Tuesday, April 21, 2015


It may be an over correction, but to recover the lost credibility of the episcopate in light of the abuse scandal, bishops must be held accountable as the root of the scandal must be placed at their feet:

CNN: Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn, who was convicted of failure to report suspected child abuse in 2012, the Vatican said today.

Finn led the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri. At the time of his conviction, he was the highest-ranking Catholic official to be convicted during the church's long sexual abuse scandal.

John Allen has more on this at CRUX.


Anonymous said...

Yes, "means business" in using any available pretext, however trumped up, to get rid of bishops who are faithful to tradition.

But I would not advise anyone to hold his breath waiting for the forced resignation of any of the many "progressive" bishop who are actually guilty of fostering clerical sex abusers.

Anonymous said...

Meantime in Belgium.....
And Mahoney.....

Franciscans of the Immaculate are still being pulverized

And still no one can see the writing on the wall

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

People are making this out to be conservatives get pulverized and progressives don't.

If Pope Francis removes his own appointee from Chile, we will know that he's gotten a message from his very own abuse committee many of whom abhor this perplexing appointment.

Cardinal Mahoney is not an active bishop. He is retired. He hasn't been charged with anything, let alone convicted, in civil court. But I agree, he needs to be silenced by the Vatican. His handling of the sex abuse scandal in Los Angeles is more shocking than that of Cardinal Law in Boston.

I think there isn't a bishop anywhere in the country, appointed before the Dallas Charter that doesn't have skeletons in his closet in terms of how he handled priests charged with sex abuse.

Those who did silly things after the charter, like Bishop Finn, need to worry more and I hope there is accountability for them.

At the same time, I'm not sure how Pope Francis' mercy figures into this if as people say, he wants to give it without repentance and a firm purpose of amendment. Maybe they are misreading Pope Francis and in the process maligning His Holiness.

Православный физик said...

Being from Los Angeles, I have a slightly different take on the "previous regime" in LA....He did break the law, he got away with it, virtually everyone in LA is a liberal....he isn't called Roger the Dodger without cause ;)...

As for this situation, the good Bishop didn't shield anyone, he did report him, the only crime was probably trusting his vicar general too much.

But as long as the double standard exists within the Church we'll get no where....

So far, mercy only applies if one is "liberal" if one is conservative or traditional, one gets crucified...see +Oliveri, +Livieres, now +Finn...I'd love to say everyone's being treated equally, but I have to agree with Henry and Anon.

The liberals were after +Finn from day 1, and they have succeeded finally.

Anonymous said...

I would bet 1,110,110% that his successor will be in the same vein as Cupic or the new bishop of San Diego.

If you think this same thing can't/won't happen to Cordoleone then think again! Something will be pegged on him.

Meanwhile we have Bishop Johan Bonny in Belgium advocating for SSM, most of the German hierarchy in heresy if not outright schism...and who does Francis invite to be a special person at the upcoming synod....? Cardinal Danieels of Belgium, arguable to the most liberal prelate in the Church.

Ignoring it is the human equivalent of an ostrich sticking it's head in the sand...

Anonymous said...

Gosh Father, from the tone of your headline, I get the impression that somehow you are impressed by this. You know darned well that Bishop Finn did NOTHING wrong and that this is just one more instance of angry progressives badgering the Vatican to get rid of the the Catholic restoration. If anything, we should feel sorry for the faithful Catholics in his diocese who are going to get some mediocre relic of the 70's as a replacement.

What next? Will you be celebrating when Archbishop Cordileone gets the shaft?

I usually agree with you Father, but in this case I am not just in disagreement, I am disappointed in you.

"Means Business" my foot! Is that why the Franciscans of the Immaculate are being destroyed? Is that why he's standing behind Bishop Barros in Chile, even thought the majority of people don't want him and he clearly witnessed abuse?


Anonymous said...

I've got to agree with both anonymous' above Father. Usually I agree with you and I love ya but I've got to say I'm disappointed in you as well. Would you have praised Archbishop Nienstadt being yanked too?

rcg said...

Whoa, folks! I agree it looks like there are different standards for bishops according to their politics, but there is more to it than that. Finn messed up by his own admission. I think his timing was as much of a problem as anything: what he did was standard procedure a while back. But it was no longer acceptable when he did it.

Also, the Keith Cardinal O'Brian was vastly further Left, resisted his punishment, and was publicly smacked down for it.

So, I do not think there have been two standards.

CPT Tom said...

I sadly have to agree. As much as I approve of Bishop Finn's orthodoxy, he screwed up. Now, that isn't to say there are other bishops who also deserve the same fate or worse, but that's outside of this. In fact Bishop Finn is being a stand-up guy and he RESIGNED for the good of the Church. This is an honorable man who has fallen on his sword, and did NOT force a Cardinal O'Brien situation. The Diocese of Kansas City - Saint Joseph has enough problems without that kind of distraction and scandal. Just wish more bishops would be selfless and humble to do this.

