In a wide-ranging, two-hour interview in which he discussed his vision and dreams for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph as well as his decisions to reorganize some agencies within the chancery, Bishop Finn said he hopes to build on the diocese’s legacy of lay empowerment to energize Catholics in their love of Jesus Christ to live their faith fully in the broader community.
"Jesus Christ is going to save us," he said. "Bishop Finn isn’t going to save us. Salvation is going to be worked out in the context of the church. Jesus Christ established the church for us to know and love him, and ultimately to get to heaven."
Echoing a theme he delivered last year at a Mass for Catholic school principals and teachers at the opening of the 2004-05 school year, Bishop Finn said it is the vocation of every member of Christ’s church to become saints themselves "and to bring as many people with them as possible."
"You can’t say it more simply or profoundly than that," he said. "Our goal is to get ourselves and everyone else to heaven."
Bishop Finn said that ordained ministers alone can’t transform American culture.
"We are in a culture of death. Who is going to change that?" he said.
"I can stand up and preach about it, but that’s only going to go so far," Bishop Finn said.
"We have to understand where the power of the laity is," he said. "It’s in the family, the workplace, the marketplace. That’s where it has to happen.
"We need lay people in church leadership. But only a very small percentage of lay people will be involved in that," he said. "Sometimes, we tend to focus on that very small percentage and forget about the rest of the flock.
The article continues with this:
Bishop Finn said he wants The Catholic Key to be an important component of ongoing diocesan catechesis and evangelization, and an instrument of reconciliation.
For that reason, he said, he directed The Key to discontinue Father Richard McBrien’s often controversial syndicated column.
"Father McBrien likes to stir the pot," Bishop Finn said. "He approaches things with a certain skepticism and cynicism. You can get that in a lot of places, so go get it somewhere else.
"We need clear expressions of the meaning of faith, why we believe and how we can inspire each other," he said. "We’ve got to give people hope and direction, and we don’t have a lot of time and space (in the newspaper) to do that. I think we can do a whole lot better."
It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. You can almost hear the whispering of progressives about the silencing and the coming inquisition. The cries about open dialogue and the restrictive narrow view being imposed. Though I am sure Father McBrien will continue to have an outlet for his columns in the LA diocese magazine The Tidings for years to come.