The Bishop’s Role in Fostering the Mission of the Catholic Media

When I was editor of the diocesan paper in St. Louis, my office had a statue of St. Francis DeSales, Bishop of Geneva, and Doctor of the Church. Francis died in 1622. He is regarded as a patron of journalists and of the Catholic Press. His feast day is January 24, and has been observed by the Vatican for many years as World Communications Day. Again this year, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has used the occasion to give a message to us on Social Communications.

The Forty-Seventh World Communications Day Message is entitled “Social Networks: Portals of Truth and Faith; New Spaces for Evangelization.” Here the Pope speaks about the opportunities for evangelization made possible through social media. He also addresses the moral responsibility we have to use these media in respectful ways. For nearly a half-century these messages have affirmed the value of modern communication in the presentation of the Gospel.

The Church’s Canon law places on the local bishop a particular responsibility to use the media effectively in the work of the Gospel, and to call the media to fidelity in the use of means of social communications.

Canon 747: “It is the obligation and inherent right of the Church, … to preach the Gospel to all people, using for this purpose even its own means of social communication; for it is to the Church that Christ the Lord entrusted the deposit of faith, so that by the assistance of the Holy Spirit, it might conscientiously guard revealed truth, more intimately penetrate it, and faithfully proclaim and expound it.”

Canon 761: “While pride of place must always be given to preaching and catechetical instruction, all the available means of proclaiming Christian doctrine are to be used, … (including) the printed word and other means of social communication.”

Canon 831: “The Christian faithful are not, unless there is a just and reasonable cause, to write in newspapers, pamphlets or periodicals which clearly are accustomed to attack the Catholic religion or good morals.”

Canon 804: “The formation and education provided … through the means of social communication, is subject to the authority of the Church. It is for the Bishop’s Conference to issue general norms concerning this field of activity and for the Diocesan Bishop to regulate and watch over it.”

There is a Canon that deals with the abuse of the media, under the section of the Code – “Offences against Religion and the Unity of the Church.”

Canon 1369: “A person is to be punished with a just penalty, who, at a public event or assembly, or in a published writing, or by otherwise using the means of social communication, utters blasphemy, or gravely harms public morals, or rails at or excites hatred of or contempt for religion or the Church.”

I am very proud of the work of our diocesan Catholic paper, The Catholic Key, our writers, and all involved with its production for the conscientious manner in which they use the paper to teach Catholic doctrine, to provide trustworthy reflections on issues that take place in our culture, and to provide stories of apostolic life and work – particularly from our local diocese – that inspire us to live our Catholic faith more fully.

Similarly, the apostolate of Catholic Radio has blossomed locally. KEXS, 1090 AM, Catholic radio has helped Catholics to know and live their faith. Catholic radio is enjoyed by non-Catholics and has been the cause of many coming to the Faith and entering the Church.

In a different way, I am sorry to say, my attention has been drawn once again to the National Catholic Reporter, a newspaper with headquarters in this Diocese. 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. Bishop Charles Helmsing in October of 1968 issued a condemnation of the National Catholic Reporter and asked the publishers to remove the name “Catholic” from their title – to no avail. From my perspective, NCR’s positions against authentic Church teaching and leadership have not changed trajectory in the intervening decades.

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.

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.

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  • John Drake

    Bravo, your Excellency!

  • John

    Sadly, my home diocese of Rochester NY proudly makes this anti-Catholic publication available to the priestly discerners in our formation house as an acceptable Catholic reading option. Please pray for us as well.

    • rightactions

      1-800-CALL-BISHOP

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  • Manny

    THANK YOU Bishop Finn for protecting the faithful. You are a wonderful Bishop.

    • gigi4747

      There are parents of young children in his diocese who would differ with you on that, as do I. And wow, talk about irony. “Protecting” the faithful?? Are you serious?

    • Joseph Jaglowicz

      “[P]rotecting the faithful”???

      Where have YOU been these last few years???

    • faithful Catholic

      Thank you, convicted criminal, for protecting yourself.

  • AshleyWDC

    “I find that my ability to influence the National Catholic Reporter toward fidelity to the Church seems limited to the supernatural level.”

    Well, at least you admit that “supernatural” influence is limited. Next step: realizing that it is impotent.

    • athelstane

      Well, you seem to have it all figured out.

  • Dante

    He is the BISHOP. Canon Law supports him. Why can’t he simply tell them to “drop” Catholic from their name (again), and make a public notice to all US bishops that it is NOT a Catholic paper and lacks his magisterial support. Wherever you go (just about) you find the NC Reporter in vestibules and rectories. As a parent I do not tell my kids just ONCE that they must cease bad behavior but I stay on it and help them obey. Its much the same thing, no?

    • athelstane

      Unfortunately, under U.S. civil law, the Church’s options are pretty limited – nonexistent, really – when it comes to forcing them to drop their name.

      It’s possible that His Excellency could initiate a proceeding against relevant editors or writers of the NcR for violations of Canon 1369 (quoted by the Bishop above). If that’s possible, I’d very much like to see it happen – not because I take glee in punishing other Catholics, but because the scandal being given by this publication is too grave. But I don’t know what Bishop Finn’s canon lawyers are telling him, or what other unknown prudential considerations might be in play.

      • MJCIV

        The First Ammendment is unfortunate. Imagine people expressing views that you don’t like! And by all means, initiate some sort of church court against dissenters. We could call it…hmmm…let me see… an inquisition.
        Many radical Muslims would like to limit free expression,too. You and they have much in common. You live in America, athelstane, not in Taliban controlled Afghanistan. You would do well to remember that.

        • athelstane

          “Error has no rights,” as Leo XIII noted in Libertas.

          But as Dignitatis Humanae noted, rights attach to persons, not theological positions. The point here is that a publication is calling itself Catholic but spouting highly un-Catholic positions.

          What I am objecting to – what Bishop Finn is objecting to – is not so much that they may state un-Catholic positions, but that they call themselves – and their positions – Catholic while doing so.

          And the solutions I have proposed are canonical, not legal. I do think that it’s possible, as Ed Peters has suggested, that penalties could be attached to the staff of NcR under Canons 216 and 300, most likely denying them access to the sacraments so long as they continue has they have been.

          And could we leave off with the Taliban comparisons? That’s really uncalled for.

          • MJCIV

            Perhaps I misunderstood your position. You claim that the church’s options are limited under civil law.Is that a good thing or a bad thing, in your opinion? You then call for “proceedings” against the editors and writers. You do not like the fact that someone uses the name Catholic to speak in a way that you find unpleasant, and hope that the Church can, somehow, bring them to heel with a…what? Trial?
            You live in the United States of America. If you don’t like National Catholic Reporter, don’t read it.

          • athelstane

            “Is that a good thing or a bad thing, in your opinion?”

            Well, I favor confessional states as a rule, so I’m not crazy about that state of affairs. But it’s also true that a confessional state requires mostly Catholics to really operate, and we don’t have that in the U.S.. We live under the Constitution, and that includes the First Amendment. It also includes current copyright law. So there are no legal options open to Bishop Finn. I’m not questioning that or trying to change the law, and neither is he.

            Look, this is quite simple. The Church teaches X,Y, and Z. Its leadership gets to decide what X,Y and Z are, just as is true for any denomination. A publication run by Catholics comes along and calls itself “Catholic,” and then denounces X,Y and Z as wrong, and demands that the Church change X,Y and Z. Why is it so wrong for the local leader of that church to come along and say: This paper is wrong, this paper is wrongly representing its positions as Catholic, and I have a duty to inform the faithful that they are wrong?

            Because that’s literally all that Bishop Finn is doing. He’s not even threatening to deny them the sacraments (as I would).

            This isn’t just “unpleasant,” MJCIV. I endure all kinds of unpleasantness every day. What the Reporter is doing is wrong, and its in danger of leading faithful souls into error, error which may endanger their souls.

          • MJCIV

            If the National Catholic Reporter wants to report that up is down, and red is blue, that’s their business. You are not required to read it, or to agree with their positions. They can say what they like, and call what they say whatever they like. If people read their paper and arrive at conclusions that Mother Church finds disagreeable, than Mother Church can teach her truths in the open market place of ideas just like everyone else. You have a fairly low opinion of ‘faithful souls.’ But that’s what this is about, isn’t it? People are failing to heed the Church’s teachings, even when people like this Bishop are shouting them from the rooftop. Easier to try and squelch dissent than to deal with the reality that the Church’s voice is fading from relevance.

            You are clearly a very orthodox Catholic. I am glad for you. Other people dare to call themselves Catholic who don’t see eye to eye with you, or the hierarchy. That’s between them and God, not them, God, and you. Pray for your enemies, athelstane. That’s what Jesus would do.

            I’m sorry I called you Taliban. That was uncharitable. I hope you can forgive me for that thoughtless statement.

          • athelstane

            Hello MJCIV,

            “If people read their paper and arrive at conclusions that Mother Church finds disagreeable, than Mother Church can teach her truths in the open market place of ideas just like everyone else.”

            All right. But isn’t that what Finn is doing here?

