Fr. Z. has a new post on his blog reporting on a recent Boston Globe interview of Fr. Richard McBrien and this exchange caught my attention:
IDEAS: Your column is not running in some places that it used to run.
McBRIEN: If I had all the papers that once carried the column, I’d have nearly 50 papers, which is a lot in the Catholic market. Don’t ask me how many I do have, because I never really know, but I have a relative handful of that number.
IDEAS: What happened?
McBRIEN: As the Catholic hierarchy became more conservative under Pope John Paul II, bishops who were open to a diversity of viewpoints in the church either died or retired, and were replaced, in almost every case, by bishops who were more, let’s say, attuned to the desires and intentions of the Holy See. I used to kid, I’d say bishops get points if they drop my column. They get noticed, and then they get promoted eventually, and so forth ...
As I read this it occurred to me that I didn't recall seeing a Fr. McBrien column in the last couple of print issues of the Catholic Courier and a check of their web site shows that they haven't posted one of his columns online since late October.
Has the Catholic Courier (quietly) dropped Fr. McBrien's column? If so, I doubt that concerns over his orthodoxy are at the heart of the decision. Perhaps it's just a cost-cutting measure. Whatever the reason, however, I'm happy to see him go.