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Bishop Finn: Now that is a Bishop!

Jimmy Akin and many others have been covering the National Catholic Reporter’s piece about Bishop Robert Finn, bishop of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. He took over the diocese one year ago and has made sweeping changes. The National Catholic Reporter is highly critical of the new bishop and these changes. Well, that figures. All of these changes are moves towards orthodoxy. It sounds like the flock he inherited was more like a herd of cats than a flock of sheep. It took decisive action to round them all up.

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.


Christine said…
Ahhh...if only we could morally clone priests like him. :)
Catholic Mom said…
While we cannot morally clone the man, we could "clone" his formation process. We need more priests who understand we are the Roman Catholic Church, not the "Church according to whatever I think it should be".
Rachel said…
Can we send someone like him out to Raleigh? Please? Things are really "weak" out here under Bishop Gossman....who has already submitted his paperwork to retire..we're just waiting on a replacement...

And how about some priests who preach, not just make everyone feel good?
Ferde Rombola said…
You woldn't be talking about the Diocese of Orange County (CA), would you?

If not, then it must be Rogelio's Regime. Both barren and empty of anything Orthodox.

California Girl said…
Do you by chance mean the Diocese of Monterey? (Not my diocese, by the way.) Bishop Sylvester Ryan has (reportedly) submitted his retirement letter; now they are waiting for the Holy Father to name a replacement--hopefully a twin of Finn!

California Girl

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