            For all the sturm und drang here over his column…what he has said amounts to him simply saying, in brief: “The NcR has condemned many Church teachings, and I have had lots of faithful ask me to speak up about it, so here I am to say a few words about it. I’ve tried to persuade them one-on-one, and it hasn’t worked so far.” He has not threatened legal action, or even canonical action. He is…just out there in the marketplace of ideas, saying what the Church teaches. That’s it. The Inquisition is not storming the headquarters of the NcR.

            “You have a fairly low opinion of ‘faithful souls.’”

            I’d prefer to say that, in my experience, the levels of catechesis among baptized Catholics is pretty low (thanks in part to many bishops and clergy, I might add). I’m not making any statements about their salvific state, or even my own.

            “Pray for your enemies, athelstane. That’s what Jesus would do.”

            Well said. I try to do that all the time.

            Jesus did, of course, do more than merely pray for his enemies, especially among the Pharisees…but that is another topic for discussion.

            “I’m sorry I called you Taliban. That was uncharitable. I hope you can forgive me for that thoughtless statement.”

            I accept your apology in all sincerity. Thank you very kindly for offering it.

          • MJCIV

            I see that the Bishop was convicted of protecting a child pornographer. That pretty much tells me everything I need to know about this man. “Your Excellency” should be in jail with Cardinals Mahoney and Law. How very, very sad that you nice folks put your faith in the words of men like this.

          • alice

            Your rather hollow apology belies your actual agenda which has now surfaced. Go back to SNAP and have lunch with the lost.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joshua-Danis/501801642 Joshua Danis

          Speaking as they like is perfectly acceptable under American law. The issue is a moral and ecclesial one insofar as they deceive their readers with the false perspective that they are somehow teaching that which authentically Catholic when they are not!

          • rightactions

            Well put Joshua Danis.

            Also, MJCIV should review the text of the First Amendment. It begins by identifying whose power it restricts. “Congress shall make no law…”

  • Lorenzo-NY

    Blah, blah, blah…give it up, repent and just disappear.

  • athelstane

    So is it Bishop Finn’s record that bothers you, or the possibility that *any* Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph might take canonical action against the National catholic Reporter?

    The NcR’s dissents from Catholic teaching go far, far beyond sexual morality.

  • Ralph

    Well, do we have thin skin! What I read is that we will not tolerate any criticism, any discussion of sensitive issues, any reasoned and thoughtful position other than our own, or any thinking “outside of the box”. Tyrant works well when he eliminate any opposition. The concept of Balance of Powers (lay, academic, and experienced input) is not in the realm of the Church. The non-hierarchy
    have a responsibility to challenge and to hear rational and reasoned justification for positions taken by the Church. This is not the environment of “I told you so”.

    If someone wants to use the expression United States of America, do they need to get the permission of the Congress, the President or even a Senator/Representative? What is it that lets our self be called Catholic? What is it that lets our self be called American? It does not take an official decree but it is what we identify our self to be and necessarily in accordance with 100% of the “official” position. Remember that change comes from the bottom up.

    • St Donatus

      The Catholic Church has NEVER been a democracy. If Jesus was here would you write terrible things against him and what he was teaching? If you would, I think you would be numbered among the Pharisees. I stand with the Church. If you call attempting to destroy the Church and the faith of the members of the Catholic Church a ‘Balance of Powers’, then maybe we should also institute this in the familys today. Let the kids make the rules, defy their parents, and verbally attack every rule they make. How well would that work out?

      Lastly, this kind of attitude is why there are about 30,000 different protestant denominations now. Everyone wants to make God in their own image. That isn’t the way it works. God makes the rules.

      • Ralph

        Never been a democracy — the first U.S. bishop was elected by the then U.S. priests. How about the selection of the Pope. Many religious superiors and leadership teams are elected by their congregations. So much for democracy.

        Commentary is not against Jesus teaching but about organizational matters and political (religious) positions that as a matter of fact have changed over many periods of time. Let’s not confuse organizational issues with the teaching of the Gospels.

        Concerning your comparison with a family, we are not children. the Catholic Church is a vast world-wide organization and it needs input from its members.

        Lastly, 30k denominations depends upon how you define denominations. How about our own Eastern Churches many of which are geographically based.”God Makes the Rules” has always been and will always be subject to interpretation.

        • athelstane

          Priests or canons voting for a bishop is *not* “democracy.” “Democracy” is exactly what it means in Greek: “rule of the people.” Priests or canons or monks are vowed religious of some kind, bound by special rules. Only if you put bishops up for election by the entire baptized Catholic populace (and what a disaster that would be) would you be talking about “democracy.”

          And that’s just the rules for selection. However they have been selected, bishops have never governed democratically. One hopes that they will govern *responsively* (certainly if they are wise), but in the canons of the Church, East and West, going back to the Apostles, bishops have governed essentially as monarchs – limited by Church dogma and law, to be sure, but still as monarchs.

          Your point about Church teaching is more fundamental here, however. Church teaching is not just revelation, but the derivations of that revelation, guided by the Holy Spirit. Christ may not have said, in red letter text, in so many words, that He is a hypostatic union of two natures in one person, but this was solemnly defined by an ecumenical council in 451 AD. If you deny that – and you are free to do so – you are something other than a Chalcedonian Christian (i.e., most Christian denominations), and certainly not Catholic.

          And the Church teaching on the other hot button issues that the National catholic Reporter dissents has not ever changed, not over “many periods of time,” not ever. It has never thought that it could ordain women. It has never thought that abortion was morally licit. It has never thought that sex was appropriate for anyone but a married couple of man and wife. These are not “organizational issues.” These are teachings of the Church, and they are immutable. And you are free to reject them, or even to seek clarification on the boundaries where they might not be fully defined. But it’s hard to remain Catholic if you simply reject them, as the Reporter does.

          • 1LittleBear

            Church history has shown that the early centuries of the Church, the people did indeed vote for their bishops. Saints Ambrose of Milan and Augustine were elected bishops of their respective cities. And the people of Rome elected their Bishop, who is the Pope.
            The truth of the matter is that the basics of our faith are not debated on NCR, but the governance style of the Vatican (which now acts like a gestopo regime) and bishops who have behaved in a criminal manner. Bishop Finn was convicted and should be in prison. Since the USCCB no longer believes in fraternal correction (they should have STRONGLY encouraged Robert Finn to resign his post for the good of the people), it is up to independent Catholic newspapers, like the NCR, and the civil law to keep the wool from being pulled over the peoples’ eyes.
            As far as “immutable teachings” being proposed by Bishop Finn, oh pleeeeze! Finn’s teachings are as immutable as Pius IX’s 84 propositions in the “Syllabus of Errors” (1864). Bishop Finn is not the Church and he is not, as Piux IX once screamed “Tradition, I AM tradition.” Bishop Finn is a lying scoundral who got caught red-handed in hiding the sexual abuse of children by his priests. Period. And blaming the NCR for his plight—is nothing but a childish temper tantrum on his part.

          • http://www.facebook.com/mitchellfontenotecpa Mitchell Fontenote

            Very good!!!

          • Joseph Jaglowicz

            The earliest Christian communities selected or otherwise acknowledged genuine leadership. It was this leadership, in fact, that served as the basis for a leader’s liturgical presidency. This responsibility entailed maintaining order in the assembly and receiving the gifts of the people for offering to God.

            For those Catholics with an open mind, I recommend:

            + Francis O’Callaghan’s ELECTING OUR BISHOPS: HOW THE CATHOLIC CHURCH SHOULD CHOOSE ITS LEADERS (the author is professor emeritus of history at Fordham University and a past president of the American Catholic Historical Association),

            + Kenan Osborne’s PRIESTHOOD: A HISTORY OF THE ORDAINED MINISTRY IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH (the author is professor emeritus of theology at the Franciscan School of Theology, Berkeley and a former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America), and

            + Francis Sullivan’s FROM APOSTLES TO BISHOPS: THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE EPISCOPACY IN THE EARLY CHURCH (the author is professor emeritus of theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome).

            Plenty of history.

            As a future pontiff once acknowledged, “[F]acts, as history teaches, carry more weight than pure doctrine” (Joseph Ratzinger, THEOLOGICAL HIGHLIGHTS OF VATICAN II, Paulist Press/Deus Books, 1966, p. 16). When non-infallible doctrine, in other words, bumps up against actual history, the latter must prevail in the interest of doctrinal and intellectual integrity.

    • Joseph Jaglowicz

      Thank you.

      I remind Finn’s supporters (who obviously need reminding) that canon 749.3 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law (“No doctrine is understood as defined infallibly unless this is manifestly evident”) places the burden on the pope and fellow bishops for making their case that a proposed teaching is, indeed, infallible. This is a legal requirement intended to protect the *deposit of faith*, defined as all that God has revealed through Christ for our salvation. It reflects Vatican II’s teaching that the Church is the People of God. The Spirit, in other words, works among all the baptized, not just among the ordained, much less only among the hierarchs.

      Most official church teaching, of course, is not at all infallible.

