National Catholic Reporter defiant in face of bishop’s rebuke: says ‘proud to call itself Catholic’
KANSAS CITY, Jan. 28, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The National ‘Catholic’ Reporter has shot back at its local bishop in Kansas City after he reminded the faithful that the newspaper has been forbidden from using the name "Catholic" since 1968.
“NCR is proud to call itself a Catholic publication,” wrote Thomas Fox, the paper’s publisher, in a post Sunday. “We report and comment on church matters including official teachings. We also report and comment on those who call into question some of these official teachings.”
“Meanwhile, we belong to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ sanctioned Catholic Press Association,” he added. “CPA judges have repeatedly cited us with awards for our coverage of the church.”
A spokesperson for the Catholic Press Association was not immediately available for comment.
The newspaper, though renowned for opposing Catholic teaching on women’s ordination, contraception, homosexuality, and other issues, enjoys privileged access to many Church leaders and regularly features ads by Catholic dioceses and parishes.
Fox was responding to a column by Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, who holds ecclesiastical authority over the paper because its office is located in his jurisdiction.
“I have received letters and other complaints about NCR from the beginning of my time here,” the bishop wrote in a column published in the diocesan newspaper Friday.
Bishop Finn pointed out that his predecessor, Bishop Charles Helmsing, had demanded that NCR remove the name “Catholic” from its name in 1968, a request that was ignored at the time.
“From my perspective, NCR’s positions against authentic Church teaching and leadership have not changed trajectory in the intervening decades,” Finn wrote. “In light of the number of recent expressions of concern, 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.’”
The bishop listed the following problematic editorial stances that the paper has taken: “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.”
In his post, Fox also cited comments by NCR editor-at-large, and former editor, Tom Roberts, who said the paper’s “bona fides rests on its nearly 50 years of professional journalism in service to the church.”
“That both hierarchy and laity would find us, variously, a boon to faith and an annoyance, is to us a certain confirmation that we are fulfilling our intent to report the activity of the church as widely and deeply as possible,” Roberts added.