CPT Tom said...

Now If the Pope wants to impress me with his Mercy, he will deliver the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate from the purgatory that he had a hand in creating. They do not deserve the humiliation they have had forced on them.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

There have been some comments about other bishops asked to resign, two in particular, one in S. America and the other in Italy. Both of these situations, the one in S. America, had a very serious case of a priest the bishop hired who had a notorious record of abuse in this country and the one in Italy has had some issue with perverted priests he has surrounded himself with.

The Franciscans of the Immaculate is another case where we only know what the media tells us and for the most part a biased Catholic blog media that has an ax to grind.

I know I have dealt with personnel issues where I had to let someone go and I was the bad guy because I could not say what the background information was that I alone was privileged.

With the Franciscans, there had to be problems that were very serious that we don't know about and might not ever know.

CPT Tom said...

Father, I'm not sure it's that easy. I've dealt with personnel issues too. If there were such bad problems with the FFI, there should have been a public accounting considering some of the other spectacular scandals (Legionaries of Christ come to mind, the founder having two wives, etc.) that were detailed and spelled out in public, there better be a very serious reason not to give a public accounting of what the FFI were guilty of to justify the harsh (and they have been harsh) measures that have been imposed.

After looking at what the Vatican put out there and also the information on BOTH sides, I have concluded that the new Pontiff either over reacted, was misled, or people took the decision as an opportunity to settle grudges. Either way an order that was growing quickly, healthy and from all the FFI I have encountered, very loyal to the Church has been humiliated and punished harshly. It belays the Pope's countenance of mercy and tolerance.

I really don't know what to make of it, and I am not to the point to just assume "where there is smoke there is fire."

It is my sincerest hope that the mess is sorted out soon, as there are Friars who I have great respect for who have been living the nightmare for the past year without an end in site.

Anonymous said...

"With the Franciscans, there had to be problems that were very serious that we don't know about and might not ever know."

I disagree only on one point. I think we all know precisely what was the problem with the Franciscans of the Immaculate. Given the brutal treatment they have received, some of it gratuitous and way beyond any bound of charity, any suggestion of alleged but unknown serious problems ... well, fails the smell test.

As a southern Catholic who grew up when there was still overt anti-Catholic prejudice in the Protestant South, I still feel that an instinctive defensive "see no evil, hear no evil" posture however obvious it is, denigrates rather than supports a healthy confidence in the institution of the papacy.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Henry, Pope Francis has not investigated the FSSP and may well be the pope to make regular with the Church the FSSXP.

Time will tell. My clairvoyance tells me there is more the the Franciscan debacle than what meets the eye. I could be wrong and you are right that Pope Francis is on a witch hunt. Somehow I don't think so.

rcg said...

FrAJM, the hierarchy has frittered away its credibility that would support trusting the suppression of the Franciscans. Conversely, I am not sure what the old guard would have done with the bishops back in 1953 contrasted with now. I think the answer may lie in the opening of the Salarian Gate in 1968 by a well coordinated and almost unimaginably large group. The clergy were unable to police themselves privately in those days and the decades leading up to those days so while that failure is different than the sexual abuse scandal in type and scope the disinterest in enforcing fidelity that caused the failure is consistent between the two era. So today's Traditionalists are actually more progressive in the specific change they desire to see in accountability for everyone in the Church. Bishop Finn did what any bishop should do in those circumstances and especially a traditional leaning bishop. I consider that action to be a validation of the traditional mindset. Unfortunately trust is not a plan to fix the problems the Church faces.

Cletus Ordo said...

Excerpt from

As soon as a dubious photograph was found on Fr. Ratigan's computer, a Church official did speak with a police captain.
Multiple media reports have given the false impression that the diocese did "nothing" after a computer technician found a dubious photograph of an underage girl on Ratigan’s computer in December 2010.
Unfortunately, the police captain, upon given a description of the photograph over the phone, opined to Msgr. Murphy that the picture likely did not fit the definition of child pornography and would not be prosecutable.
The mistake – obviously – is that the diocese still should have immediately removed Ratigan from ministry and filed a police report anyways.

Fr. Ratigan worked at a parish with a school. The school's principal and teachers appear to have violated Missouri's mandated reporting law, yet prosecutors have declined to prosecute them. Instead, Kansas City prosecutors have targeted the higher profile target of Bishop Finn.
The principal of the school, Julie Hess, wrote in a May 2010 letter of concern to the diocese (handled by Monsignor Robert Murphy) that the priest was "at school every day for long periods of time."
Principal Hess' letter also outlined page after page of "inappropriate conduct with children" by Ratigan and suspicious photography of vulnerable children by the priest.
Missouri's law is clear: If teachers and school principals have "reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been or may be subjected to abuse or neglect or observes a child being subjected to conditions or circumstances which would reasonably result in abuse or neglect, that person shall immediately report or cause a report to be made to [the state's Children's Division]." The state adds, "Reasonable cause to suspect means a standard of reasonable suspicion, rather than conclusive proof." Failing to report is a Class A misdemeanor in Missouri.

It certainly appears that if Principal Hess and teachers at St. Patrick had immediately fulfilled their legal duty to report "reasonable suspicion" of abuse to the state, Fr. Ratigan's sick actions could have been stopped in their tracks much earlier.
Yet prosecutors have not criminally charged any single school official or teacher for their apparent failure to report to the state. Why? Could it be that prosecuting a Catholic bishop yields a bigger "splash" and a higher profile for the region's law enforcement? It is not an unreasonable question.

Criminal charges of "failing to report" are rarely executed, and it is even more rare that they are prosecuted. And despite the vehement denials from law enforcement in Kansas City that it has not singled out the Catholic Church, it sure seems like it has.

Missouri law enforcement hardly had to lift a finger in this case. It was the diocese who handed over a flash drive to police – albeit too slowly – with criminal images from Fr. Ratigan's computer.
Without the initiative and actions of Bishop Finn, Father Ratigan could still be in ministry today, and prosecutors would not have charged the criminal priest.

Django said...

When I look at what Bishop Cordileone is putting up with and what Bishop Finn has been forced to do and what is going on with solid traditional bishops around the world, I cannot help but wonder: What kind of masochistic nut would WANT to be a bishop in this atmosphere?

Is it any wonder that so many of our bishops are just smily, airbrushed empty "company men" of little or no substance? Anyone with an ounce of sense would flee from such a thankless position.

Think about this the next time your bishop sends out an appeal. Think about this the next time you see them all sitting in the ballroom of a five-star hotel for their semiannual meeting: Your collection dollars at work.

Anonymous said...

Catholics in Argentina have reported that when a bishop was caught on video with a rent boy in a public place, one priest who spoke out about it from the pulpit was immediately sacked by Cardinal Bergoglio. So the Pope's own record is not without blemish ...


Rood Screen said...


That brings us to the heart of the greatest issue facing the Church today. While powerful forces within and without the Church work hard to pit mercy against repentance, faithful Christians must demonstrate repentance as the prerequisite for mercy, and mercy as the required response to repentance. It is not an act of mercy to ignore the sins of the unrepentant, and it is not Christian to withhold mercy from those who do repent.

Anonymous said...

I was looking at a news story from a Kanas City-St. Joseph TV station ( about Finn wherein, dissenting, fallen away Catholics apparently despised him for "living in the past" while the practicing Catholics had strong praise for him, including the fact that the seminary is full thanks to him. However, this comment from one reader, a Robert Drumm, is most telling:

"You have to look pretty hard to find a Catholic that supports Bishop Finn. Why? Because powerful people in Kansas City have manipulated the media the paint a good man into a demon. The narrative they constructed has been loud and constant, and these powerful people even managed to get a court to go along with them. Great tactics. Worthy of Lenin, Goebbels, Alinsky or the other master propagandists of the 20th century. But while volume, repetition, and a show trial may sway the uninformed, they do not make something false into something true.

"Finn was an activist against pornography, personally devout, and committed to cleaning up the terrible mess Boland and his predecessors left here. He appointed faithful Catholics to key positions...not dissidents who subscribe to the National Catholic Reporter. He recruited and ordained a couple dozen priests who teach what the Church has always taught (with dozens more in the seminary pipeline) . And in the case of Ratigan (BTW, ordained by Boland, a Bishop fondly remembered by those who orchestrated this shambles), Finn acted prudently: removed him from parish work immediately, did a legal check to to see if it was an obligatory reporting situation (which he was told it wasn't), and restricted his activities. Then Finn investigated further when Ratigan caused more trouble. Then something reportable turned up, and what happened? FINN HAD HIM REPORTED.

"Alas, Finn was politically naive and he was (unwisely) hesitant to fight back. It is lamentable that he agreed to plead guilty personally, thinking he would protect the Church and diffuse the situation. Now all you hear it "convicted, convicted, convicted" in the media. No MSM mention of the real facts, much less the plea bargain and the reasons for it. It's calumny. Absolute calumny. His REAL mistakes were not treating his enemies, and the enemies of the Church, as what they were, and not boldly calling all Catholics to aggressively fight back against the persecution that is underway against the Church."

Anonymous said...

Fr Z has a lot of concise backstory on this going back several years if you search "Finn".