      • athelstane

        That’s a willful misreading of canon 749.3, Joseph. A requirement that every Catholic Tom Dick and Harry must accept a teaching in order for it to be manifestly evident” has NEVER been the understanding of the Church in reading that canon.

        All teaching of the Church, whether it is formally infallible or not, requires the assent of the faithful. We can certainly ask questions to clarify it, to help us understand it better. But that’s not the same as rejecting it, or picking which teachings we like.

        If you want a church that decides its doctrines by democratic action, Joseph, you’re in the wrong church. The Catholic Church has never conducted itself that way.

        • Joseph Jaglowicz

          Ecclesial reception, anonymous “athelstane”, is — in point of fact — a very ancient practice of the church. By acknowledging the ecclesial reality of the People of God, the bishops at Vatican II retrieved this ancient practice.

          Please, sir/m’am, demonstrate some knowledge of the subject.

          • athelstane

            I have some little knowledge of this question – yes, I do have an MA in Catholic theology (no, it wasn’t online, either) and I have taken canon law classes at CUA – and, with all due respect, I know enough to know that you’re simply not representing “ecclesial reception” correctly.

            The Council never said what you suggested, but quite the opposite. “They are fully incorporated in the society of the Church who, possessing the Spirit of Christ accept her entire system and all the means of salvation given to her, and are united with her as part of her visible bodily structure and through her with Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. The bonds which bind men to the Church in a visible way are profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical government and communion.” (Lumen Gentium 14). Too often, I fear, you’re alluding to the Council that you wish had taken place, and not the actual Council and the documents it gave to the Church.

            I maintain anonymity here, like virtually everyone else here, for good and prudential reasons, not least the desire to avoid endangering my livelihood and that of my family in an internet that records every jot and tittle for all time.

          • Joseph Jaglowicz

            My M.A. is not in theology, but my sources — Catholic and other Christian scholars in church & related history, canon law, biblical studies, and theology — have years of experience, research, and study in their respective professional disciplines.

            I don’t know your age, but Vatican II began shortly after I entered high school and concluded less than six months before my graduation. Having been retired since late 1999, I’ve devoted some of my time to researching and learning actual history — church, liturgical, and doctrinal — and other areas.

            Yes, I am presenting an accurate picture of ecclesial reception.

  • guielmo

    I am amazed that Bishop Finn should accuse the National Catholic Reporter of creating scandal. How many pornographers has the NCR protected? How many laws has it broken? How many court orders has its misconduct necessitated?

    • gigi4747

      Finn’s right about the ncr, but your point is a great one. You could also ask how many people’s contributions to the church, given in good faith and with the expectation that their money would be well spent, have been wasted on a legal defense for ncr, etc.

    • Manny

      My friend, the NCR protects baby killers, the NCR lies when it calls itself Catholic. The NCR is a pro-abortion Obama supporting rag that is NOT Catholic. God bless Bishop Finn for protecting us all from the evil of the NCR.

  • gigi4747

    I’m a faithful Catholic who I’m sure agrees with Finn on just about every church issue, including this one. However, he’s compromised as a messenger. I share your disgust and lack of interest in anything he has to say.

  • rjsciurus
  • http://twitter.com/glitterx0x0 glitter

    Thank you for speaking out against NCR

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002144986982 Neil Allen

      Bishop FInn is a convicted Catholic pedophile protector who spent over $1.4 million to get away with his crimes.

  • St Donatus

    Bishop Finn, Thank you so much for taking a stand against this evil newspaper. If Satan had started this paper himself, he couldn’t do a better job of destroying the faith of Catholics in the Catholic Church and God. Thank you again, and keep up the courageous work.

    • 54321Now

      Does a Catholic put his faith in the Catholic Church or does she put her faith in God? Which comes first? Faith in the Catholic Church might be seen as idolatry and a violation of the first commandment.

      • Be Still

        Catholic put all of their faith in God. Period. We worship nothing and no one else. Catholics trust in–but do not worship the Church–because Jesus taught us so. It is our guide in matters regarding faith and morals. We trust Jesus when he said he would protect the Church and keep its teachings free from error–through his faithful as led by the popes and bishops.

        • http://www.facebook.com/rewinn Randall E. Winn

          I have yet to read the word “Pope” in the words of Jesus. Am I using the wrong translation? I favor The Jerusalem Bible but perhaps there’s a Vatican edition?

      • alice

        Christ and His Church are inseparable. Jesus said he will always stand by the Church he established; the Roman Catholic Church. You have a juvenile understanding of idolatry. The Church was entrusted by Christ to carry on his work on earth; Catholics worship God. They do so as instructed by the Church left to us by HIM.

        • 54321Now

          Catholics believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Catholics believe that Jesus is God. Christ is a title for Jesus. Let’s substitute the name ‘Jesus’ for the title ‘Christ’ since most people relate better to a named person than to a title. If Jesus and His Church are inseparable, then please explain why Jesus/God/Church tortured people during the Inquisition and why He molested young children.

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  • Peter Rother

    Your Excellency,
    Your statements concerning the National catholic Reporter were measured and, more important, true. Many blessings do I beseech of Our Lord upon your ministry and the people of your diocese who are in communion with you.

  • Lorenzo-NY

    Bob Finn, have the decency and integrity to step down. Apologize to your flock and society. Just go back to being a simple priest: say Mass, reconnect with suffering and struggling humanity, get off your high horse and get down on your knees and you will earn back the respect you have justly squandered and lost.

  • Ron Martel

    Finn has lost his credibility to make any judgement on anyone. What hypocrisy!!!!

  • CitizenWhy

    It would be appropriate for this bishop to advertize himself as “A Pedophile Protecting Criminal.”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

    Your Grace,
    Thank you for defending Catholic orthodoxy and condemning the scandalous and heretical activities of the notorious National Catholic Reporter. This sorry rag is a nest of vicious ignoramuses who abuse the adjective “Catholic” while assiduously working toward the destruction of our Holy Mother Church. Shame!

    • 54321Now

      ” sorry rag is a nest of vicious ignoramuses”
      How does name calling contribute to respectful discussion? Do you expect to persuade others to your viewpoint by name calling?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

        It’s not name calling, it’s an accurate description…

  • Paul R

    The Disgraced Bishop needs to step down. Not effective.

    • MaryHaskell

      Sorry Paul, Bishop Finn just stepped UP and hit a grand slam.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002144986982 Neil Allen

        Do I have this right?
        First base: protecting a pedophile priest
        Second base: hiding the truth
        Third base: spending $1.4 million (that no parisihioners authorized) to save himself from going to jail
        Home plate: telling magazines that tell the truth about his crimes that they shoudl remove the name “Catholic” unless they support pedophile protection

  • kindspirit

    I guess it’s so much easier to condemn a ‘paper’ than a priest who is sexually abusing a child.

    • Manny

      Hi unkindspirit, that was about as unkind and untrue a comment as I have ever seen. Mistakes were made by the bishops office but action was taken to correct them. The National no-longer Catholic Reporter is still doing great harm to women, men, and children by it’s promotion of the culture of death.

      • Kindspirit

        I would even go so far as to say that in the spirit of the headline of this article that perhaps Finn should no longer be called ‘Bishop’.

        • Manny

          Hi unkind spirit, you can say the moon is made of cheese but that does not make it so.
          The FACT is the paper that use to be called the National Catholic Reporter has zero right to call itself Catholic anymore. They have lied and distorted the faith long enough. sure they will still spew their hatered for the Church but never again as a Catholic paper. They has lost forever any revelance they ever may have had.

      • Joseph Jaglowicz

        “Mistakes were made by the bishops [sic] office…”???

        *Deliberate decisions*, in fact, were made by the bishop’s office!

        They weren’t (quote)mistakes(endquote).

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

      You’re comparing apples with oranges but I’m not surprised. It is a very common and very cheap tactics to trot out the child abuse in the Church in response to anything critical of the “liberal” (read: unfaithful) Catholics. Obvious, ridiculous, mean and ignorant.

      • hartwood

        It is a cheap tactic,used when one doesn’t want to deal with issues at hand.

      • http://www.facebook.com/paul.franticzek Paul Frantizek

        The ironic thing is that it was largely so-called ‘liberal reforms’ which led to the Child Abuse scandals. Look at where things were the worst.

        • Joseph Jaglowicz

          If you believe the “liberal reforms” were largely the cause of child abuse, episcopal coverups, and papal indifference in the Church of Rome, I have a west coast orange bridge for ya’. Just send me $300 for the bridge + $300 for shipping & handling. (If you’re a bona fide RC cleric, I’ll give you the bridge free, but I’ll still need S&H fee.) Believe me, I know you’ll like your new bridge, and I think you’ll find my offer a steal! But hurry, it’s a limited-time offer!!!

        • http://www.facebook.com/rewinn Randall E. Winn

          Fr. Maciel was not a liberal nor stationed in a liberal area. The Irish abusers practiced in one of the most conservative Catholic nations anywhere.

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  • Lankester

    This Bishop needs to resign. He demonstrates no ability to handle rightful authority or shepherd the flock. He has in fact personally committed several offenses against the faith and morals of the church and damaged individuals entrusted to his care over and over. He is the type of Bishop who ready to quote from any canon or church document but never able to enforce his own authority because he is trapped in the illusion of freedom, not the reality of freedom. Does the National Catholic Reporter have a leg to stand on or get a free pass? Absolutely not an neither does Bishop Finn. If the Diocese of Kansas-City St. Joseph were to get a new Bishop who competent in his authority there would be no National Catholic Reporter as it exists now. Bishop Finn believes that the answer to everything is to do nothing and expect it to work itself out as he presses his agenda of clericalism as the main subculture of the diocese. Bishops are not called to be “nice” or “”lukewarm”; they are called to be Bishops. Notice not once in the article does he ask the National Catholic Reporter to stop their work and submit to his authority, his idea is small talk over a “a cup of tea”. Bishop Finn has led a pampered and cloistered existence for far to long, never engaging the outside world, yet sniping at anyone who gets to close to his clericalism. He is a lifelong product of the seminary system since he was a boy, he is comparable to a boy who has inherited his father’s estate and has no idea how it is run nor has he been mentored on handling anything outside of the sacraments. He has never been a pastor in a parish, he is in fact a lifelong bureaucrat. He hides those who commit crimes and acts as though his only allegiance is to the small minority of priests who are like-minded. The National Catholic Reporter and so has Bishop Finn, it is time for both of them to leave.

    • hartwood

      Whoa,slander! Say that kneeling before Jesus.

    • Manny

      Bishop Finn ROCKS!!!!, he is a true hero of the faith and defender of Christ. A man of deep love, charity and kindness.

      Lank, my friend you need to stop believing everthing your read in the KC Star and the NCR.

      They lie, lie, lie.
      God bless you,
      Manny

    • Patty Bennett

      You obviously don’t know what you are talking about. I’ve known Bishop Finn when he was in St. Louis. Not only is he a fine, caring priest, he showed tremendous leadership skills and grace under pressure when he stepped up to the plate at our parish when two of our priests died suddenly. Pampered? Definitely not! He’s carried heavy burdens you know nothing about. Father Finn always had great homilies too; he explains the faith so well, and he works very hard.

      People who actually KNOW him have only the best things to say about him, from the students he taught, to the patients he ministered to in the hospital, and the people in our parish.

      We’ve all heard a lot of inaccurate, unfair criticism. I think it would be better for you to spend your time praying for Bishop Finn. I’m very proud of him. He speaks the Truth in love.

  • Kindspirit

    I would suggest that in the spirit of the article that perhas Finn should no long be called ‘Bishop’ if you want to remove the title Catholic from the Reporter.

  • Rick DeLano

    Weak.

  • DPierre

    Thanks, you, thank you, thank you, Bishop Finn!

    And it is nice to have my comment posted here. My comments at the Reporter have been removed, and I have actually been banned from commenting there! Comments faithful to the Magisterium do not appear welcome there.

    -

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  • athelstane

    Hello Your Excellency,

    I don’t know if you read the combox – it is probably usually best for your peace of mind that you don’t – but if you do, I wonder if you’ve too quickly given up on canonical penalties against the National catholic Reporter staff.

    Canonist Ed Peters makes the following reflection this weekend: “First, I would have expressly argued that NCRep’s use of the word “Catholic” in their title is canonically illicit per Canons 216 and 300. There is simply zero question about this assertion, for they “claim the name Catholic without the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority.” Second, once one is shown to be acting illegally under canon law, a number of canonical responses to illicit activity come into play including precepts, the invocation of penal law, and certain sacramental consequences for organizational leadership.”

    One doesn’t expect the NcR staff to change their ways, alas, no matter how they are asked. But there is the public scandal to think of. I hope that you have not foreclosed the possibility of pursuing these penalties pursuant their violation of Canons 216 and 300.

    • Joseph Jaglowicz

      “Scandal” from the National Catholic Reporter???

      May I suggest you look toward Finn the hierarch.

      • athelstane

        That’s a different kind of scandal, Joseph.

        But Finn’s failure with regards to Fr. Ratigan does not justify what the Reporter has been doing. Two wrongs do not make a right.

        • Joseph Jaglowicz

          Let’s just say we disagree.

  • Tricia Nobis

    Thank you Bishop for speaking out. If only more priests and Bishops would take a stand on the assaults against the Catholic faith. May God continue to bless and guide you as you set an awesome example for the faithful.

  • jan boyle

    praise be to god for this courageous bishop! you do st. louis proud.

  • Tabitha Raised
  • Ckdex

    Where was your righteousness when your priest was producing child porn? Seems you should fix your own house before attacking independent media.

    • Be Still

      @Ckdex, While I understand why someone would discredit the Bishop regarding the child sex abuse scandal, that doesn’t necessarily mean that his points are invalid. In logic, they call this an “ad hominum” argument–but a person’s character is irrelevant if the information the person provides can be verified by independent sources. According to what I read in his article, he has cited reliable and verifiable data to back up his arguments. In his role as a Bishop, he has a duty to Catholics to warn them of misleading sources of information.

      • guielmo

        Actually, it’s called an “ad hominem” argument. One could note, for example, that a convicted criminal is in a poor position to exercise leadership, no matter how sound his logic may be. Of course it is logical, in a way, for the convicted criminal to denigrate the publication that reported on his crimes. That behavior is anotherexample of Bishop Finn’s impeccable “logic.”

  • sadly long gone catholic

    Finn does not own the word “catholic”. If the paper was called the National Roman Catholic Reporter, I could see his point.

    The deeper problem is, Mr. Finn has still not “gotten” the lesson he should have learned through the whole mess with Ratigan. If Finn had listened to the concerns of lay people and turned Ratigan over to the police at the time they made their concerns known, or even when the pictures were found on Ratigan’s laptop, that would have been the end of it.

    But Mr. Finn would not relinquish control to another authority. And for that, more children had to suffer.

    Now Mr. Finn fumes because he cannot control this newspaper. Well, he can’t. The paper is autonomous. Some things are beyond your control, Mr. Finn, no matter how big your crosier is:

    Free speech.

    The secret life of a pedophile.

    Mind your own garden, Finn. There are plenty of weeds still thriving. If there weren’t, there wouldn’t be anything for NCR to write about.

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  • Chris_Topher

    NCR is a scourge on the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

    • 54321Now

      NCR is a scourge? If Bishop Finn is to be Christ-like, he should submit himself to scourging for his failure to report child abuse suspicions.

      • Chris_Topher

        He went to court and was sentenced… SNAP did all they could to have him hung… And he is still standing… Let it go…

        • 54321Now

          “NCR is a scourge on the Holy Roman Catholic Church.” Bishop Finn’s failure to act to protect children were scourge. Who is calling the kettle black? I will now drop the matter.

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  • Lafollette

    Is the bishop planning to move against all those Protestants who recite the Apostle’s Creed?

    • athelstane

      Doubtful. But I am sure that he hopes that they become Catholics, one day.

    • bob_keller1

      Or the Nicene Creed?

  • Ed

    If this is considered a stand against those who would corrupt the Catholic Church’s teachings, I say Bishop Robert W. Finn is a sand castle before the tireless wave. Sometimes cement is necessary where sand is too pliable.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=609776098 Jim Hopkins

    It’s disappointing to see so many Catholic Key readers who don’t understand basic civics. Here’s what I mean:

    Imagine the mayor of Kansas City disagreed with how the local newspaper wrote about the city and its government. He tells the Kansas City Star newspaper to remove the city’s name from its publication. Must the newspaper comply?

    Absolutely not. That’s because the United States is governed in significant ways by the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution. Among the bill’s most cherished provisions: the First Amendment right to a free press.

    For that reason, Bishop Finn can ask the National Catholic Reporter to change its name until the cows come home. But the publication has no legal obligation to do so, and that’s a wonderful thing. Our Democracy thrives on freedom of speech, and an independent press.

    Canon law applies only to institutions owned by the church. Period. If Bishop Finn truly doesn’t understand that, his Diocese is in even deeper trouble that we knew.

    • MaryHaskell

      Wow Jim, you have no clue at all. This is NOT Civics.
      No publication that wishes to be in union with the Catholic Church can use the Catholic name without permission.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=609776098 Jim Hopkins

        Isn’t it clear that the National Catholic Reporter wants to be independent rather than “in union” with the church?

        To repeat what I wrote, the church doesn’t own the word “Catholic,” so it can’t dictate how that word is used by institutions it doesn’t control. Some readers here don’t seem to understand that.

        • MaryHaskell

          Yes, Jim the Catholic Church does own the word Catholic when it has anything to do with being a REAL Catholic orginization.
          Sure the Reporter can continue to call themselves Catholic but they have NO part of the Catholic Church.
          I can put out a newspaper called the National Planned Parenthood Reporter.
          In my paper i will tell the world how wrong Planned Parenthood is……but that does not make me a spokes person for Planned Parenthood.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=609776098 Jim Hopkins

            Your analogy also applies to the National Catholic Reporter; it’s not presenting itself as a spokesperson/vehicle for the church — just the opposite.

          • athelstane

            He can’t dictate to NcR that it change it’s name under U.S. law, Jim, but he can, possibly, levy canonical sanctions against them under Canons 216 and 300. I don’t see why that would be at all unjust.

          • asydwy

            Jim…OK! You have had your 15 minutes of “fame”! Now go rethink what you are
            saying and try to get it right. However, if you want to use this post to vent your
            anger against the Church we understand it is not a semantics game you are
            ‘playing” here. God bless and go in peace…

          • ANNE_JMJ

            Hopkins, you are confusing the duties of a Bishop and Code of Canon Law, with civil law.
            It would make an interesting case though – FRAUD is punishable under civil law as well. (Soliciting money for subscriptions and donations while fraudulently pretending to be a “Catholic” publication.)
            However, public excommunication is the next step within the Church.
            Why the Reporter wants to mis-represent itself and lie to an unsuspecting public is the real issue – and taking the public’s money in the process.

          • alice

            If the folks at NcR were actually Catholic, they would obey their Bishop…that is the first of numerous and obvious signs that they are not Catholic. By the most simple concept of transparency and honesty anyone who had any journalistic integrity would stop using the name of the religion they make a business out of routinely bashing. Why hide behind the name of your enemy? Afraid no one would read your lousy paper if it was titled the “National Anti-Catholic Reporter?” How about calling themselves “The Path to Hell Primer?” I suppose that just wouldn’t sell as many subscriptions or give them the credibility they seek by riding the coat tales of a Church that will be around for centuries after their sorry “fish wrapper” is gone.

          • Joseph Jaglowicz

            Ms. Haskell, the Church, according to Vatican II, is the People of God, i.e., every baptized person, not just the ordained, much less only the hierarchs.

          • athelstane

            Actually, Mary, “Planned Parenthood” *is* copyrighted. If you ran a publication with that in the name, you would probably face a copyright violation civil suit from Planned Parenthood.

        • http://profiles.google.com/jflare29 John Flaherty

          Uh, Jim, I think you’ve made clear who needs to rethink the situation; it isn’t Bishop Finn. You can’t be both an independent newspaper AND a Catholic newspaper at the same time. If you’re an independent newspaper, you’re welcome to say what you wish about the Church, but you can’t refer to yourself as Catholic. If you’re going to refer to yourself as Catholic, you need to conform to the tenets set forth by the Church.
          I think it regrettable that Bishop Finn hasn’t considered taking more vigorous action yet; by all I see, NC Reporter has posed a scandalous mind since before 1970. I should think he’d be well justified to make a public pronouncement regarding how the staff of NCR will be denied communion until such time as they can either rename themselves to better reflect their frame of mind, or cease operating.

          I might point out that this is VERY common sense stuff.

          • Joseph Jaglowicz

            Um, John, the word ‘Catholic’ is not copyrighted.
            I point out this “common sense stuff” out of charity for your information and edification.

          • Jack Z

            If I may post. US Catholic does call into question some churches tenets.

        • asydwy

          Uh….wrong again Jim. When the word Catholic, big C, is used, it is in reference
          to the one and only Catholic Church. One should not confuse it with the word
          catholic, small c, which is an adjective pertaining to meaning universal or all
          encompassing. Get out your dictionary, and while at it, take a good long look
          at your Catholic catechism. A bishop is a legitimate Church authority and has
          certain obligations as mentioned in my previous post. Incidentally, I don’t “control” Arm and Hammer but I could certainly object to their using my name in connection with their advertizing without my expressed permission or agreement.

        • Mary, RN

          If they actually DID want to be “independent” they should have the spine to call themselves the National Independent Reporter. No, they have to be subversive, pretending to be Catholic. Real Catholics don’t kill babies, and genuine Catholic reporting should NEVER support the evil notion that it ought to be legal to murder them.

        • Mike Shea

          True, anyone in this country can legally use the word ‘Catholic’ in the title of their organization, as it’s not copyrighted.

          Catholics, however, are also bound by the Church’s Canon Law and that law puts the granting of permission to use to word ‘Catholic’ in the hands of the local bishop:

          Can. 216 Since they share the Church’s mission, all Christ’s faithful have the right to
          promote and support apostolic action, by their own initiative, undertaken according to
          their state and condition. No initiative, however, can lay claim to the title ‘catholic’
          without the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority.

          Faithful Catholics recognize and submit to this law. The NCR … well, that’s another story.

        • ANNE_JMJ

          There is nothing wrong with being “independant”.
          It is wrong to lie to the public by pretending to be something they are not.
          The ‘National Catholic Reporter’ is NOT “Catholic”.
          Therefore they are perpetraiting FRAUD.
          All they need to do is change their name and print what they want.

    • ANNE_JMJ

      Jim, the Bishop has an obligation to ‘call out’ those who FRAUDLENTLY lie about being ‘Catholic’.

      Catholics and non-Catholics alike do not want to be lied to.

      The purpose of the Bishop’s action is to call a liar a liar in the public square.
      Fraud is a civil crime. All public media that calls itself ‘Catholic’ must adhere to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition in entirety. If not, they are not ‘Catholic’.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002144986982 Neil Allen

        Protecting pedophiles is also a crime. Finn was convicted of it last year.

    • asydwy

      @ Jim…I sadly inform you that it is NOT the Bishop who needs a lesson in understanding
      how things work but rather you . The Church is not a democracy that governs according
      to opinion. The Bishop admits he is speaking to a brick wall when it comes to requesting
      publically as well as privately the NCReporter to remove the word Catholic ( that is with
      a big C, not the universal small c). His duty is to teach and guard the truth(s) of the Catholic
      Church. He has every right as a citizen to speak out, and every obligation as a Church authority
      to inform, via the Catholic Key, his sheep that this rag does not speak to the truth of the Roman Catholic Church. His concern is not about the Bill of Rights but rather the eternal souls of
      the faithful in his care. Would more Bishops follow the loving lead of this good shepherd.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=609776098 Jim Hopkins

        Prediction: It will be called the National Catholic Reporter — and will be read by people looking for an arms-length view of the church — long, long after Bishop Finn retires, and after his successor retires and after his . . .

        Meanwhile, I suspect the NCR is delighted that the Bishop is drawing so much attention to the newspaper. The surest way to get people to read something, is to tell them not to.

        • http://www.picsofcelebrities.net/blog/2012/05/08/voice-season-finale Cromulent

          Funny, I missed the part where the Bishop forbid his flock to read NCR. Perhaps you might point that out to me.

          • ANNE_JMJ

            The OFFICIAL CONDEMNATION of the REPORTER which was sent to all Bishops, Priests, and Catholic Faithful in 1968 has never been lifted by any of the Bishops of that Diocese.

        • ANNE_JMJ

          Jim, when a Bishop does his job, – by bringing heretical and schismatic media to the the attention of those in his Diocese, especially when they fraudulently use the name “Catholic” it is very important.
          You would have the Bishop do nothing so the Reporter could continue to sew confusion, heresy, schism, and perpetrait fraud.
          Freedom of the Press has nothing to do with fraudulently pretending to be something you are not. If they change their name, they can print whatever they want.
          The public CONDEMNATION of the REPORTER of 1968 has never been removed by any of the Diocesan Bishops. The REPORTER must be shunned by all Catholics.

        • alice

          Of course, NcR is delighted w/the publicity. They thrive on the almighty bottom line…the good Bishop thrives on the Truth of the Catholic Church and on the salvation of souls.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Frano/100003338245557 Robert Frano

      Re: “…For that reason, Bishop Finn can ask the National Catholic Reporter to change its name until the cows come home…” {Jim Hopkins}

      ‘Till the cows come home’…or until the next time bishop Finn protects another ‘S.Ratigan-style’ child rapist & goes to prison!

    • Salvelinus

      The church is not a democracy nor should it be. Your statement is a glaring “fruit” of Vatican II “do what you want, and I’ll do what I want” catechism

  • am sj

    Daily prayers that this publication will begin writing in support of the Faith.

    • 54321Now

      What is the “Faith”?

      The writer of Mark’s gospel (chapter 12) expresses it eloquently:

      “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.

      This is the heart of the matter. Concerns regarding ordination of women, artificial contraception and dissident theologies distracts from Jesus’ authentic teaching.

  • MaryHaskell

    God bless Bishop Finn. A hero and wonderful man.

    • Joseph Jaglowicz

      “God bless Bishop Finn.”

      God’s tryin’, m’am, but the good bishop is making God’s work unnecessarily harder by the day!

  • Jake

    what does this then say about the NCR’s golden boy Greg Burke

  • jackieg64

    One wonders Bishop Finn, if you single out the National catholic reporter for criticism because it continues to criticize you for remaining in your position when you utterly failed to protect some of the children you have responsibility for in your diocese.

    I suggest you get you own house in order before denigrating others.

