Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Bp. Finn Takes on the National catholic Reporter

January 25th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

Maybe the Diocese of Rochester will cease ordering this anti-Catholic rag for our discerners at Becket Hall?

Maybe the Catholic Courier will remove their ‘like’ of the NcR on Facebook?

Bp. Finn’s column in its entirety:

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.

[The rest of the column relates specifically to the National catholic Reporter]

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.

Tags: ,


10 Responses to “Bp. Finn Takes on the National catholic Reporter”

  1. Richard Thomas says:

    How come organizations like “The Catholic Physician’s Guild” and “Real Catholic TV” have to remove the word “Catholic” from their title, and the National Catholic Reporter does not?

    Forgive me but if push came to shove, and the paper refused to stop advocating heresy, I, as bishop would excommunicate the leaders. Souls are at stake and this is a time to take no prisoners!

  2. Scott W. says:

    In the case of RCTV, they didn’t have to in an absolute sense, but they did it as an act of obedience to legitimate authority giving a legitimate (granted, controversial) instruction. A virtue completely lost on NCR.

  3. y2kscotty says:

    NCR at one time (such as the early years fater Vatican II) played a reasonable role in Catholic media – but the fact that NCR is stridently opposed to the Bishops negates whatever positive role they may have played many years ago – or many decades ago. So NCR deserves the condemnation. However, +Finn’s own credibility as a bishop, unfortunately, is tainted by his conviction on the charge that he failed to report a pedophile priest. Having said that, this doesn’t mean that his authority or concern is not valid. It’s just that some bishops have damaged the good name of the Church by their failure to deal properly with the sexual abuse by priests under their jurisdiction. And that, unfortunately, causes many people to abandon the Church.

  4. Ben Anderson says:

    How come organizations like “The Catholic Physician’s Guild” and “Real Catholic TV” have to remove the word “Catholic” from their title, and the National Catholic Reporter does not?

    To echo what ScottW said… I don’t think the bishops did anything differently in those situations. What was different, besides the circumstances provoking the bishop’s request, is that the former obeyed and the latter did not. Then I guess it comes down to what are the “next steps” bishops can take if the organization doesn’t comply. Are there any?

  5. Scott W. says:

    Are there any?

    Since the NCR touts its “independent” status, one thing he could do is prohibit NCR staff from using church property for lectures, etc. Other than that, he can’t really force them to change their name. The other option I guess is that if individual staff members are receiving sacraments in the diocese and explicitly print denials of binding doctrines, start canonical procedures.

  6. y2kscotty says:

    ScottW is probably right that the Bishop can’t do much of anything to force them to change their name. The Lefebvrists (SSPX) and Spiritus Christi call themselves Catholic, but they aren’t, and there is no way to prevent them from calling themselves Catholic.

  7. Ben Anderson says:

    The Lefebvrists (SSPX) and Spiritus Christi call themselves Catholic,

    sspx and SC are in totally different camps. What evidence do you have that sspxers are not Catholic?

  8. Diane Harris says:

    About 5 or more years ago, triggered by seeing Spiritus Christi listed as “Catholic” and concerned that the unsuspecting,especially visitors, might be led astray, I contacted the DoR to express my concerns. Specifically I asked that the yellow page listing of churches put all the DoR churches into a category entitled “Roman Catholic” and leave Spiritus Christi alone with its own claims. I was told it was a great idea. Of course, nothing happened. I realize the suggestion wouldn’t have solved the whole problem, but it would have been a start. The only thing different 5 years later, is that I no longer have any expectation of the PTB (Powers that be) doing the right thing.

  9. Richard Thomas says:

    Has anyone seen the movie “Restless Heart? In it St Ambrose launches a tirade against the Roman emperor and his mother concerning spiritual issues.

    We need a St Ambrose or a St Padre Pio. We have suffered through 40 years of clergy being nice, tolerating evil and failing to do anything positive. Cardinal Dolan and the likes need to see tghis movie.

    I am tird of Cardinals and bishops being the politician at the expense of being a good shepherd

Leave a Reply

Log in | Register

You must be logged in to post a comment.

-Return to main page-