In a column appearing in his diocesan newspaper, Bishop Finn notes that he, as the bishop of the diocese in which the Reporter is located, has the duty to “call the media to fidelity.” He cites the Code of Canon Law, which (in #1369) calls for “a just penalty” for anyone who “excites hatred of or contempt for religion or the Church.”
The National Catholic Reporter, Bishop Finn remarks, has taken an editorial stance that puts the publication at odds with the Church, by “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.” He reveals that he has received numerous complaints about the Reporter’s editorial policies.
Bishop Finn reminds his readers that in 1968 his predecessor, Bishop Charles Helmsing, directed the editors of the Reporter to remove the word “Catholic” from the title of their publication. The newspaper’s editors refused. Bishop Finn says: “From my perspective, NCR’s positions against authentic Church teaching and leadership have not changed trajectory in the intervening decades.”
The bishop discloses that soon after arriving in Kansas City, he sought to engage the Reporter editors in a discussion of their fidelity to the Catholic Church, but was rebuffed. “At other times, correspondence has seemed to reach a dead end,” he adds.
Bishop Finn concludes that “as the local bishop to instruct the Faithful about the problematic nature of this media source which bears the name “Catholic.” He says that he remains willing to discuss the issue with the Reporter staff, but as things stand, “I find that my ability to influence the National Catholic Reporter toward fidelity to the Church seems limited to the supernatural level.”