Jul 7, 2007

Scorecard for Kansas City Bishops

Since 1968, a scorecard that rated performance for most Kansas City Catholic Bishops would have been marked with many deficiencies, justifying grades of "D" and "F". However, almsgiving was not lost during the past 40 years as the Church continued its beautiful work for the poor. [Unfortunately, 'love' also was used by some Bishops to justify the extinction of common sense, as could be seen when examining lists of grantees and expenses receiving diocesan 'charitable' funds.]

Fortunately, the current two Bishops (Bishop Robert W. Finn and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann) of Greater Kansas City deserve much, much better grades than most recent KC Bishops. I wish I had started to summarize their accomplishments when each Bishop took charge, but I really thought they did not have what was needed to dig the Church out of the pit of Modernism. However, the list of our current Bishops' good and faithful works gets longer and longer.

1. The Leaven and The Catholic Key diocesan newspapers are much improved. [Lots could be said in support of this conclusion--perhaps in a future post. The Key is now better than The Leaven, in my opinion.]

2. The diocesan leaderships are no longer hotbeds of dissent, even if some local parishes and 'Catholic' colleges remain bulwarks of Modernism.

3. The Bishops acknowledge and support the contributions and aspirations of traditional Catholics, even giving churches for the offering of the old Latin Mass and allowing FSSP and ICKSP priests to serve as chaplains.

4. Bishop Finn shows character, strength, and wisdom when dealing with dissenters. ['Nuff said!]

5. Archbishop Naumann seems to have taken a quieter approach in handling dissenters, but the results also seem fairly good, as diocesan Masses seem less 'experimental' than before. [Interestingly, I've observed two Kansas parishes where people were invited to kneel at the beginning of Mass where they ask God for forgiveness of their sins. I assume Archbishop Naumann is responsible for this welcome 'innovation.']

6. Archbishop Naumann and Bishop Finn are both strong pro-life supporters. Almost every week, their diocesan newspapers have an article or two on the life issues, and Archbishop Naumann usually leads a monthly rosary march to the abortion clinic in Kansas City, KS. In addition, both Bishops lead efforts to ban harvesting of stem cells from aborted infants, and Archbishop Naumann sponsored the production of a stem cell video to encourage opposition to the practice.

7. Bishop Finn has recruited the Benedictine Sisters of Mary, Queen of the Apostles, a traditional group of Catholic nuns, and is extending considerable support and encouragement to them.

8. Both Bishops recognize the evil of pornography and have organized programs to combat it.

9. Archbishop Naumann, a member of the Bishops' Committee on Marriage and Family Life, appears to recognize the great danger to the Church of the loss of over 50 percent of Catholic marriages. See my related post.

10. Archbishop Naumann has written many good columns in The Leaven that teach Catholic doctrine and that address thorny issues, such as contraception, 'free' love, and confession.

11. The two Bishops jointly sponsored the Annual Corpus Christi procession from St. Thomas More Church to Avila College, emphasizing Catholic belief in transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

12. Bishop Finn has appointed faithful stewards of Catholic teaching to key roles in his diocese.

13. Both Bishops are working very hard and successfully to get religious vocations. Bishop Finn just announced that the Missouri diocese now has 25 seminarians. He promoted a diocesan observance of 30 Days of Prayer to St. Joseph for vocations that ended when he led a pilgrimage to St. Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal in Montreal, Quebec. [It's heartening to see Bishop Finn is not afraid to get on his knees! Photo from The Key.]

14. Archbishop Naumann recognizes the importance of serving the homeschooling community. The Savior Pastoral Center was the site of a recent homeschooling conference and Laura Berquist will promote homeschooling at a July 15 conference starting at 1:00 pm at Benedictine College in Atchison, KS.

16. Archbishop Naumann is not afraid to publicly confront Governor Kathleen Sebelius on her pro-abortion activities. [Catholic pro-lifers are still waiting for the Archbishop to publicly acknowledge that the Kansas governor has removed herself from the Catholic Church and should no longer receive Communion. See my related post.]

17. Bishop Finn and Archbishop Naumann are co-sponsoring a Global Living Rosary during May 2008 at Kauffman Stadium. Also see here.

Not everything is all right or even significantly improving, but events over the past two years indicate that the days of unopposed Modernism in Kansas City have come to an end. Moreover, there is a resurgence of faith and Catholic action that I haven't seen for a long, long time.


Anonymous said...

Your diocese is blessed. It must
be marvelous to have a Bishop like
Bishop Finn.

Here in Phoenix the story is a bit
different. We love our Bishop
(Bishop Olmsted), and he is a
Bishop with distinct leadership
characteristics. He confronts
politicans who have the "I'm a
Catholic but. . ." syndrome, and
he has called homosexuals in the
diocese towards uncompromising
chastity. He has also welcomed
the FSSP into our diocese, and
reintroduced the TLM at two of
our churches in the greater
Phoenix area. So, Bishop Olmsted
is a strong, religious, and holy
Bishop, and he leads our diocese
with love and dignity.

However, the distinctly traditional
effort on behalf of the priestly
leadership appears to be all but
absent from our diocese. Things
here are thoroughly Novus Ordo;
and there is no effort to
reintroduce the spirit of ancient
tradition into any other part of
the diocese. We are seen as just
another facet of the Church here
-- no more, no less.

It's a disheartening state of
affairs, especially since the
MP has now arrived. A very small
community here will celebrate it.
Otherwise, it will seemingly go
by completely unnoticed by 99% of
the diocese -- we are not unlike
a small dot of pepper in a sea of
salt. So, in Phoenix, it could
be said, we are perfectly average
when it comes to general
statistics on liturgical
celebration. So, while it's true
that all trads must work hard to
get Catholics interested in their
own tradition once again, it's
going to be a tough slog without
real leadership behind us; even
if one has a brand-new MP to
support one's position.

So, in my opinion, it is places
like Phoenix where the real test
of the MP and the tradition
behind it is going to be. I'll
give our Bishop a B+ for what
he's done for us trads so far,
but whether or not tradition has
a future in America is going to
be up to the laity in places like
Phoenix, Arizona; where the
status quo is a big fat bear that
likes things just the way they


cranky said...

"...the days of unopposed Modernism in Kansas City have come to an end."

There still is some, but it's not unchallenged. Praise God.

Now, we don't want to get lulled into thinking the war is over. Stsy thsnkful, but stay vigilent.

wolftracker said...

Dusty, a great post overall. But even after all of the evidence you show to the contrary, you state that things are not "significantly improving." Surely, things are improving drastically, even if not all is all right. Perhaps, I misread your summation. Please, help me out.

Dust I Am said...

Wolftracker, Your comment deserves a lot more attention than can be given in a comment. Please see my response in the next post, Where I Think We Are...

Anonymous said...

However, the distinctly traditional
effort on behalf of the priestly
leadership appears to be all but
absent from our diocese.

Please do not think that Bishop Finn is distinctly traditional or that priestly leadership has swung significantly in the orthodox direction in the Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph. Kansas City has for the last several decades been characterized by a very modernist (and self-reducing) clergy. True, there were some who chose to retire rather than serve under Bishop Finn but it will be years before a more solidly orthodox clergy takes their place. Liturgical abuses, bad catechesis, and a lack of Catholic identity are still the norm in this diocese and likely will be for many years.

Curmudgeon said...

Nice post. I would agree, from my contacts in the Phoenix area, that the problems there are more intractable than they are here. God help them, we pray.

But this post puts me in mind of a little project Wolfie and I did last year--we graphed the "flowering" of the diocese of Kansas City St. Joseph, based solely on the data given by the former (yeah!) editor of the Catholic Key in the self-congratulatory jubilee publication.

Here it is: