Posts Tagged Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph
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
KC priest criticizes prosecution of Bishop Robert Finn, and prosecutor fires back / The Kansas City Star
As the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese tries to move past the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn, a priest has roiled the waters with a letter alleging that the criminal charges against Finn were politically motivated.
“The prosecutor who filed the case, Jean Peters Baker, this week responded with a strongly worded letter of her own.”
By Judy L. Thomas, The Kansas City Star — Click here to read the rest of this story.
The resignation of Robert Finn as bishop of the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., is a bitter but necessary moment of reckoning for leaders of the Catholic church if they hope to begin to deal seriously with their long betrayal of the community’s trust.
“Let’s be clear that this is only a beginning. Finn was removed for cause, we have been told. Finn was criminally convicted for failing to report Fr. Shawn Ratigan, who ultimately pleaded guilty to possessing and producing child pornography. Ratigan received a 50-year prison sentence.
“Finn also violated the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, commonly called the Dallas Charter, which the U.S. bishops themselves wrote to guide their response to the violation of children by clergy.”
Editorial by National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this editorial.
A Catholic bishop normally governs pretty much unchecked in his diocese — only the pope can dislodge a bishop. And each time Catholics celebrate Mass in Kansas City, Mo., they pray for Bishop Robert Finn, right after they pray for Pope Francis.
“But some Catholics here, like Deacon David Biersmith, refuse to go along.
“‘When the priest says that, you know, you’re supposed say it with him, but I just leave that out,’ Biersmith says. ‘I just don’t say it. Because he’s not my bishop, as far as I’m concerned.’
“Much of the discontent in Kansas City has to do with an incident four years ago. A computer technician found hundreds of lewd photos of young girls on a priest’s laptop. The priest was Shawn Ratigan, and it wasn’t the first sign that he was a pedophile.”
By Frank Morris, National Public Radio — Click here to read or listen to the rest of this report.
News yesterday (Sept. 29) that the Vatican is investigating Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, first reported by Joshua McElwee of the National Catholic Reporter, is potentially a prelude to the most significant step Pope Francis may ever take with regard to the church’s child sexual abuse scandals…
“What would be new in the Finn case, if he’s removed or otherwise sanctioned, is that a bishop would be held accountable not for the crime of sexual abuse, but for the cover-up, meaning failure to respond appropriately when someone else under his supervision is accused.”
By John L. Allen, Jr., The Boston Globe associate editor for Catholic news, on Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Kansas City is still waiting for the bishop and the Catholic diocese to do the right thing / The Kansas City Star
The only reassuring news to come out of an arbitrator’s recent finding against the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph is that its Victim Advocacy Program, created in 2008 in response to the priest abuse scandal, is operating well.
“But every other conclusion of the arbitrator — upheld last week by Jackson County Circuit Judge Bryan Round — brought shame to the diocese and provided more than enough reasons for Bishop Robert W. Finn, already convicted of a misdemeanor, to resign.
“In ordering the diocese to pay $1.1 million for violating its agreement with sex abuse victims, arbitrator Hollis Hanover was blunt: ‘Where they (the victims) expected protection, they received desertion; where the assertion of authority on their behalf was required, they received betrayal.’
“He also said he hopes ‘that I am dead wrong in my opinion that this Diocese as presently constituted will not mend its ways.’
“Everyone hopes that. But there’s little reason for optimism.”
Editorial in The Kansas City Star – Click here to read the rest of this editorial.
According to The New York Times, an arbitrator’s ruling could set precedent in holding the Catholic Church accountable for promises to protect children, and the arbitrator also wrote that the diocese “was and is constitutionally incapable of placing the preservation and protection of the clergy culture in a subordinate position to any other consideration, including the timely reporting of a priest involved in the use of diocesan children as pornography models.”
A Roman Catholic diocese in Missouri has been ordered to pay $1.1 million to victims of sexual abuse for breaking its promises on improving the way it deals with abuse cases.
“An arbitrator ruled that the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph is responsible for damages after concluding that, contrary to a prior agreement, it did not promptly report a priest who had taken hundreds of pornographic photographs of young girls, according to a filing in circuit court in Jackson County, Mo …
“Lawyers said the arbitrator’s ruling could provide a template for other victims of sexual abuse across the country who have reached settlements with the Catholic Church but feel church officials have not lived up to their assurances that they would improve procedures to stem abuse …
“Hollis Hanover, the arbitrator, wrote in the court filing that he believed the diocese ‘was and is constitutionally incapable of placing the preservation and protection of the clergy culture in a subordinate position to any other consideration, including the timely reporting of a priest involved in the use of diocesan children as pornography models.’”
By Julie Bosman, The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this story.
A group of Roman Catholics in Kansas City, Mo., and a priest with expertise in canon law petitioned Pope Francis this week (Feb. 14) to take disciplinary action against Bishop Robert W. Finn, who was convicted in 2012 of failing to report a priest who was an active pedophile.”
By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this story.