Harrison Butker Advises Students to Embrace Their Catholic Values

It seems the media can’t get enough of Harrison Butker’s May 11 graduation speech at Benedictine College. Butker, a kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs, spoke at this small Catholic college in Kansas about morality, values, and life after college.

Over the last several years, Harrison Butker has become vocal and unapologetic about his Catholic faith. And as we live in a country led by a man who claims to be Catholic but who sows the seeds of confusion rather than adhering to the tenets of the faith, it’s refreshing to see someone unafraid to speak the truth.

That is why we need strong and vocal leaders in the Church and why we need laypeople who understand what the Church teaches and who are willing to stand up for these truths.

Faith and religion are not something to be ashamed of. Yet the media wants anyone who espouses their morality to be silenced. And they certainly have gone crazy after hearing Butker’s speech. In fact, a Change.org petition is calling for his dismissal from the Chiefs. Its ridiculous commentary begins: “The harmful remarks made by Harrison Butker, kicker of the Kansas City Chiefs, during his commencement address at Benedictine College were unacceptable. His comments were sexist, homophobic, anti-trans, anti-abortion and racist.”

In actuality, his speech was none of those things, and I have to wonder if the writers of these words actually listened to the speech or simply read what others thought of it.

This was the case for many, and one person told me that the speech made her mad, so she didn’t want to watch it. Her reasoning was that she never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. She refused to hear his words for herself.

Yes, Butker talked about “homemakers,” but he also talked about the role of men in the home, about birth control, about abortion and euthanasia, about poor leadership, about people living together before marriage, and about leaving the faith.

Not one thing he said went against Catholic teaching.

Yet people hear what they want to hear, especially when it goes against the loose values of today’s society. The woman who was offended by Butker’s “homemaker” comment hadn’t heard his words but had merely read a report about the speech and thought that he told women they should be “homemakers.” He did not say that. In fact, when he spoke to the women in the audience, he said he understood that many of them were looking forward to careers and promotions. But he followed that with: “I would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world.”

Butker said this from experience and because that is what a lot of women do want. Anyone who has been to college or known women in their early 20s can attest to this fact.

He then went on to talk about people’s individual vocations and about his wife, telling the audience that he is the man he is today because he has a wife who “leans into her vocation.” He became visibly choked up as he spoke adoringly about his wife, who converted to the Catholic faith and embraced “one of the most important titles of all: homemaker.” He spoke about how she supports him and his children as together they lead their family to heaven.

Nowhere did he say that all women should stay home, but that is what the media wants women to believe, and they use terms like sexist and misogyny. Let’s be clear: Misogyny is the “hatred of, aversion to, or prejudice against women.” Butker’s speech held no hatred for women. Quite the opposite actually, as all the audience heard in his voice was reverence for them.

And because he talked about traditional values, dozens of outlets have excoriated both him and his speech. There is no need to quote any of them or address their flimsy concerns. What we should do is gain strength from Butker’s moral courage. This is why he gave that graduation speech, after all—to inspire, to make students think, and to be a leader in a world where good leaders are lacking.

As he finished his speech, he encouraged the students to think about the people they spend time with and the person they are dating. He explained that we must be “unapologetically Catholic,” strive for sainthood, and live our faith openly because our goal is heaven. And when we start families, it is our job to help our spouses and children attain heaven as well. He asked, “If you are dating someone who doesn’t even share your faith, how do you expect that person to help you become a saint?” 

Butker’s speech certainly gave students and others a lot to think about. Are the teachings of the Catholic Church difficult to adhere to? Yes, but they are not impossible. As members of the Church started by Jesus Christ, we must strive every day to live up to the tenets of our faith. And though we fail, we pick ourselves up and start again. As Butker shared, an “ordered, Christ-centered existence is the recipe for success.”

We should applaud Harrison Butker for his moral courage. And we should use his words to examine our lives and how we live our faith. Are we just getting by as we pick and choose which teachings we want to adhere to? Or are we living our lives as Christ would have us live?

This article first appeared in LifeSiteNews at lifesitenews.com/opinion/harrison-butker-challenges-students-unapologetically-catholic-strive-for-sainthood/?utm_source=most_recent&utm_campaign=catholic.

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About the author

Susan Ciancio

Susan Ciancio is the editor of Celebrate Life Magazine and executive editor for the Culture of Life Studies Program.