Of course, rounding them all up is what the National Catholic Reporter and some heterodox elements of the diocese object to. They were used to being able to create their own vintage of Catholicism with little regard for the Magisterium or the universal Church. What really irked National Catholic Reporter, was Bishop Finn’s control of the diocesan newspaper. The previous bishop, Bishop Raymod Boland, had never meddled in the publication of The Catholic Key, the diocesan newspaper. The Catholic Key editor, Albert de Zutter, states, “Bishop Boland must have said a hundred times, ‘If you want a catechism, go buy a catechism. A newspaper is not a catechism.’ ” Contrast this with Bishop Finn who immediately upon becoming Bishop ordered a column by Notre Dame priest, Fr. Richard McBrien to be discontinued. When asked about this by the National Catholic Reporter, Bishop Finn responded:
“Everybody seems to make a big deal out of canceling Fr. McBrien’s column.” He said, “Quite honestly, it was fairly a no-brainer for me.” The column did not match what he thinks the mission of the Catholic press is, Finn said, namely, “to help people understand the message and the teaching of the church.” He has also said the “Catholic press should be true, not ‘fair.’ ”
The other big change was the cutting of the budget for the Center for Pastoral Life and Ministry. The center had trained 700 people in a 21 year time span at a cost of $5000 per person. Bishop Finn felt the diocese could use these resources to develop a broader adult catechesis program. There was also a great deal of concern that the curriculum of the Pastoral Life and Ministry Center was not in concert with magisterial teachings.
Again, Bishop Finn’s response to the National Catholic Reporter:
It is clear that Finn was dissatisfied with the diocese’s primary lay formation programs, New Wine, in particular. Finn told NCR, “The particular approach and the content and so forth of the flagship programs … did not reflect some of the magisterial teachings particularly of the time since the program was written.”
The program had not been updated with the latest “encyclicals, different apostolic letters and things like that,” Finn said. The bibliography cited texts that were prominent 15 or 20 years ago “among some theologians, mostly American theologians, and they were not necessarily renowned for their defense of church teaching,” Finn told NCR.
Finn also told NCR that he had a problem with “the style of the course, and I talked about this with some of the members of the center too.”
Center programs, he said, “had been given birth during that period of time when there was a lot of emphasis on process and sharing and a little less on content and so forth.”
People today, he said, “want to be able to discuss and explain and even defend their faith intelligently with other people they encounter. ”
Do read the entire article. Rather than make me resent Bishop Finn’s firm hand as I believe the National Catholic Reporter intends, this account make me want to stand up and cheer. I can only ask, “Does he have a twin?” I know of a diocese in California that could use such a shepherd.