Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Unintended Consequences

Perhaps it was considered over at the National Catholic Reporter, but dismissed as unlikely (after all doesn't everyone think like they do?): by devoting most of an issue to Bishop Finn and his programs, they're going to make Finn a hero of right-thinking Catholics everywhere, and they're going to draw attention and support to him.

So far, at least in my little world, they've done just that, and more. I may have seen three negative comments out of hundreds that have appeared in the various media outlets I've surveyed (admittedly my survey didn't include typical outlets frequented by the Commonweal reading, brie-eating, Jesus-was-a-married-Marxist crowd. Among those who pay attention to matters of Church governance, Finn's name is now certainly mentioned in the same breath as Olmstead and Chaput.

Reports from Old St. Patrick's Oratory are that website traffic has tripled since the Distorter article came online. Hopefully donations have gone up as well.

We won't know for several years what positive effect the Distorter's efforts will have on local vocations. Bishop Finn's status as one of the Distorter's nemises will surely help stop the bleeding of vocations from Kansas City into more othodox dioceses, but success in that venue depends mostly on whether the Bishop follows through on his program of re-Catholicizing the diocese and takes step to guaranty a solid, straight formation for aspiring priests. If he does that, he could even turn this diocese (like Lincoln) into a magnet for young men who have vocations that can't be realized in their whacked-out home dioceses. We'll see.

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