In, ‘Scratching my head about the bishop in Paraguay,’ Fr. Z writes

… while the Supreme Pontiff exercises full jurisdiction in the Church and that his decisions have no appeal, should the Supreme Pontiff want there to be sound rule of law through the Church at every level, he, too, will observe the laws of which he is the Legislator.  So, the removal of bishops by the Pope should have some canonical basis.  It doesn’t have to, technically, but it really should.

He adds that, “‘Blunt speech’ and ‘voicing an opinion’ are not a canonical basis for removal from office unless the opinion is obviously heresy.”


This Argentinian bishop serving in Paraguay will be criticized by liberals for fighting back.  But those same liberals praised the Bishop of Toowoomba in Australia for getting all feisty.   He, you see, was “prophetic”, but the Paraguayan must be an “ideologue”.

bishop finn4

At Catholic Culture Dr. Jeff Mirus speculates on the reasons behind the current decision by the Vatican to ‘visit’ Bishop Robert Finn’s Kansas City Diocese:

We cannot get inside Bishop Finn’s head to see what God sees, but we would be foolish not to note that there is at least one other major fact about Bishop Finn’s leadership which is likely to generate a significant number of negative reviews: He set out from the first, and very vigorously, to change the rather lackadaisical Catholic culture of his diocese. We need to keep in mind that, very often, the person who goes in to reform a bad situation serves only a short time because he must make so many enemies. But having effected the shift, it becomes far easier for somebody else to come in and continue the work.

You can read the details of this cultural shift in my initial commentary. Essentially, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph had been a leader in promoting and training lay pastoral ministers as substitutes for priests. It was a diocese which seemed to embrace the priest shortage, perhaps interpreting its causes as a justification for creating a FutureChurch characterized by ever-growing secularism. There was clearly a worldly attitude at work, and this was manifest in the administration of the diocese, the university faculties the diocese used to train people, and even the authors published in the diocesan newspaper. Finn pitted himself directly against this classic “progressive Catholic” culture of accommodation.

Dr. Mirus concludes:

It would be foolish, of course, to praise Finn’s leadership ability just because I respect his orthodoxy. Too many people on all sides of every question make this fundamental category mistake. Still, I find myself willing to put up with at least some shortcomings in a man who can say things like the following:

Forty years after the close of the Second Vatican Council, we are in a time of a more mature self-understanding in the Church, than the period immediately following the Council. More than ever, the Council documents deserve careful reading and study. They have been used at times to justify experimentation that was interpolated on what has been sometimes called the “spirit of the Council.” Now we must allow ourselves to see how they are an incentive for renewal in continuity with the Church’s tradition.

Now: If such words inspire me, how many do they frighten?


Speaking at the UN, Vatican Secretary of State reiterated calls for the use of force against Mideast terror groups:

Multilateral action is needed to combat Islamic State (ISIS) militants operating in Iraq and Syria, Vatican Secretary of state Pietro Parolin told the UN General Assembly on Monday.

However such action should be characterised by a “proportionate” use of force, Parolin said.

“It is both licit and urgent to stop aggression through multilateral and a proportionate use of force,” the Vatican’s chief diplomat told the assembly in New York.

“The Holy See hopes that the international community will assume a responsibility in considering the best means to stop all aggression and avoid the perpetration of new and even greater injustice,” he went on, recalling the UN’s “responsibility to protect”.