He had spoken, for example, of the gap between church teaching and the views of many ordinary Catholics without acknowledging the possibility that the gap exists, not simply because of a lack of understanding on the laity's part or a failure on the hierarchy's part to communicate its teachings effectively, but because many ordinary Catholics regard certain teachings as wrong.
Fr. McBrien is not "acknowledging the possibility" that the Church's teaching is right, and that he and many other catholics are wrong. Yes, ordinary Catholics may think some teachings are wrong, because they don't understand neither the teachings themselves nor the Magisterium of the Church. Apparently, Fr. McBrien also has trouble with those topics as well. It's a good thing that the Magisterium, and truth of Catholic doctrine, do not hinge on Catholics understanding or support of those teachings.
Conservative bishops (or what he would now refer to as Communion Catholics) hold a disproportionate amount of power that makes real brotherly and sisterly conversation impossible, for all practical purposes.
Yes, dialog with those pesky conservative bishops is difficult, with them always bringing Scripture and the Catechism into the conversation. It's hard to sway someone if they're always holding onto a firm position. Fr. McBrien insists on overstating the number of conservative bishops, but I imagine that he's just projecting his phobias a wee bit.
Only in those dioceses where a bishop who operates --- mentally, emotionally and pastorally --- outside of the broad center of Catholicism do we find any "strangulation" of missionary and evangelizing activities. One such diocese, Kansas City-St. Joseph, was featured in the May 12 issue of NCR.
Fr. McBrien is still sulking over that affair? Missionary and evangelizing activities abound in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, home of every liberal's arch-nemesis, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz. I think it's time for the embittered catholics, lay and clergy, to get a grip that the Church is NOT a democracy and that the Truth is not negotiable.