On the National Catholic Reporter

So the other day, Bp. Finn made one of those announcements that made me go, “Wait. This is news? Didn’t this happen years ago?” Namely, he declared that the National Catholic Reporter isn’t Catholic.

Mkay. Perfectly obvious, of course. And the Reporter’s reaction of an upraised middle finger to the bishop was perfectly predictable too.

As was this note from a reader:

Really?? I never would have known the National Catholic Reporter was heterodox if this pedophile-hiding, lip-service-to-truth giving bishop hadn’t said anything.

As I mentioned the other day, the failure of our bishops creates unpaid bills. This is one of them. Bad teachers and demagogues step in from both right and left to assure distrustful members of the flock that they have the answers and will keep them safe and all the rest. The Reporter is doing this as much as ChurchMilitantTV. And my reader’s note makes clear why: namely that we find it very hard to trust that the Holy Spirit keeps working through the office of the bishop when the person of the bishop behaves like a fool or a criminal.

Recovering (or in many cases, discovering) that the Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church and not any mortal man (including, especially, ourselves) is one of the crucial things that has to happen if we are to learn how to become discerning Catholics.

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  • Your characterization of Bishop Finn and the situation here in KC is not very accurate. He neither acted as a fool nor a criminal. He is a fine man who has dedicated his life to Christ and in service of the Church. He turned this diocese around — we tied the record for the most priests being ordained ever in this diocese last year and many more to come. He has built a vibrant young adult ministry and campus ministry that is producing vocations. He is absolutely hated by the left in KC — and especially NCR (he is a member of Opus Dei after all). At a meeting this year over 90% of the diocesan priests stood in support of our bishop, but I guess others know better than those in the trenches. I can quite well assure you that Bishop Finn remains in his position after much prayer and reflection. He is an extremely prayerful man and if he thought for one second stepping down was the right thing to do he would. I know I am going to be hammered here but — we love Bishop Finn here and we support him and stand by our Apostle – whether he continues to reign or whether he decides to step down in the future. God Bless all you do Mark but try and show a little mercy towards a man who is a warrior for truth — a man who doesn’t have a prideful bone in his body.

    • ivan_the_mad

      I suspect Mark’s commentary is of a more general form sparked by the reader’s note, concerning the scandal in general and less Flynn in particular.

      “He is absolutely hated by the left in KC” — Uhh … I doubt that’s true, and it’s rather concerning that you’d be pleased with this.

  • Jack Swan

    Bishop Finn, for all his personal merits, was also convicted of a misdemeanor crime stemming from his failure to report information relating to suspected child abuse. Even the most cursory review of the facts of the case show that he acted extraordinarily imprudently.

    • Matthew

      Yes, hindsight from the armchair is always 20/20.

    • Read the article I linked — again not the case. The Bishop decided not to fight the charges in order to get the matter behind us. He will have no conviction on his record. He pleaded to a rule that is unique to Missouri — no conviction will go on his record.

      OK maybe hate was a strong word — they want him gone — they have since the day he got here. They were celebrating the scandal because they though they finally had him (picture the right wing over Monica Lewinski). I witnessed it first hand. Does you really think NCR would have reacted any different if the Radigan issue had not come up?

      Bishop Finn trusted people who did not live up to that trust. An imperfect man trusted imperfect people. This happens when you are in leadership — as a Christian we pick our selves up, go to confession, forgive those who sinned against us, and move on. At least he didn’t lose his moral authority by denying Christ three times — we would never be able to forgive him for that.

      • Tominellay

        Read the link – lots o’ good info. Thanks!

      • Billy Bean

        But Bill Clinton lied under oath to a court. Makes me wonder what other oaths he might break.
        And, by the way, I am not a Republican.

  • Maureen O’Brien

    An excellent post — however — “the failure of our bishops creates unpaid bills.” — it also creates ex-Catholics.

    • Mark Shea

      Ex-Catholics are the biggest unpaid bill we have.

      • Maureen O’Brien

        After the legions of anti-Catholics a situation like this creates!

  • Petro

    I would not consider the Reporter and ChurchMilitantTV equivalent. Many respected clergy and religious write for the Reporter. ChurchMilitantTV is a guy with a microphone and no authority making a personal fortune off of stirring the pot.