Priest Gets 50 Years for Child Porn - Bishop Who Knew Remains Bishop
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 07:24:58 AM EST
Earlier this year I wrote that the credibility of the new Pope may depend on how he lives up to his claim of having a zero tolerance policy regarding child sex abuse.
What measure of tolerance shall we say that the Pope is giving to Bishop Robert Finn, who was convicted over a year ago of failing to report suspected child abuse by a priest under his authority and still leads the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri?  A federal judge deemed the child porn charges of which pedophile priest Fr. Shawn Ratigan was convicted to be so serious that he sentenced Ratigan to 50 years in prison.

I am one of those Catholics who has been cheered by the new pope's refreshing tone and his embracing of tolerance and humility. Indeed, his comments about the Church's recent obsession with culture war issues may have pulled the rug out from under the Republican Party Auxiliary we generally call the Catholic Right. His recent statements clearly indicate that he may lead the Church to an approach to economic and social justice that transcends Roman Catholicism and embraces the entire world.

But the longer he waits to act on the problem of sex abuse in the Church, the greater the risk that the good will he has earned, and the hope he has given to many millions of Catholics (and non-Catholics) will be lost.

Only the pope has the power to remove a Bishop. And the removal of Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri would be the perfect starting point to show the world that he will back up his words with deeds.

On its face, it ought to be a no-brainer.  Let's recall that the crimes of Bishop Finn resulted from his knowledge of the related crimes of Fr. Shawn Ratigan who pleaded guilty in Federal Court to four counts of producing child pornography and one count of attempted production of child pornography. As I reported here and here, Bishop Finn had constructive knowledge of Ratigan's improper touching of young girls and possession of child pornography. Finn not only knew of, or had good reason to suspect Ratigan's crimes, but had he acted, he would have prevented other crimes against children under his pastoral care.

I've previously written that Bishop Finn, a darling of the American Catholic Right, must go.  But Finn has powerful friends.  The American Catholic Right is led by prominent neoconservatives and members of the secretive Catholic order, Opus Dei -- and Finn is one of their own. Finn is also revered as a culture warrior, par excellence -- having called on the Church to be "the Church militant."  

No matter who Finn's friends may be, Pope Francis -- who has prominently claimed that he stands with the poor and the vulnerable -- is faced with what may be the critical bellwether challenge and opportunity of his papacy.

Just click right here and here.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 07:34:20 AM EST
I signed the petition at the second link. The first one links to a Facebook page that hasn't been updated by the moderator since June 2011. I skimmed down the posts by others. They are all by the same person, who appears to be a troll. It is definitely not a page that I would "like."

by MLouise on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 08:58:27 AM EST

It may take a while to get Finn out.

by khughes1963 on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 04:50:25 PM EST

promoting Frank's excellent post in social media -- Facebook, Twitter, email -- whatever you've got -- will do far more good than an online petition to Finn asking him to resign.  

by Frederick Clarkson on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 05:14:22 PM EST

Considering I have heard nothing in this area in relation to the new pope is itself disturbing.

Wait and see but for how long? He could act tomorrow or at the end of his reign.

I wonder if the next pope will be Opus Dei? Or is this pope a dove with the heart of a snake?

by Nightgaunt on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 10:13:05 PM EST

Seems to me if Pope Francis does with Bishop Finn is extremely important as to his credibility and strength of purpose. I shall be watching to see if he really is all he claims to be.

by Nightgaunt on Sun Dec 14, 2014 at 11:37:37 PM EST

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