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Bishop confirms National Catholic Reporter is not a 'Catholic' publication

January 25, 2013

Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, Missouri, has confirmed that the National Catholic Reporter should not advertise itself as a “Catholic” publication.

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 “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.'” 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.”


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  • Posted by: impossible - Feb. 02, 2013 11:40 PM ET USA

    As in other matters, the NCR response illustrates the difference between orthodox people and organizations vs. liberal heterodox ones. The orthodox ones, like RealCatholicTV obeyed the unwarranted order from the Bishops in whose diocese they were "located."

  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Jan. 28, 2013 4:39 AM ET USA

    This needs to be posted at the USCCB website and individual Bishops should direct priests in their diocese to place notification of Bishop Finn's action in their church bulletins along with drawing the clear distinction between the Reporter and the Register. Also, how did this paper receive a 'general excellence' award from the Catholic Press Association each year from 2000-2011?

  • Posted by: damian.riggs8445 - Jan. 27, 2013 12:17 AM ET USA

    For all those who didn't already know, thank you Bishop Finn for making it clear, again.

  • Posted by: phil L - Jan. 26, 2013 8:54 AM ET USA

    Spledant, it has been done, as Bishop Finn pointed out. Bishop Helmsing withdrew that permission in 1968. But the Reporter ignored him, and the bishop's order can't be enforced by a secular court.

  • Posted by: jacobtoo - Jan. 26, 2013 5:41 AM ET USA

    Uh uh, the anti-Catholic Reporter

  • Posted by: spledant7672 - Jan. 26, 2013 12:54 AM ET USA

    The Church can withdraw an institution's allowance to call itself Catholic. Can that not be done with a publication?

  • Posted by: mrschips19308196 - Jan. 25, 2013 10:03 PM ET USA

    In the late sixties my familyand I were transfered to Taipei, Taiwan. We attended a mlitary chapel while there and in the entryway they had pamphlets and a newspaper displayed for our use.The paper was the National Catholic Reporter. Once seeing what it was, I tore it into small pieces, leaving it on the floor by the stand. The next week, to my delight, they were displaying only the National Catholic Register!!!

  • Posted by: MatJohn - Jan. 25, 2013 9:10 PM ET USA

    The National "Catholic" Reporter will now proceed to eat Bishop Finn's lunch with their usual anti-Catholic and anti-orhodox cleric diatribes. All the while parading his recent problems as cause for non-allegiance by any of his flock. He is now fodder that they thrive on to incite division. Their demise as predicted by Karl Keating can't come soon enough.

  • Posted by: jacquebquique5708 - Jan. 25, 2013 6:30 PM ET USA

    Good for Bishop Finn. He is conservative and a very visible target for the liberal establishment.

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Jan. 25, 2013 6:11 PM ET USA


  • Posted by: Defender - Jan. 25, 2013 6:04 PM ET USA

    All this time I thought it was the "Non-Catholic Reporter."