Support the Café

Search our Site

RC bishop steps down; was convicted of mishandling clergy sexual abuse

RC bishop steps down; was convicted of mishandling clergy sexual abuse

The National Catholic Reporter, reporting on the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn, notes that he was the first bishop to be convicted of criminal charges in the mishandling of clergy sexual abuse in the US, failing to report the suspicion abuse of children by a now-former priest who had been creating child pornography. The NCR report describes as rare the resignation of a bishop before the retirement age of 75. The 62-year-old Bishop Robert Finn would have celebrated his tenth anniversary in the Catholic Diocese of St Joseph-Kansas City, Missouri, next month.

Tuesday’s Vatican note read: “The Holy Father Francis has accepted the resignation from the pastoral government of the diocese of St. Joseph-Kansas City, Mo. (U.S.A.) presented by His Excellency Msgr. Robert W. Finn.”

The announcement cites the portion in the Code of Canon Law that states that a 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.”

Despite his conviction, suspended two-year sentence, and a diversion compliance agreement entered into in order to avoid similar charges in another county according to the NCR, Finn remained at his post in the face of opposition, petitions to the Vatican for his removal, and division in the diocese, until today.

The full details of how Finn and the Kansas City diocese responded to reports about Ratigan’s behavior became part of the public record in 2012.

As part of the nonjury trial at which Finn was found guilty of failing to report suspected child abuse, both the prosecutors and defense lawyers submitted a set of 69 mutually agreed-upon facts that formed a timeline of the diocese’s handling of the Ratigan case.

Many more details are covered in the NCR story, “US Bishop Finn, symbol of church’s failure on sexual abuse, resigns.”

Posted by Rosalind Hughes



Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
David Murray

TEC should be thankful that we are clear of membership within the RC church. Pending further developments (within the US and other nations), there maybe further troubles for the RC power structure over the clear and widespread sexual abuse of children.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café