Posts Tagged Bishop Finn
Roman Catholic Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful wrote today to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Review Board, which oversees the Church’s child protection policies, declaiming its distress that disgraced Bishop Robert Finn will preside at ordinations this month in his former diocese. In doing so, we add our voices to those of SNAP and other organizations that believe public support for abuse survivors and endorsement of strong child protection policies is essential for the Church.
Here is the text of the letter:
Dear NRB Members,
Voice of the Faithful urges you, as the office charged with ensuring the protection of children, to speak out immediately on the recent that Bishop Robert Finn, who recently resigned from the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, is scheduled to confer ordinations there later this month.
Bishop Finn, as you no doubt know, was convicted three years ago for the crime of failing to report the discovery of child pornography on the computer of a priest in his diocese. Despite that conviction, Bishop Finn was permitted to attend USCCB meetings. No other bishop publicly criticized his presence, and only when the Vatican announced his removal was there any consequence to his public failure to observe the 2002 Dallas Charter requirements or the laws protecting children in Missouri.
To have Bishop Finn preside at ordinations sends a compelling signal to the Faithful of cronyism and coverup, of clerical preference at the expense of a strong commitment to protecting children. Bishop Finn, who by his conviction is no longer legally eligible to teach children, does not embody the qualities needed for leaders and teachers of the faith and surely should not be in the position of ordaining future pastors and spiritual guides.
In the name of abuse survivors and our children and grandchildren, we pray you speak out against this misguided plan to have Bishop Finn confer ordinations. Your message would be a significant demonstration that it’s not “business as usual” for the coverup of child sex abuse. If you fail to act, the message delivered instead is that “courtesy” to bishops matters more to the USCCB than its own promises about protecting children from sex abuse.
Mark Mullaney, President
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.
“The first U.S. Catholic bishop criminally charged in the decades-long clergy sex abuse crisis was found guilty Thursday of one misdemeanor count of failing to report a priest known to be in possession of lewd images of children.” By Joshua L. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter