After all they didn't listen to his predecessor, Bishop Charles Helmsing in 1968 when he issued a condemnation & told them to stop using Catholic in their title.
But that isn't stopping Bishop Robert Finn from trying.
In his latest column
for the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocesan paper, The Catholic Key
, he calls out the Non-Catholic Reporter for their failure to uphold authentic Catholic teaching. He does so at the end of the letter where he talks about his responsibility as a Bishop to properly use the media to spread the Gospel. In the article he lists several Canons. Some of those canons are about his duties, the others about the duties of faithful Catholics to properly use the media as well. One specificly talks about punished with a "just penalty
" for gravely harming public morals among other things.
I think you can see where he is heading. But before going there he talks about how the diocesan newspaper & radio live up to their obligation. Then he goes on to talk about the NonCR. Here is what he said:
"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."
There are plenty of interesting things in this to look at.
He makes it clear that the NonCR hasn't changed direction since the late 60s. He is right. In fact, I was about to write a post on that myself. In this case, I was going to look at the past 20 some years.
What set me off was the fact that I came across a 1994 issue of the paper when going through some boxes of old stuff to see what to keep & get rid of. The reason I had this issue was because it had a hit piece on Mother Angelica. Of course they were attacking her for defending authentic Catholic teaching. Much of the article mocked what they called her "Disneyland church". I won't go into details. All I will say is that nearly 40 years later, EWTN is going strong & Mother has been recognized by the Pope with the highest honor the Church gives to the laity for service to the Church.
Of course there were many other pieces that worked to undermine Catholic teaching as well, such as pushing women's ordination. Just what Bishop Finn says they are still doing.
It is clear that Bishop Finn has tried his best to deal with them. But like the LCWR & other dissidents, they don't submit to the lawful authority as they should.
Compare this to how Mother Angelica submitted to Birmingham's Bishop Foley's order when he banned televised Masses in the diocese that were ad orientum. She appealed to Rome. When she lost, she dutifully submitted.
Yet, they consistantly refuse to drop the word Catholic from their name, despite the fact that they are supposed to obey the Bishop. Maybe they could learn from another conservative, Michael Voris who changed the name of Real Catholic TV to Church Millitant because the Archdiocese told him to. In this case, since the owner was from another diocese that said it was OK. Still, in this case he tried to meet with Archbishop Vigneron, who didn't have time for him but did have time to meet with a liberal group espousing women's ordination.
In the end, I am sure the NonCR will use this as a way to make another attack on him. They have had it out for him ever since he took over the diocese. In the hit piece they attacked him for the changes he was making. They accused him of doing them without consultation or getting to know what really needed to be changed. This article was just like the one I mentioned earlier about Mother Angelica. Like Bishop Finn said, the trajectory hasn't changed.
What they didn't say until way, way into the article was that, while coadjutor Bishop he had visited over 70 % of the parishes in the diocese. Not only that, he held sessions at each parish where he met with the parishioners & let them talk to him.
I guess that doesn't count as consultation. That is a bit ironic given how the NonCR has often pushed for the people to have more of a voice. But the people the NonCR is talking about isn't the faithful in the pew, it is only those who share the NonCR's viewpoint aimed at getting rid of authentic Catholic teaching.
Now, the NonCR refuses to meet with him. Talk about a double standard. But in a way, it isn't. The NonCR doesn't want dialog, it just wants the Church to make them the new magisterium & that we all obey their authority.
Bishop Finn has issued the warning. He knows the NonCR won't change & there isn't much more he can do but keep speaking out, loudly & clearly, if they continue to dissent. Even excommunication would do no good as they wouldn't accept it as valid.
Hey, I've got an idea, maybe they could move to Detroit, Bishop Vigneron seems to have no problem with making dissenters welcome & faithful Catholics unwelcome. Of course, that wouldn't solve the problem. As I said, Bishop Finn will just have to keep trying, keep correcting ublicly what they are doing & keep praying to St. Francis deSales. If anyone knows how to deal with those who dissent with authentic Catholic teaching St. Francis does.