Archive for April, 2015
In a March 2014 interview, Pope Francis was given an opportunity to comment on the sexual-abuse scandal, a subject he had said remarkably little about since his election. Acknowledging the ‘deep wounds’ suffered by victims, Francis went on to defend the church as the only public institution to address such crimes ‘with transparency and responsibility.’ No one else has done more, he continued, and yet “the church is the only one to be attacked …’
“For nearly three years, Kansas City Catholics have been wondering whether a pope would replace Finn with a bishop who would put the safety of children first. On April 21, they got their answer. In a terse statement, the Holy See announced that Pope Francis had accepted Finn’s resignation. The brevity of that statement was inversely proportional to its significance for the global church.”
Editorial by Commonweal — Click here to read the rest of this editorial
Despite announcing his resignation a week ago, Bishop Robert W. Finn will preside over the priestly ordinations of seven deacons next month in the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese.
“A diocese spokesman Monday (Apr. 27) cited a scheduling conflict that prevented the new temporary leader of the diocese, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, from ordaining the seven men on May 23 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Kansas City.
“Naumann, who continues to lead the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, will preside over ordinations scheduled for the same time in Leawood …
“‘There is closure on this,’ Naumann said in a phone interview. ‘Bishop Finn resigned, and the Holy See has accepted it. But he doesn’t disappear from the face of the Earth. … He still is a bishop.’”
By Rick Montgomery, The Kansas City Star — Click here to read the rest of this story.
The state’s highest court on Monday (Apr. 28) reinstated the landmark child-endangerment conviction of a Roman Catholic monsignor who was the first U.S. church official ever prosecuted over his handling of sex abuse complaints.
“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the 2012 felony conviction of Monsignor William Lynn for endangering an altar boy abused by a priest who had been transferred to his parish despite earlier complaints.
“Defense lawyers have long argued that Lynn, as secretary for clergy, was not responsible for the child’s welfare under Pennsylvania law at the time. However, the state Supreme Court in a 4-1 ruling disagreed, potentially sending the 64-year-old Lynn back to prison.”
By Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press, on ABCNews.go.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.
A high-ranking Vatican official recently voiced serious doubts about the need to reform the Roman Curia. Believe it or not, he said talk of reform was exaggerated.
“‘I personally can see no significant reason that would necessitate a reform of the Curia at the moment,’ the official said.
“‘One or two changes have been or will be made concerning personnel or structures, but that is part of the normal run of things,’ he continued.
“‘To speak of ‘Curia reform’ is, with all due respect, somewhat of an exaggeration,’ he maintained.
“This wasn’t just any official. It was Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the papal household. He’s the same one who is the private secretary and housemate of the former pope, Benedict XVI.”
By Robert Mickens, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this column.
The Roman Catholic Church is opposing efforts in New York to allow sex abuse accusers to file lawsuits after the statute of limitations has expired, warning of dire financial consequences if the state allows plaintiffs to sue decades after the purported abuse occurred.
“Currently in New York, victims of child sex abuse have until five years after they turn 18 to file a lawsuit. The same statute of limitations applies to most child sex crimes.
“A bill pending in the state Assembly would eliminate the statute of limitations on abuse cases going forward — and create a one-year window to allow anyone to file lawsuits no matter when the abuse occurred. Supporters gathered Wednesday in Albany to push for the bill.”
By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.
When news broke Tuesday (Apr. 21) of Bishop Robert Finn’s resignation as head of the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese, a primary question asked: Did he step down on his own, or was he forced out?
“The announcement from the Vatican published in its daily bulletin said Pope Francis accepted Finn’s resignation ‘in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.’ Canon 401.2 reads: ‘A diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office.’
“While it’s possible the Vatican requested Finn resign, neither the announcement nor canon 401.2 offer clear evidence to that, according to four canon lawyers who spoke to NCR.”
By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Bishop Finn finally pays the price for misusing power and placing church secrecy ahead of the safety of area children / The Kansas City Star
The departure of Robert W. Finn as bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, although overdue, is a step forward for the diocese and thousands of area Catholics.
“Finn’s conduct in office made him a symbol of the Catholic church’s failure to adequately address child sexual abuse by priests. He was the first Catholic bishop to be convicted of a crime related to that crisis.”
Editorial in The Kansas City Star — Click here to read the rest of this editorial
Marie Collins of the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors was the featured speaker April 18 at the Voice of the Faithful 2015 National Assembly.
The Vatican’s special commission on clergy sexual abuse has given Pope Francis a proposal on how to punish bishops who failed to protect minors from sexual abuse by clergy under their oversight.
“Marie Collins, a member of the panel — formally known as the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors — and herself a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, said she couldn’t reveal details of the proposal, but that personally, she believes some bishops must be removed from office.
“Among those she cited was Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, convicted in 2012 of failing to report suspected child abuse to civil authorities.”
By Michael O’Loughlin, Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.
With Bishop Robert Finn’s resignation, which the Vatican announced today, Voice of the Faithful is more hopeful that bishops, at long last, might be held accountable for failing to report priests to criminal authorities when they are suspected of child abuse.
Although the Vatican used its usual “accept the resignation” in making this announcement about the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., bishop, the lack of praise for past service and failure to designate any new posting is what passes for a forced resignation in the Vatican, especially given Finn’s age. Most bishops with documented records of shielding abusers have been allowed to fill out their terms and retire at 75.
Former Bishop Finn, as have others, chose to ignore the mandated reporting required by the 2002 U.S. bishops’ charter for the protection of young people and local civil law, as well as moral obligations not only to protect children who had already fallen prey to clerics, but also to prevent potential exposure of other children to clergy abuse.
“Voice of the Faithful has long called for such bishops to be held accountable for covering up and enabling abuse and activities that endanger rather than support the faithful in their parish communities,” said Mark Mullaney, VOTF president.
Of note are Finn’s activities even as his tenure at the diocese began in 2005. According to National Catholic Reporter, Finn dismissed several lay diocesan leaders, canceled the diocese’s nationally recognized lay formation programs, forced through budget cuts the closure of the diocese’s Center for Pastoral Life and Ministry and appointed someone with no formal theological training to oversee adult catechesis and lay formation.
Pope Francis, in contrast to such activities, has said frequently that he values lay input, sees no place in the priesthood for abusers and desires bishops to be held accountable.
“VOTF prays that this resignation signals a new willingness to remove those bishops who still choose to hide suspected abuse rather than address it,” Mullaney said. “We are hopeful the mistaken appointment of Bishop Barros in Chile will soon become a second marker of accountability.”
Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.
U.S. Bishop Robert Finn, the Catholic prelate in the U.S. heartland who became a symbol internationally of the church’s failures in addressing the sexual abuse crisis, has resigned. He was the first bishop criminally convicted of mishandling an abusive priest yet remained in office for another two and a half years.
“The Vatican announced Finn’s resignation as head of the diocese of St. Joseph-Kansas City, Mo., in a note in its daily news bulletin Tuesday (Apr. 21).”
By Joshua J. McElwee, Brian Roewe, Dennis Coday, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.