You learn a lot about a person by what his enemies have
to say. The National Catholic Reporter wrote a piece one
year after Bishop Finn took over the Kansas City-St.
Joseph Diocese. If you can endure the article's
whininess, you discover quite a bit. This is a shepherd
who wanted orthodoxy in his diocese. Here's a portion of
the Distorter's own rant, which goes by the
honest title, "Extreme Makeover: the Diocese":
"Finn, 53, a priest of the St. Louis archdiocese and a
member of the conservative Opus Dei movement, was named
coadjutor of the Kansas City-St.Joseph diocese in March
2004. The diocese comprises 130,000 Catholics in 27
countries of northwest Missouri. He succeeded Bishop
Raymond Boland as ordinary on May 24, 2005. Within a
week of his appointment [emphasis mine] he:
Dismissed the chancellor, a layman with 21 years of
experience in the diocese, and the vice chancellor,
a religious woman stationed in the diocese for
nearly 40 years and the chief of pastoral planning
for the diocese since 1990, and replaced them with a
Cancelled the diocese’s nationally renowned lay
formation programs and a master’s degree program in
Cut in half the budget of the Center for Pastoral
Life and Ministry, effectively forcing the almost
immediate resignation of half the seven-member team.
Within 10 months all seven would be gone and the
Ordered a “zero-based study” of adult catechesis in
the diocese and appointed as vice chancellor to
oversee adult catechesis, lay formation and the
catechesis study a layman with no formal training in
theology or religious studies.
Ordered the editor of the diocesan newspaper to
immediately cease publishing columns by Notre Dame
theologian Fr. Richard McBrien.
Announced that he would review all front page
stories, opinion pieces, columns and editorials
What's the matter with that?
Nothing. If you are a true and faithful Catholic, you'd
welcome the swiftness of change for the good and
consider it an answer to fervent prayer. However, it
seems that the good bishop stepped into a pit of very
poisonous and biting serpents. Apparently, there are
enough NCR-type Catholics in KS-SJ, who want no one,
especially orthodox Church hierarchy, telling them they
can't do things like: have laity, especially women
running parishes or liturgies; contracept; abort; use
fetal-line stem cells; promote sodomy, and the like. The
Bishop also insisted on final say in the diocesan paper
in order to ensure everything in print was in line with
Catholic teaching. He brought in Eucharistic Adoration
and started a Traditional parish. And many priests,
nuns, and laity there fought him every step of the way.
Goodness! where is their tolerance?
In other words, these "Catholics" want none of the
guidance or restrictions placed by the Commandments of
God or the Catholic Church. They want an institution
made in man's own sinful image and likeness: a Church of
Honestly, after reading NCR's telling article, I have no
idea how Bishop Finn has survived this long. I don't
know how anyone could withstand what he has without an
extraordinary infusion of grace.
Next, let's take a look at Bishop Finn's own words,
taken from a speech given in 2009, entitled, aptly, "We
are at War."
You won't find any whiny, hand-wringing here. These are
the words of a valiant general, calling his
soldiers-in-Christ to arms. He recognizes how high the
stakes are: nothing less than the battle for immortal
Here's are some admirable excerpts. Some, rather
prophetic [underlining is my emphasis]:
We are at war.
"Harsh as this may sound it is true – but it is not new.
This war to which I refer did not begin in just the last
several months, although new battles are underway – and
they bring an intensity and urgency to our efforts that
may rival any time in the past.
"But it is correct to acknowledge that you and I are
warriors - members of the Church on earth – often called
the Church Militant. Those who have gone ahead of us
have already completed their earthly battles. Some make
up the Church Triumphant – Saints in heaven who surround
and support us still – tremendous allies in the battle
for our eternal salvation; and the Church Suffering
(souls in purgatory who depend on our prayers and
meritorious works and suffrages).
"But we are the Church on Earth – The Church Militant.
We are engaged in a constant warfare with Satan, with
the glamour of evil, and the lure of false truths and
empty promises. If we fail to realize how constantly
these forces work against us, we are more likely to
fall, and even chance forfeiting God’s gift of eternal
"As bishop I have a weighty responsibility to tell you
this over and over again. This obligation is not always
easy, and constantly I am tempted to say and do less,
rather than more. Almost everyday I am confronted with
the persuasion of other people who want me to be silent.
But – with God’s grace – you and I will not be silent.
What can we say about this constant warfare?
"Our battle is ultimately a spiritual battle for the
eternal salvation of souls – our own and those of other
people. We are not engaged in physical battles in the
same way military soldiers defend with material weapons.
We need not – we must not – initiate violence against
other persons to accomplish something good, even
something as significant as the protection of human
"But it is true that we might have to endure physical
suffering to prosper the victory of Jesus Christ. He
carried the Cross. He promised us that – if we were to
follow Him – we also would share the Cross. We must not
expect anything less. When you stand up for what is
right – you will be opposed.
The temptation will be to avoid these attacks. But
through our responses we must see what kind of soldiers
Who is our enemy in this battle of the Church Militant?
"Our enemy is the deceiver, the liar, Satan. Because of
his spiritual powers he can turn the minds and hearts of
men. He is our spiritual or supernatural enemy when he
works to tempt us, and he becomes a kind of natural
enemy as he works in the hearts of other people to twist
and confound God’s will. In our human experience people
deceived by Satan’s distortions and lies may appear as
our “human enemies.”
See this link for the entire talk:
What conclusion can a good soul draw after reading the
above? One particular thought comes to mind, right from
the Bishop's final line: "In our human experience people
deceived by Satan's distortions and lies may
appear as our "human enemies."
Please don't misunderstand; what happened with that
priest and the children is truly despicable. But let's
not go after the wrong person.
Frankly, the more I read, the more I am concerned, and
not only for Bishop Finn, but for all of us Catholics.
NCR's latest article by John Allen alarms me, not so
much because of what he wrote, but because of what is
posted in the comments. There is a hatred and call for
Catholic blood that is worrisome. See for yourself:
Make no mistake. Children MUST be protected from such
unspeakable violation. However, this case is not about
"protecting children"; this is about going after the
Catholic Church. The posts I've seen in the NCR and the
KC Star want the Holy Father to get the same treatment
as Bishop Finn. They want both of them, and more of the
hierarchy and priests and religious--especially the good
ones--to rot in prison...and worse.
If you have any doubt, then perhaps you've not seen the
video of the attack on the statue of the Blessed Mother
in Rome. The desecration of that image is done with a
rage that can only be described as satanic. The fury and
evil are palpable and frightening. And I don't hear any
cries of "Anti-Catholicism!" Judge for yourself:
One final point. While there are websites and posts that
admit that Bishop Finn is a good man, they say he has
failed with regard to the Father Ratigan case. Most
accusations are critical of Bishop Finn for hiding the
photos from the police. This is a serious misconception
that continues to be repeated and must be corrected.
Bishop Finn NEVER saw the photos; he relied on the word
of his Vicar General, who DID see them.
I ask you all to pray that the truth of the matter come
out swiftly and completely.
St. John Fisher, pray for Bishop Finn.