The editors of the ultra-lefty National Catholic Reporter once again show their spittle-flecked contempt for the diocesan bishop where their paper’s offices are located: Most Rev. Robert Finn, Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph.
NCR published a letter from a priest of the Kansas City, MO diocese, Fr. Michael Gillgannon to Bishop Finn.
The letter reveals the thought processes and categories of the deeply entrenched left-leaning Catholic liberal democrat now evolving into a mean-spirited whiner in the face of a shifting American episcopate.
Fr. Gillgannon’s letter is far too long, and not always very interesting since it is pretty much a recitation of the left’s talking points. I won’t do a full fisk here. But there are a few passages to highlight. First, however, let’s see NCR’s intro about who the writer is, before the text of Fr. Gillgannon’s letter which they (but not I) print in full.
My emphases and comments.
Kansas City-St. Joesph diocese priest criticizes his bishop’s leadership
By Thomas C. Fox
Created Sep 15, 2009
Michael GillgannonMichael GillgannonFather Michael J. Gillgannon, a widely respected missionary priest of the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, has written an open letter to his bishop, Robert W. Finn, taking strong exception to his leadership.
Ordained in 1958, Gillgannon began his career in campus ministry in 1962 at Western Missouri State University. In 1966, he served on the advisory committee of the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Conference for the post-Vatican II reorganization of Catholic Campus Ministry in the United States. [And wow! Has that been great!] Since 1974, he has worked as a missionary in La Paz, serving as pastor of San Antonio Parish, as episcopal vicar of the Eastern Deanery of La Paz, and as national chaplain for Bolivian Campus Ministry. He is the founder and director of campus ministry for the La Paz, Bolivia Archdiocese and and occasional writer for NCR.
September 11, 2009
Dear Bishop Finn,
Greetings from Bolivia. …
… You have made many changes in the diocese since you came with a particular agenda. You appear to me and many priests of my generation who lived the Spirit filled days of Vatican II as one whose task is to reverse the changes of that great event. You have given the impression that your changes were for the sake of a narrow “orthodoxy” which seems to imply that the bishops and priests and laity before you were not orthodox. [If the shoe fits, Father, if the shoe fits… It is clear, however, that the writer is wholly convinced and entrenched in his position and that he belongs to the "rupture" crowd, not the "continuity" contingent.]
… You give the impression you are not working from a pastoral model of unity with respect for diversity, a more traditional Catholic practice, but from an ideological desire for a narrow uniformity and an even narrower spirituality.
More recently, however, I have been deeply concerned by your pastoral document, co-authored with Archbishop Naumann, on health care in the United States. Many priests and laypeople have wondered about your applications of the principles of Subsidiarity and Personal Responsibility. [And here is a talking point straight from Pres. Obama’s stump speeches… which POTUS himself is now backing away from…] 47,000,000 citizens in the world’s richest country are without health care. The national arguments for change have been going on for years. We cannot leave those poor without care. Your document seems to say the poor must fend for themselves and take better care of themselves. [Nice way to talk to the bishop, right?] …
Another problem of concern is the pastoral document on the 2008 elections you authored. You, Bishop, and many bishops of your generation, [Remember McBrien’s whine about the change in the episcopate? This is a serious nightmare for the editors of the NCR, it seems. They are obsessed with this.] seem to be proposing [wait for the cliche…] a one-issue public dialogue on political candidates and platforms which deny the Catholic Tradition of social teaching on a wide range of issues expressed in the Seamless Garment social teachings of Cardinal Bernardin and his generation of prelates. [What a revealing phrase that was!] And which I was taught in the seminary of the ’50s and later in the documents of Vatican II. [Note how the writer puts all these on pretty much the same level.]
Later when some 60 or so Catholic Bishops of your generation condemned [gasp] the new president on pro-life issues you failed as teachers. [Nice, huh? Remember, this is a priest writing to his own diocesan bishop in a "Catholic" newspaper published in that same diocese and then distributed in print and on the internet. This is public.] Your style and your strategy finds resonance with [cliche alert] only a small segment of the Church [I have written about this tactic several times. Liberals of the McBrien and NCR stamp will always try to minimize the numbers of those who are conservative of traditional. It is an attempt to trivialize the opposition and give more weight to their own positions.] and the wider American public you would like to influence. You may think of yourself and the others as defending human life by speaking the “truth” to power but you seem to most of us as pushing your own political agenda [You knew it had to happen. The writer’s letter sounds as if it were written with talking points from ACORN and the DNC, but it is the bishop who is being political!] and not the wisdom of Catholic teaching. [Which he knows and the bishop obviously doesn’t.] And worse, you give the impression that those who disagree with you are opposed to the defense of life. [Remember: this guy is a Bernardin/McBrien/Reese/Kmiec Catholic.]
[Now, watch this….] How pro-life have you been on Iraq and Afghanistan? Have you questioned the new American practice of hiring the poor and the marginalized without other job opportunities as mercenaries to fight and die in our wars? … Have you formed Catholic consciences on war and armaments and national defense budgets? [blah blah]
We have many wonderful values in our Church and in our country. But our civil and ecclesial divisions and the acerbic and accusatory tenor of our dialogues could end our acceptance of others and respect for difference. [Look who’s talking!] Particularly when ideologies replace reasoned pragmatic, but ethical, solutions. [Put down your coffee amd read this next part with amazement…] You do not have a coherent or compelling vision of Church teaching or of pastoral strategies that can convert people and change their attitudes and actions. That is why your leadership, and that of many other American Bishops, is questioned so deeply. Our church is more divided among leadership and faithful than at any time in my life of 76 years, and 51 years as a priest. We have to ask ourselves why so many Catholics are leaving the Church. Are they sinners? Or searchers? A search to which our in-house quarrels have not responded. [Sounds like the same message NCR pushed through McBrien, right?]
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev. Michael J. Gillgannon
First, were I this priest’s bishop, I would be very tempted to suspend him if he did not issue a public apology in the same newspaper. I would suspend him because of his public show of disrespect, amounting to an attack on the character of the bishop. It is a clear attempt to undermine the bishop’s authority in his diocese, and harm his reputation in a contumacious way. Had this letter been private, I would not go that far. It is also possible that the priest in question wasn’t fully cognizant of what he was doing. That would have to be assessed as well.
Second, I understand that Bishop Finn is a kind soul, but I wonder how much longer he will put up with the National Catholic Reporter before he does something about it using the word "Catholic" in its name.
Third, NCR is filled with boot-shaking, pants-wetting, blood-chilling terror at what is happening in the episcopate of the Church in the United States.
Lastly, shame on the editors of the NCR for using this old priest, for their own hateful purposes. Shame on them. Even the the priest was a willing victim, shame on them.