    • Bain Wellington

      Who is denigrating whom? You wrote that Bishop Finn “utterly failed to
      protect . . children”. Is that fair or reasonable? From my reading of
      media reports, this is my understanding of what you seem to be
      referring to. Please correct me if I am wrong:-

      [1] Shawn Ratigan is the only priest whose actions are in any way linked to omissions of Bp Finn relative to child protection

      [2]
      In August 2012 Ratigan pleaded guilty to federal pornography charges; I
      am not aware he is being prosecuted or has been convicted for the
      sexual abuse of children

      [3] In December 2010, Bp Finn was informed that Ratigan had an “alarming” photos on his laptop

      [4]
      Bp Finn sent Ratigan for psychological examination, assigned him to
      live in a convent, and forbade him to have contact with children

      [5] Ratigan’s photos were first reported to the [police?] in May 2011 (not by Bp Finn)

      [6]
      Whether or not Bp Finn was a mandatory reporter under the statute was
      initially contested as a matter of law, but eventually Bp Finn agreed to
      plead guilty to a single misdemeanour charge of failing to report
      Ratigan between December 2010 and May 2011

      [7] For this, Bp Finn was sentenced to 2 years Court-supervised probation

      [8]
      No-one has alleged that any children were abused by Ratigan between
      December 2010 (when, as the Court held, Bp Finn should have reported
      him) and May 2011 (when Ratigan was in fact reported)

      It has
      never been alleged that Bp Finn failed to protect children. He was not
      charged with any such offence. Unless I have missed anything, your
      assumptions are unjustified.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/mitchellfontenotecpa Mitchell Fontenote

    Gotta wonder if they will do like Michael Voris did and be obedient…

  • Proteios1

    The national catholic distorter is pretty clever. It’s just catholic enough to lull under catechized people into thinking the information to pass on is aligned with Church teachings. On the brighter side, I decided to study harder so as not to be duped by them and they evil inspirations again.

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  • Purgatrix Ineptiae

    What’s the big deal if they want to call themselves “Catholic?” A lot of organizations call themselves Catholic, not all in communion with Rome. The Old Catholic Church, the Polish National Catholic Church, half a dozen independent “Catholic” parishes in my town alone, not to mention Catholics for a Free Choice. the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and SSPX.

    Rome doesn’t own a copyright on the word “Catholic.”

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  • mikehorn

    This is exactly why the USA has free press and free religion, and fought at least two wars with its former European ruler to protect it. Bishops don’t get to control or dictate what American newspapers say. While he is free to express his view through his own means, he has no right to demand others be stripped of their freedoms, so dearly won by fighting the Old World’s nations and churches. That is, literally, not an American value.

    Further, Bishop Finn does not have a good grasp of what does and does not harm the Church. Hiding abuse, enabling future abuse, and then trying to obstruct the investigations are what the Bishops are guilty of. Bishop Finn has even been convicted. Now he chooses to enter the marketplace of ideas and claim others are hurting the brand of “Catholic”? Seriously? On what sort of moral ground does Bishop Finn stand? Mockery and dismissal are what Bishop Finn and his colleagues deserve. I am proud that many Americans recognize that.

  • Jeanne Christensen, RSM

    Bishop Finn, I respectfully disagree with you. The NCR is a beacon of hope for many Catholics in this diocese. The NCR speaks the truth with integrity and does not keep secrets as so often happens within the institutional, hierarchical Catholic church.

    • Patty

      But they support the slaughter of the innocents. Nothing can make up for that.

  • peter nichols

    Bishop Finn argues that the National Catholic Reporter is “undermining” “authentic church teaching” on contraception. It’s hard to know exactly what this means when 90-some percent of Catholics practice contraception without a guilty conscience. Vatican II went out of its way to repeatedly characterize “the church” as “the people of God,” a holistic way of counterbalancing earlier tendencies
    to narrowly conceive of church as a hierarchical institution ruled by career
    churchmen. When nearly the whole body of the laity “teaches” that contraception is acceptable and only a small group of celebate men who have no stake in sex and contraception declare it sinful, whose is the “authentic” teaching? Without answering one way or the other, it is good to have an independent voice like the Reporter asking questions like that. Seems to me the bishop–and the “church”–should be grateful for a loyal partner who can raise such hard but honest questions, especially when the institution cannot even see the need for them.

    • athelstane

      “It’s hard to know exactly what this means when 90-some percent of Catholics practice contraception without a guilty conscience.”

      It’s not hard to understand what it means, Peter. The teaching is clear, and the Reporter’s dissent from it is likewise quite clear. The Reporter does not just “ask questions.” They provide their own answers – and insist that the Church accept them.

      But it is easy to understand that too many bishops and priests have been afraid to proclaim it, and that secular popular culture is a powerful force for the Church to resist.

      There’s enough evidence to support the proposition that at least one point in the 4th century, a majority of Catholics were Arians. That didn’t make them right. As is true in life in general, the majority is often not right. And the number of active Catholics who practice contraception is, according to some reports, a good deal less than 90 percent (if almost certainly a majority).

      • Joseph Jaglowicz

        Just because the majority is not always right, it is also true that the majority is not always wrong!

        If the Church = People of God, i.e., ALL the baptized, then one cannot rule out that the majority’s rejection of Humanae Vitae is ecclesial *non-reception*. Canon 749.3, after all, puts the burden of infallible teaching on the pope and fellow bishops. The Spirit works among ALL the faithful, not merely among the ordained, much less only among the hierarchs.

        And let’s not forget heretical bishops, either.

        • athelstane

          “Just because the majority is not always right, it is also true that the majority is not always wrong!”

          No, that’s true, Joseph. My problem with you is that your long record of public statements seems to suggest that majority is right when they agree with *you.* After all, you would quite happily kick traditionalists out of the Church, if you had your way.

          Canon 749.3 imposes no such “burden” on bishops, save in the minds of a number of liberal theologians and canonists. Certainly the bishops DO have a duty to teach the Catholic faith, always and in all places. And too often they have not – we both know too well that many (cowardly or worse) bishops and priests in the West immediately treated Humanae Vitae as a dead letter as soon as it was promulgated in 1968 – so what wonder that many of the faithful shrugged it off?

          I suggest to you that if the “Spirit” seems to telling lots of Catholics to disregard ancient and unchanged teachings of the Church, it’s not the spirit that you think that it is, but some other.

          • Joseph Jaglowicz

            So you’re a mind-reader (“After all, you would quite happily kick traditionalists out of the Church, if you had your way.”)???

            I’ve never made any such statement, and such would be most unchristian/uncharitable. Please cite even ONE blog thread ANYWHERE in which I’ve invited self-described “traditionalists” out of the Church of Rome.

            Regard ecclesial reception, my comments are historically accurate. Please, don’t mistake your doctrinally laden views for actual church history. They’re not.

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  • asydwy

    Your Excellency,
    I am not commenting as a member of your diocese ( for I am not) but as a life long member
    of the Roman Catholic Church. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your guidance
    in this matter that has long rankled me personally. A degree in theology is not necessary
    to realize that this fishwrap of an excuse for a Catholic newspaper is not at all orthodox.
    Rather it is a cross between the heresies of modernism, relativism, New Age , you name
    it ….all there!! Again, I appreciate your forthrightness in denouncing this fraudulent usage
    of the name Catholic! They are free to write their opinions but they should not be allowed
    legallyto mislead the public by said moniker. God bless you Bishop Finn for your steadfast-
    edness to the faith and for lovingly shepherding not only the people of your diocese but
    also those of the entire Church. May all our Bishops be inspired by your leadership.

    • Joseph Jaglowicz

      So you don’t have a “degree in theology”.

      I don’t, either, but you’d do better than rely on catechetics for knowledge of doctrine and church history.

      • athelstane

        “I don’t, either.”

        That hasn’t held *you* back from offering your theological insights in many Catholic and other public forums, Joseph.

        May I suggest that those catechetics might have something to teach you?

        • Joseph Jaglowicz

          And I’d suggest my library of respected historical and theological sources would *definitely* have something to teach you.

  • David Burress

    I have read through Bishop’s Finn’s remarks and the comments. I am amused but not surprised to discover that no one cites the precise article or statement in NCR that the Bishop and his flock find objectionable. One proper term for data-free theorizing is “mindless ideology.”

    • athelstane

      Well…really now, you don’t have to look far, David, to find such articles.

      You could start with “Editorial: Ordination of women would correct an injustice” on Dec. 3, 2012, just last month, in which the NcR demanded that the Church overturn its teaching that it has no authority to ordain women. And that is an *official staff editorial*, not a news article or even a columnist’s piece.

      Such examples could be multiplied. The NcR regularly prints opinion pieces that openly dissent from Church teaching on abortion, contraception, homosexuality, the historicity of the Gospels, the sacramental priesthood, Christ’s institution of the hierarchical church, justification…I could go on and on.

      • Joseph Jaglowicz

        Women’s ordination — like ordination in general — is ultimately a *disciplinary*, not doctrinal, matter. Our primitive ancestors in the Christian faith, i.e., those Christians closest in time and place to Jesus and the Twelve, did not have ministerial ordination, much less the three ministerial orders of deacon, presbyter (note word choice), and bishop. Despite this history, the Church of Rome has never declared that these earliest Christian communities lacked a valid eucharist.

      • David Burress

        Thanks, Athelstane. At least that’s a start. Next you need to explain exactly how using the name NCR while dissenting from doctrine on ordination of women violates canon law. That is,

        1. Why do you believe the Canon Law cited by Bishop Finn forbids all voicing of respectful and conscientious lay dissent on ordination ? For example, do you consider it “blasphemous” to merely argue that women are as capable as men to communicate with God?

        2. Where does Canon Law forbid describing a report on Catholics as a “Catholic Reporter”?

        • athelstane

          Sure, David. The relevant canons are:

          “Can. 216 Since they share the Church’s mission, all Christ’s faithful have the right to promote and support apostolic action, by their own initiative, undertaken according to their state and condition. No initiative, however, can lay claim to the title ‘catholic’ without the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority.”

          “Can. 300 No association may call itself ‘catholic’ except with the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority, in accordance with can. 312.”

          Again, these are canonical provisions. Michael Voris ran into this problem last year when the Archdiocese of Detroit (where he is based) objected to his use of the word “Catholic” in the name of his media company, RealCatholicTV, it objecting to some of his positions. He ended up changing the name rather than face canonical penalties.

          That said, these provisions are relevant when the organization in question is denouncing Church teaching, demanding that it be changed. Which the Reporter has done on *many* doctrines (women’s ordination being only the most recent).

          “…do you consider it “blasphemous” to merely argue that women are as capable as men to communicate with God?”

          No, I don’t, because I do believe that women are are capable as men to communicate with God (and I would note that most Marian apparitions have been to women). But that’s not the same question as whether women may be ordained. It’s not about one’s ability to communicate with God.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.franticzek Paul Frantizek

    God Bless Bishop Finn. The NCR is contemptible. Glad to see someone call them on their dishonesty.

    • 54321Now

      The NCR is contemptible? Bishop Finn’s failure to report child abuse suspicions is contemptible. When Bishop Finn has repented publicly of his sins, then surely God will bless him.

      • http://www.facebook.com/paul.franticzek Paul Frantizek

        Have you ever read anything there? Practically everything they write is a diatribe against the Church – the comments are especially bad, downright vicious at times. It should really be called the ‘National Anti-Catholic Reporter’. Most of the people who write there seem like they would be happier in the Episcopal Church.

      • http://www.facebook.com/paul.franticzek Paul Frantizek

        And, by the way, it was mainly liberal dioceses that had the worst of the child abuse scandals – the great liberal hero Joseph Bernardin comes to mind.

        • 54321Now

          How about the notorious Boston archdiocese? Cardinal Bernard Law liberal? I think not.

          • http://www.facebook.com/paul.franticzek Paul Frantizek

            Bernard Law is pretty liberal from my point of view, to say nothing of Roger Mahoney. Liberal Catholics are hardly the people to be playing the Child Abuse card. Aside from being a scurrilous charge, there’s just a huge ‘Pot/Kettle’ element to it.

          • 54321Now

            We digress. The case is in point is Bishop Finn and not other bishops or other dioceses. My focus is on the use of the word “contemptible”. Which is more contemptible? Is it NCR’s disagreement with Church teachings or Bishop Finn’s failure to protect children?

    • 54321Now

      I question the use of the word ‘contemptible’. Which is more contemptible? Is it NCR’s disagreement with church teachings or is it Bishop Finn’s failure to protect children?

  • Irl Gladfelter

    Thank you, Bishop Finn for this fine article, in which you say what needs to be said. The Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese is so greatly blessed by having you its bishop in these troubled times. God bless you!

  • JWDT

    Yes, finally a response from His Excellency. I join in with the Bishop asking for prayers for their conversion.
    It would be interesting to see if His Excellency could influence his brother Bishops in the UCCB to not support the National Catholic Reporter or its correspondents (e.g. John Allen). This would be yet another recourse to help rid these types.

    • 54321Now

      If you believe that the writers and staff of NCR need conversion, then “rid[ding] these types” is the wrong course of action.

      Instead follow Jesus’ actions as retold by the writer of Mark’s gospel (chapter 2):

      While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him. Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus heard this and said to them [that], “Those who are well do not need a physician,* but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

      Jesus did not rid “these types” from his company.

      • MaryHaskell

        Jesus did correct people when they were in error. No one is saying the people at the National __________ Reporter should be removed from the church but the news paper that has printed so many lies is not Catholic and does not have the right to lie and call themselves Catholic. The truth needs to be told.

        • 54321Now

          What does JWDT’s statement: ‘This would be yet another recourse to help rid these types.’ imply? Rid could be construed to mean removal.

      • Maryanaevi

        Matthew 13:24-30: Don’t try to pull out the weeds, you may pull out the wheat, too. The staff should be dealt with differently than the paper.

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  • Tom

    From Christ’s lips to your pen! God less you Bp. Finn. I hope the USCCB will join together to condemn the NcR for it’s anti-Catholic positions.

    • 54321Now

      From Jesus’ lips as retold by the writer of Matthew’s gospel (chapter 19) we have:

      “Keep the commandments: ‘You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother; love your neighbor as yourself.’” “Go sell what you have and give to [the] poor. Then come, follow me.”

      I fail to see where Jesus said anything about the ordination of women, artificial contraception or dissident theologies. One can argue that Jesus himself was a dissident theologian when he regaled against the practices of the Pharisees.

      Bishop Finn and his flock would do well to practice what Jesus instructs: “Keep the commandments … “

  • JJ

    Oh Bishop Finn, if only you’d been installed early enough to stop some of the aspects of the renovation of your Cathedral…that Vosko-ized altar broke my heart amid what in other ways was a step up from the previous interior. Continued prayers and best wishes in your ministry.

    • 54321Now

      Bishop Finn writes about his responsibility to use the media effectively in the work of the Gospel. A discussion of the renovation of the cathedral is irrelevant in this context.

  • Bosco

    You are brave, Bishop Finn. God bless you!

    • 54321Now

      Brave? Perhaps cowardice is a better characterization of Bishop Finn’s failure to report suspicions of child abuse.

  • Bosco

    Our Lord was mocked and crucified too! What can we expect from all these poor confused people who write so harshly and wrongly against the Church and Bishop Finn. I pray for their conversion!

    • 54321Now

      To what specifically do you pray “these poor confused people” be converted?

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  • P Ryan

    Thank you for being a watchful Shepherd. We have your back. God bless & protect you !!

  • Maura Casey

    Honestly, Bishop Finn, the church’s actions in protecting pedophile priests show precisely why NCR is so needed. It isn’t a propaganda rag. It’s a newspaper, and it is doing what newspapers should do. My family has been Catholic for 1400 years. I’ve been a reporter for my entire adult life. Bravo, NCR!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Grondelski/100000560104425 John Grondelski

      Without defending NCR (I don’t), I got to say–Maura has a point. Pick up the typical diocesan newspaper. It usually has headlines like “Bishop Tells People to Pray” (wow, that’s …. unexpected?) Being of Polish heritage, I remember reading media like “Pravda” and “Izvestiya,” “Trybunu Ludu” and “Rude Pravo.” All those are gone — their rah-rah function has largely been taken over by the diocesan press. The diocesan press also needs on World Communications Day to ask itself–why did it take the secular media and publications like NCR to break the story of priest pedophilia? Honestly, had we depended on the investigative aggressiveness of “The Catholic Key,” is it likely we would have EVER heard of Fr. Ratigan?

  • St. L. Woman

    It is clear that the Hierarchical Catholic Church does not want to entertain the possibility of married or women priests; legitimate birthcontrol (apart from the rhythm system); active homosexuality as an authentic manner of being a human being; or; or; or… It would seem from all these posts, that there are plenty of “yes Catholics,” who can quote Cannon Law. Hurray for those who believe that the Spirit of God enlightens all of us who are willing to pray and struggle with the truth of God’s living Will. Thanks to NCR for keeping the discussion alive. We are the Church… all of us… right and left.. hopefully with open minds from each view.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Frano/100003338245557 Robert Frano

    Re: “…The Church’s Canon law places on the local bishop a particular responsibility to
    use the media effectively…”

    Bishop R.J.Finn has slammed the N.C.R. for It’s public service efforts: reporting on the real world, including what he calls ‘dissident’ theologies & ‘woman’s ordination’…
    Meanwhile…

    Catholic clergy keep getting older / fewer!
    Postulants keep getting more difficult to locate / keep…and the faithful continue resigning / re-affiliating, &/or, removing their children from ‘unsafe environments’, because…

    The bishops are so busy competing with each other’s imbecilic, homophobic, public pronouncements that they fail to notice the church IS melting, like ice, in a frying pan set to… ‘BROIL’!!!

    {http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2013/01_02/2013_01_27_Fox_KansasCity.htm}
    {ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/kansas-city-bishop-says-ncr-undermines-faith}

    I have ‘News’ for Bishop Finn:

    None of the reported $660+million paid out of the L.A. Diocease, in response to Roger Cardinal_
    Princess Mahoney’s overt / covert criminal negligence & (serial) obstructions of justice came
    from my ‘tithes, collected’ because, like so many others…
    I left the church a long time ago; (in the time of Paul-6)!

