I was pretty young when it originally aired, but sometime when I was in high school PAX TV aired reruns and I watched it whenever I could. After a while they started airing the same few episodes, and by the time they aired the Sherlock Holmes episode back-to-back, I knew they were getting ready to stop showing it.
PAX was a Christian network before they turned into i television and later Ion, and I remember them saying something on their website way back when about how Father Dowling was no longer in their plans for offering Christian programming. They also had their own commercial bumpers for Father Dowling in which they pointed out bloopers in the episodes, like how Sister Stephanie wore what they called a wedding ring.
Anyway, the show seemed sympathetic towards priests, and I remember episodes that dealt with issues like murderers confessing to Father Dowling and how he couldn’t say anything (one episode ended with the murderer confessing to Father Dowling and Clancy the police detective as he lay dying). The Blaine episodes were good too, but in retrospect I think dual roles in TV shows like Blaine/Francis were gimmicky. I often wondered how Father Dowling managed to find the time in his busy schedule to solve murders with Sister Stephanie.