.”

The letter continued, “Similarly, today legislators who truly think abortion immoral could vote to keep it legal since greater evils, multiple deaths of women (especially poor women) from botched abortions as seen before Roe v. Wade, would follow.”

He concluded, “Catholic bishops, even though they are pastors and administrators and not professional theologians, should know this and cease harassing Catholic candidates, thus making Catholic candidates less electable.”

Maguire’s theology, however, is condemned by the Church. The notion of promoting the “lesser of two evils” is condemned as the error of “proportionalism,” while the attempt to draw such a position from the works of Augustine and Aquinas is condemned by orthodox academics as gravely erroneous.

Maguire has had a record of dissent from Catholic Church teaching ever since the sexual revolution in 1960’s. This March the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) condemned Maguire’s views (published in certain pamphlets) on same-sex “marriage”, contraception and abortion as being “contrary to the Church’s faith”. The USCCB further declared, “We deplore as irresponsible his public advocacy of his views as authentic Catholic teaching” (see

Shortly after this event, Catholic organizations Human Life International and the Cardinal Newman Society called for the dismissal of Maguire from the Catholic University Marquette. Despite these requests, however, he still retains his position as a professor of ethics (see contacted the office of Rev. Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of Milwaukee, but was unable to obtain a comment by press time.

For the full text of the statement of the Bishops Committee on Maguire:

Read related coverage:

US Bishops Denounce False Abortion, Marriage Teaching by “Catholic” Theologian

Dissident Professors At U.S. Catholic Universities Pave Way To Euthanasia

To contact the Department of Theology at Marquette University and respectfully voice concerns:

Department of Theology
  P.O. Box 1881
  Milwaukee, Wis. USA
  Phone: (414) 288-7170
  Fax: (414) 288-5548


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