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Everything's up t'date in Kansas City

By Diogenes (bio - articles ) | Dec 08, 2004

The National Catholic Reporter begs to announce that it is celebrating its 40th Anniversary (to put that span in perspective for younger readers, the latex prophylactic -- so beloved of the NCR -- was a device largely associated with heterosexual intercourse back when the romance began). How times change!

To mark the occasion, the NCR board honored Jesuit Fr. Robert Drinan for "a career of service to the church and the wider human family." Honors were also bestowed on the National Review Board ... for "dedication, courageous work and outstanding lay leadership," and on Bishop Raymond J. Boland, leader of the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese since 1993, for his pastoral leadership.

Fr. Drinan's service to the "wider" human family will be best known for his efforts to make that family narrower through government funded abortion-on-demand. Beginning with Drinan's first run for Congress the NCR tirelessly shilled for him, and in 1996 printed his column in favor of sustaining Clinton's veto -- yes, you read that right -- of a bill banning Partial Birth Abortion: "It does not make sense for a federal law ... to enter into such a complicated area of specialized professional and ethical issues." Thanks, Bob!

And then there's the NCR's tame bishop, Raymond J. Boland. The "pastoral leadership" for which he is commended is that of an ostrich with its head planted firmly in the sand. Emblematic, and far from unique, is the response he gave the Kansas City Star's Judy Thomas when she asked about gay priests with AIDS:

"I would never ask a priest how he got [AIDS]," he told Thomas, "just like nobody asked me two years ago how I got cancer of the colon. But I would provide for him. I would not write him off and say, 'Because you've got AIDS and because there are doubts about how one can acquire it, therefore you're not a good priest'."

Boland also volunteered the opinion that AIDS deaths teach us that priests are "human." Pastoral leadership at its finest.

The NCR's third honorand, the NRB, excoriated bishops for precisely the kind of three-monkey apathy for which Boland might serve as the poster boy. But from the outset of his tenure in KC, Boland took a hands-off approach to the NCR, and its publishers surely feel the inconsistency and the mahogany wall-plaque are a small price to pay for a decade of episcopal inertness.

Between Boland's leadership and Drinan's work to expand the readership base, I think we can confidently predict that the NCR will enjoy the prosperity expected of any association enamoured of PBA, nonoxynol-9, and the Barney Frank method of birth control. And, after all, they've taught us that bishops are "human."

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  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Dec. 08, 2004 1:11 PM ET USA

    Boland's Balloons for Bozos. Trademark pending. I will license this catchphrase for Diogenes' use in a future polemic at no additional charge. No need to thank me. Alliteration is my hobby.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 08, 2004 9:33 AM ET USA

    I always thought that Bishops were charged with teaching (what Christ taught the apostles), governing, and sanctifying. I don't see Pastoral Leadership in the bunch. And what does pastoral mean. At one time it referred to herding a flock of sheep, as in leading them to streams and green pastures, keeping them out of harm's way, and fending off the wolves. In the modern diocese, it is more like the bishop sitting down with the wolves, letting them decide by majority vote what's for dinner.

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