Fr. McBrien's disappointments:
Father Andrew Greeley, a distinguished author and sociologist, has frequently pointed out that it was not the Council but Pope Paul VI's 1968 birth-control encyclical, Humanae Vitae, that opened the breach within the post-conciliar Church. If the pope had sided with the 2-1 majority of his Birth Control Commission and modified the official teaching on contraception, the post-Vatican II history of the Church might look entirely different.
Now I wonder what practical difference it makes. If the number of Catholics who use contraception in violation of the Church's teaching is as high as it seems to be- why does Fr. McBrien care? He cares because he wants the Church to capitulate to modernity. That makes Fr. McBrien a prophet and not just the aging, bored and boring dissident that he remains.
And McBrien attempts to warn us about Bishop Finn, of Kansas City, Missouri, lionized here on this very blog, he says:
And yet the new bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Robert Finn, a member of Opus Dei, has been dismantling much of what had been put in place by his three immediate predecessors: Charles Helmsing (1962-77), John Sullivan (1977-93), and Raymond Boland (1993-2005).
Priests, nuns and lay people who have served in various diocesan offices and agencies established and supported by these three bishops have, in a matter of months, been fired or resigned, and programs have been closed down or suffered cuts in budget and staff (National Catholic Reporter, May 12).
Were Bishops Helmsing, Sullivan and Boland unworthy shepherds, like the hired hands mentioned in the Fourth Gospel (John 10: 12-13)? Did they lead their flocks astray or throw them to the wolves? Were they grievously wrong in their pastoral teachings, policies and appointments? If so, how is a Catholic to know when any bishop is to be respected and obeyed, and when he is not?
Actually, it's very easy to decide when a bishop is to be obeyed. There are a few indicators- a shepherd of souls is vocal in support of human life, dedicated to catechesis, a preserver of tradition and is no slave to the changing winds of political correctness. True it is a select, elite group but they shine like stars in the sky.