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.
Finn really comes off like a bully, here. Since he lost face with the trial and the ongoing scandal, he kicks the closest target.
I was astounded to read his column in the Catholic Key. Hubris! One of the comments at the CK haunts me… the reader thanked him for protecting them. Seriously? Protecting who?
With all due respect to Bishop Finn, I have to look at this very public statement, in the light of his conviction, and think what an interesting way to make a big splash.
Say what you will about Mahony, at least he gives the impression of remorse. Finn, not so much.
I am terribly disturbed by the entire matter.
Oh I meant to add this – you know someone was going to say something after the NCRep had that editorial about women’s ordination in December…
Payback clearly. Bishop Finn needs to really watch his step because it’s getting hot in his kitchen. As Fran says, he doesn’t show much remorse at all.
The good Bishop would do well to meditate on 2 Samuel 16:5-14. As a pastor, I have learned to listen to the faithful when they praise me and even more when they don’t. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Humility requires we listen and exercise charity to those who point out our faults. If someone uncharitably points out my fault, God will hold them accountable. If I do not take their correction, even if delivered uncharitably, then God will hold me accountable.
P.S. I would offer the same advice to NCR.
If you haven’t already done so you should read TRENT: WHAT HAPPENED AT THE COUNCIL by John W. O’Malley. You’ll see that absolutely nothing has changed in church politics for centuries. Amazing how history repeats itself.