Hmm. Not much of a mansion inside; they've given over what must have been a beautiful house to worn commercial carpet (I don't remember the color, but it must have been bright green or orange) odds and ends of decades-old office furniture, lots of awards on the wall from their fellow-travellers at the Catholic Press Association, and cheap panelling. They're trying to keep the Seventies feel alive in the building, so they can keep the seventies feeling alive in their publication, I guess? They seem to be a nervous lot, as well. I was actually pleasant (it's much easier for me in person than online) and didn't suggest at all what my sympathies were when I asked for three copies of the May 12 issue. The woman who assisted me asked if I'd read "the article" online and I said "oh, yes," and her hands shook as she gave me my change. Go figure?
Anyways, I emailed Orville that I had his copy (which I carried to him in a plain envelope, like I was smuggling contraband) and we exchanged thoughts via email. When we met on the street after work, so I could pass on the package, he, like my commenter Wolftracker below, explained to me why he thought the article was harmful. He reminded me that the Distorter was distributed in church vestibules across the United Statesto little old ladies and uncatechized high schoolers and others who didn't know any better, and that there were people who might actually pick it up, not having formed an opinion of the Bishop or the Distorter, and buy into what editor Tom Roberts and reporter Dennis Coday were selling.
From first reading the article yesterday, my thought was that it did nothing but vault the Bishop into the class of Olmstead, Chaput, Bruskewitz, Vasa, and make him a national figure--which is a good thing for Kansas City (until the Pope takes him away from us, of course).
I told Orville that I was struggling to come up with worthwhile things to say about the article; the thing really spoke for itself--the basic facts of the shakeup being true (and thanks be to God that they are) and the spin being exactly what one expected from the progressive peanut gallery (or perhaps just a little bit more). Orville suggested that one ought to spend some time and some keystrokes on it nonetheless. So I will, over the next few days. It's a shame to draw attention to the Distorter, but if in so doing we talk about what Bishop Finn is accomplishing, it's certainly worthwhile.
One final note or two for now. Being curious to see what other bloggers were saying about the piece, I did a search, and uncovered Todd of Catholic Sensibility, the professional music minister or liturgist in a big, newfangled south Kansas City parish, once again lamenting (as he contemporaneously with Finn's reshuffling) that the Bishop didn't give the Sullivan/Boland era chancery staff a year or so more to undermine and stymie him. Finally, while I may have flipped through a Distorter at some point in the last decade or two, I don't remember much about it. I was struck today by the Distorter's advertisements. Oy vay! Here I was looking for maybe a coupon from TAN or Ignatius Press, or maybe a Holy Land pilgrimage with Fr. Mitch Pacwa S.J. or a European Cathedral tour with Fr. George Rutler, but there was no such thing. Instead we had ads peddling books by Ann Rice (who I thought wrote vampire books) and Charles Curran (who I thought was the dead adulterous CBS Sunday Morning host), other ads soliciting interest in "interfaith seminaries," and another announcing a 3-day conference featuring (among others) Sister Joan Chittister called MYSTICISM EMPOWERMENT & RESISTANCE. And of course, I can't avoid just showing you this one:
You also have to love the Distorter's own article debunking of the Da Vinci Code, which includes the observations by Sister of St. Joseph Christine Schenk (director of FutureChurch, with degrees in theology and midwifery): "If Jesus was married, it wasn't to Mary of Magdala..." and "Unfortunately, our church has yet to catch up to the vision of Jesus, who loved, empowered and accepted the ministry women but was probably not married to one." [emphasis added].
More to come.