Bishop Finn invoked Saint Francis de Sales. He’d like to be rid of the NCRep. Kansas City’s conservative Catholics are, understandably, upset with a situation of ecclesiastical impotence:
I have received letters and other complaints about NCR from the beginning of my time here. In the last months I have been deluged with emails and other correspondence from Catholics concerned about the editorial stances of the Reporter: officially condemning Church teaching on the ordination of women, insistent undermining of Church teaching on artificial contraception and sexual morality in general, lionizing dissident theologies while rejecting established Magisterial teaching, and a litany of other issues.
My predecessor bishops have taken different approaches to the challenge. …
More to the point, the main approach these days to ideological dislike is the pink slip. I haven’t seen much variance to the theme of hurting someone. Getting at opponents through their job is the modus operandi of modern politics. And it happens with such relish.
When early in my tenure I requested that the paper submit their bona fides as a Catholic media outlet in accord with the expectations of Church law, they declined to participate indicating that they considered themselves an “independent newspaper which commented on ‘things Catholic.’” At other times, correspondence has seemed to reach a dead end.
The suggestions that Bishop Finn resign have also reached a dead end. The institution will not remove him, thus appearing to ally themselves with his opponents. I think my friends in Kansas City have a bishop for the next sixteen years. No other diocese would take him.
In light of the number of recent expressions of concern, I have a responsibility as the local bishop to instruct the Faithful about the problematic nature of this media source which bears the name “Catholic.” While I remain open to substantive and respectful discussion with the legitimate representatives of NCR, I find that my ability to influence the National Catholic Reporter toward fidelity to the Church seems limited to the supernatural level. For this we pray: St. Francis DeSales, intercede for us.
Life often brings us to an impasse. Uncomfortable, frustrating, disappointing, uneasy, and sometimes lingering for a decade or two. Just think of what God has to put up with in dealing with us.