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Marquette Tribune, April 9, 2007

Maguire inspires, grounds students' faith

By Angela Gunn

I am writing today to address recent publicity surrounding professor Daniel Maguire.

As a part of my course requirements, I had to take a number of theology courses in addition to courses in my chosen field of study. I really appreciated the well-rounded nature of my liberal arts education. Yet as I think back to the courses I participated in and the instructors, Maguire influenced me the most.

He was one of very few instructors discussing the application of the faith to modern moral and philosophical dilemmas. His teaching style is unique and riveting, pushing students to re-evaluate as well as reaffirm their values.

He made the Catholic faith tangible, interesting and more applicable to daily life. Individuals have claimed that he is not representing the faith in an appropriate manner. However, I feel that he is actually doing a better job than most Catholics in finding the best understanding and application of the faith.

He was the only professor I had who discussed issues related to justice and global poverty.

For many students, the humanitarian crises around the globe became more urgent through the information and heartfelt lectures of Maguire. It was evident that he understood the intricacies of the faith as well as the complex nature of humanity.

I feel that it would be a great disservice to the future students of Maguire to consider changing his role or moving him to a different department.

For the media and members of the Catholic community to belittle his incredibly vital role within the university is saddening. He is a Catholic and provides tangible applications of the faith, which will only encourage a more active participation in the faith.

After taking his course, I was inspired to plan my own ministry within my church and my community. The ministry was based on the theme of "tsedaqah," or justice for all. I hope that I may continue encouraging others to practice justice and peace, to forgive the debts of others, and act as if every year is the Jubilee year.

I now work as a social worker in the city of Milwaukee. I feel that I apply the principles I learned from Maguire every day. I think the university owes much respect and honor to a great professor and a great human being. He has done more good in his lifetime than most Catholics I have met.

Take, for example, his work in the Religious Consultation on Population, Reproductive Health and Ethics. He advocates for the weak, the poor and the disadvantaged as well as taking an active role in women's issues. The Catholic faith will always be re-evaluating its dogma related to the issues of reproductive health and interpersonal relationships.

It seems to me that the most influential and Jesus-like position to take would include concepts of justice for all.

If we can learn to value and respect one another, despite our disagreements, then we will have a society which is more congruent and able to work together on more important issues (i.e. global poverty, AIDS, natural disasters, war, etc.).

We spend so much time worrying about who is having sex with whom and what they choose to do with their bodies that we, the Christian community, have missed many opportunities to make a difference.

Gunn is a 2004 graduate of the College of Arts & Sciences. This is taken from a letter sent to the university's board of trustees.

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