National C******c Reporter


I recognize the importance of studying your enemy’s tactics, but I’m an economist so I also recognize the importance of opportunity cost. I have not read the National Catholic Reporter since I knew enough about its dissenting approach and chose to steer clear. With only so many minutes in the day, with authors like St. Francis de Sales, Brother Lawrence, St. Teresa of Avila, Fr. Thomas Dubay, Peter Kreeft, etc., and even with periodicals like the National Catholic Register and Catholic Answers Magazine, why waste time getting your soul dirty when you can be cleaning it up?

"National Dissent Reporter" just doesn't draw in the readers

Well, fortunately for Catholics everywhere Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City has paid attention to the Reporter. He has told its editors that the paper “should not advertise itself as a “Catholic” publication:”

The National Catholic Reporter, Bishop Finn remarks, has taken an editorial stance that puts the publication at odds with the Church, by “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.”

I know dissenters will claim that the Church is squashing “alternative views” again, just like it did with the LCWR. But you can’t say the Reporter wasn’t warned:

Bishop Finn reminds his readers that in 1968 his predecessor, Bishop Charles Helmsing, directed the editors of the Reporter to remove the word “Catholic” from the title of their publication. The newspaper’s editors refused. Bishop Finn says: “From my perspective, NCR’s positions against authentic Church teaching and leadership have not changed trajectory in the intervening decades.”

Forgive me for quoting myself, but perhaps Reporter devotees enamored with its dissent will finally give up the label:

Counterintuitively, the presence of awesome JPII and Benedict bishops and priests, great Catholic communicators (Scott Hahn and company, orthodox Catholic blogs), and modern applications of authentic Church teaching (Vatican II documents, Theology of the Body, the Catechism) will actually serve to magnify the divide between living a true Catholic life and simply living secular but calling oneself “Catholic.” Since it is now so easy to demonstrate the flaws of “pro-choice Catholics,” of the hermeneutics of suspicion or disruption, and of the viability of remaining a “dissenting Catholic,” it is that much easier for people to realize that they are not, in fact, Catholic despite the label they gave themselves while growing up.

Kudos, Bishop Finn.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of


About Author

Tim Shaughnessy is a cradle Catholic living in Shreveport, Louisiana with undergraduate degrees in economics and political science from Kalamazoo College, and a Master’s and Ph.D. in economics from Florida State University. He teaches economics at the undergraduate and graduate level, and is a faculty advisor for the campus Catholic student organization. He has worked at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty and was the first managing editor for the Journal of Markets & Morality while an undergraduate. He also worked for Representative Harold Voorhees in the Michigan state legislature. He serves the parish RCIA program as a sponsor and lecturer, and is active in parish and diocesan pro-life activities.

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