Finn de Siècle
Apparently, the Old Guard out in Northwest Missouri won't get over Finn's axing of McBrien's column from the Catholic Key, his preferred style of governance and the downsizing of a questionable (not to mention wildly expensive) lay-formation program.
The former curialists sound uber-bitter:
Good God, people! A bishop is a bishop is a bishop -- what don't you get?! These guys sound just as vile as the Mahony-haters. Left and right, all losing their minds together.... How Catholic.
[The former chancellor] who served the diocese 21 years, sees Finn as part of a nationwide pattern of new bishops who “will interpret more the letter of the law,” he said. “In this diocese, we were used to people interpreting more the spirit of the law.”
This change in theological philosophy reflects broader changes.
“Now Rome seems to be more concerned with appointing people who pass the (theological) litmus test,” said the Rev. Pat Rush, who has left the post of vicar general to return to a parish. “When Boland came along, Rome was appointing more pastoral bishops.”
As for the bishop, he's basically on the defensive for the whole interview, but he holds his ground. The really weird thing is that Helen Gray of the Star interviewed Ray Boland, the bishop-emeritus. Um... not the best understanding of the church's institutional culture. But I digress....
Finn on McBrien:
Finn on the job:
Finn said McBrien, a theology professor at the University of Notre Dame, questions and in some cases opposes Catholic authority and such teachings as lifelong priestly celibacy. He said he frequently attacks people and groups faithful to the church.
As the local bishop, Finn is publisher of the diocesan newspaper and has the authority to determine what goes in and stays out.
“His articles and rather skeptical and cynical approach are in almost every case in opposition to my own goals for the diocese,” the bishop said. “It seems foolish to offer him a pulpit to undermine church teaching.”
“My work is primarily with the people,” he said. “I love going to the parishes. I love going to confirmations. I love meeting the people.”
Ideally, every parish should have a pastor, he said. About a dozen don’t have resident pastors, with several headed by pastoral administrators instead of priests.
“Only a priest can hold the title of pastor and administrator,” he said. “You can have lay pastoral administrators in an emergency. The bishop can assign certain administrative duties to laity. As far as worship, teaching and governance, lay people can have a role, but parishes need a pastor.”
The shortage of priests is a pressing problem, and encouraging more men to enter the priesthood is one of Finn’s priorities. But both Finn and Boland are heartened that recent recruitment efforts have resulted in 10 new seminarians who began study this fall.
In the midst of this period of transition as Finn adapts to the diocese and parishioners adapt to him, Finn is looking forward to moving toward “wherever our Lord wants us to be.”
Such a good man. Tip and thanks to Fred for sending.