    By my guestimate…
    Between $25-50,000 dollars were/are unavailable to slush-fund such STUNNING ‘moral’ examples as (then Milwaukee bishop), Timmy Cardinal_Princess Dolan’s ‘golden parachutes’, which NYC’s Bad Shepherd cheerfully reported to be as high as $20K…
    Paid to (unreported) cleric-pedophiles, leaving…
    For new hunting grounds!

    I’m just curious:
    Why isn’t Bishop Finn in jail along with Fr. Shaun, ‘Preteen-Upskirt-Videos’, Ratigan?
    Has Bishop Finn accepted the fact that he faces MANDATORY jail time if, during this, his 3rd.
    probation experience, he allows another pedophile-cleric to go unreported, (to secular law enforcement!), for 30 seconds or more?

    Does Bishop Finn yet understand the gravity of his crime / sin, against…children?

    I’m a survivor of unpunished / unreported (secular) pedophiles!
    Unreported by my parents…
    Instead of an R.C.C. supervisory_cleric, like Bishop Finn, Roger-Bishop-Vangheluwe, monsignor William, ‘2-7’, Lynn, Bernard Cardinal_Princess Law, etc.!

    That I remain alive/ uninfected by S.T.D.’s is a ‘default’ finding, since…
    NO adult felt any specific necesscity to have me checked for diseases, and/or, other post assault trauma! My parentals sit, unmourned, in their funerary urns…
    Deep within a (fortress-like) public storage facility!!

    Borrowing from Joseph “I-SEE-NOTHINGgggggg!!” Ratzinger’s ‘plausibly deniable’ rhetoritician’s skills…
    I’d describe the clerics & seculars referred to above as displaying, “intrinsically disordered” behaviors!
    Including ANY adult, secular / ordained, who pretends…as Bishop Finn has…that they didn’t/don’t know to call ‘9-1-1’ the fempto-second, (a quadrillionth of a second), they’re aware of a practicing pedophile(s)!

    BTW: ‘Cardinal_Princess’ is NOT intended as a cheap homophobic slur; It’s directed at ‘princes’ ‘O the church!

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  • http://faultline.org Chris Clarke

    Though Bishop Finn claims to speak on behalf of Roman Catholic Church traditions and teachings, he doesn’t go nearly far enough. Where are the threats of thumbscrews, the rack, or burning at the stake? Where is the threat of castration so that the NCR “choir” will sing in a key the Bishop would prefer?

    And most importantly: why are all these rank and file Catholics, who claim to believe in the immutability of the Church’s teachings, presuming to rise above their proper station to advise the Bishop on how he should proceed?

  • MaryHaskell
  • Anne Hendershott

    Bishop Finn is one of the most courageous bisihops in the country. We all must pray for him as the attacks will continue on those of us who are faithful. Thank you Bishop Finn – the National Catholic Reporter – and the Catholic Press Association continue to be a scandal for the Church. It is time something is done to end that scandal.

    • 54321Now

      It seems that “those who are faithful” have a preoccupation with scandal. Could it be as Matthew (chapter 7) has recorded Jesus saying: “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?”

  • http://twitter.com/zetalaurence beth giffee

    Thank you for speaking for and shepherding us. St. Michael protect you!

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  • Wilson

    Simply, from a simple man
    What happens if you mixed a brown drink put it in a red can and called it Coca Cola? we all know what happens. The NCR is selling garbage and calling it Catholic. Get it?

    God bless you your Excellency.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Grondelski/100000560104425 John Grondelski

    The Bishop’s role, in addition to fostering the truth in the Catholic media, is being a credible episcopal leader. A priest convicted in relation to the current sex scandal in the Church would be barred by the bishops’ own norms from active ministry, yet the bishop of Kansas City sees himself exempt from that principle. The National Catholic Reporter may not be Catholic, but it has rightly called for the bishop of Kansas City to step aside….and his ongoing silence about doing so despite “lots of emails” while he feels compelled to cite the National Catholic Reporter because of “lots of emails” sounds pretty self-serving….. Perhaps it isn’t, but a bishop needs to be sensitive both to truth and appearances, and from his botched handling of the Ratigan case it’s pretty clear the incumbent ordinary’s sensitivity is, charitably put, in deficit mode.
    PS.: Please don’t think canon 1369 can be tortured to apply to this comment.

  • MelissaKennedy13

    What a wonderful bishop!!!!! Protecting people for false teaching is not always easy or plesent but Bishop Finn cares enough for his people to protect us. Thank you Bishop Finn!!!!

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  • anne hendershott

    Bishop Finn is one of the most courageous bishops in the country. He deserves our prayers and our admiration–and our obedience.

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  • Patty

    God Bless Bishop Finn!

  • Patty

    The National “Catholic” Reporter is “Catholic” in precisely the same way that Judas was an apostle!
    The bishop has every right and duty to protect the people of the diocese from fraudulent reporting that serves only to undermine the faith. Ideas do have consequences. True ideas have good consequences. Lies and distortions have evil consequences.

    We must never forget that Satan is the father of lies, and is actively doing everything he can to lead us straight to Hell. It’s unfashionable to say so, but there is such a thing as mortal sin.

    How many babies have died as a result of the dangerous rhetoric minimizing the evil of abortion? Confusion about the Truth can have very dangerous, and even deadly consequences.

    Anti-Catholic propaganda is much more deadly when it comes from phony Catholics. That’s why
    so many of the leaders of the culture of death are “cafeteria Catholics”.

    The Catholic Church is the only church I know that has people who hate so much of what their church teaches, yet still desperately want to be called “Catholic”. It’s kind of like the people who say: “I REFUSE to be in communion with the Catholic Church, but I DEMAND Communion! Let’s pray they return to the true faith.

  • Ene Roa

    Faithful catholic, si el obispo es un criminal, denúncielo para que lo lleven a la cárcel; si no, el criminal es usted por falsa imputación, injuria y calumnia.

  • Ene Roa

    Jim Hopkins, el obispo pide a NCR que no engañe a los católicos diciendo que es una publicación católica sin serlo. El obispo no está reclamando ser dueño de nada. Pero a los seguidores de satanás les gusta confundir y defender al que confunde, y ése si es un profundo problema suyo.

  • dbw

    This yellow journalism ‘paper’ is bringing scandal to the Church and I would think a law suit would be in order. They should be stopped from using the word Catholic. They are making a mockery of Church authority and integrity and I don’t see what the problem is here. Sue them. It’s the only thing such a secular organization understands…financial consequences. Would the NRA let an anti-2nd ammendment organization use their name and logo? Would ANY other group permit this? Why are Catholics so hesitant about defending truth and honor? This particular truth matters more than ANY other. Should we fellow Catholics at least start a letter campaign? If someone would start some sort of movement, I’m sure there are many of us willing to do what is asked of us to help.

  • dbw

    PS, I wholeheartedly agree with everyone else that Bishop Finn, who has been so attacked and malikgned, is so courageous and faithful. May God richly bless him and his diocese.

  • Toby

    The arguments against ordination of women are based on the theological, biblical and social fallacies almost as great as the arguments against Galileo. Women leaders of the earliest church were wiped away in subsequent decades and when the church became the empire male chauvinism was completely institutionalized. Many of the ‘arguments’ touted recently are so dismally without reality base they sound like actual parodies, like the better ways that males love the church and other nauseating pre-pubertal nonsense.

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  • TrumanTown

    I’m not Catholic, so I have no dog in the fight about whether NCR is “faithful” or in some way legitimately Catholic. What I do know is this: in no other responsible faith community would a leader who has been convicted of failing to report a sex offender be allowed to continue in his office. Is it “Catholic” to disobey the law and fail to report a sex offender about whom a bishop is aware? Is it “Catholic” to be more concerned about saving the priesthood of a sex offender than obeying the both civil and natural law by reporting him to the proper authorities? Bishop Finn’s problem is that his actions have cost him the moral authority of his office. For him to criticize NCR for not being legitimately “Catholic” simply looks silly. He cannot be taken seriously as a bishop given his past behavior, however well-intentioned or however devout and doctrinally orthodox he may be. Bishop Finn has brought more scandal upon the Catholic Church than all the editorials of NCR put together. The translation of “bishop” (episkopos) is “overseer.” Who is overseeing the overseers?

  • Salvelinus

    The National Schismatic Reporter… This is an old condemnation, but that fishwrap publication should be rolled up and placed in diocesan bathroom stalls.
    So sad that anti-Catholic outlets like CNN use NSR as the face of Catholic news. The horribly catechized people are ripe victims of their scandal.
    If you see this dissident publication (or Commonweal) anywhere at your current church… RUN!
    Leave the “church of nice” and find a more faithful Catholic church… Might I suggest FSSP or another church offering the traditional Latin mass. If all else fails find a SSPX chapel for mass, but you will still need to go to confessions at the cononically regular church of nice.

Thursday
July 31, 2014
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph