5 lessons from the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn (ANALYSIS)

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Bishop Robert Finn, who resigned as head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., was the only U.S. bishop to plead guilty to failing to report the suspected abuse of a child. Bishop Finn is pictured in a 2014 photo at the Vatican. Photo by Paul Haring, courtesy of Catholic News Service

Bishop Robert Finn, who resigned as head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., was the only U.S. bishop to plead guilty to failing to report the suspected abuse of a child. Bishop Finn is pictured in a 2014 photo at the Vatican. Photo by Paul Haring, courtesy of Catholic News Service

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(RNS) No U.S. bishop had ever been forced from office for covering up for a predator priest. Until Finn.

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  • Betty Clermont

    First lesson: No bishop gets thrown under the bus until this pope needs another PR boost. The pope has been taking much deserved criticism for appointing Juan Barros as bishop in Chile after three victims of child abuse said Barros was complicit in their abuse and later covered it up. Not only did Chileans petition the pope not to appoint him, but there was a near riot during his installation mass.
    Second lesson: Sex abuse is not a conservative/liberal issue so the pope is safe in maintaining his perfect record with conservatives by not changing a thing since his election while his US bishops continue funding and directing the campaigns to obstruct Obamacare and same-sex marriage advances.

  • opheliart

    That’s not all the bishops are influencing, Betty.

  • Joe DeCaro

    It as the steps Finn didn’t take that alienated many Catholics in his diocese.

  • I SAY THIS AS A FORMER DEVOUT CATHOLIC:

    The church is a criminal organization.
    25,000 cases of pedophilia over 40 years
    and those are only the ones we know about!

    Everyone connected with the Catholic church is complicit in this evil if they have not done something to uncover and prosecute the criminal deeds of this gang of rapists.

    So far, POPE FRANCIS has protected CARDINAL BERNIE LAW, The kingpin of the Boston Priest Pedophile Network who lives in a fancy suite of rooms at the Vatican!

    May the church be abandoned and die off in disgrace and shame.

  • ben in oakland

    you should read a book by Karen Liebreich entitled “Fallen Order”. It’s a documented study showing the abuse, and the coverup by the bishops who knew about it.

  • Jens

    Yes there have been horrible clerics in the Church, about 1-2% of the clergy. I question what about the 5-12% of teachers in public schools?

  • Greg

    You are correct Jens, our media is quick to strike with venomous blows at the Catholic Church for the 1-2% of its priests who were involved in these heinous crimes, but continue to turn a blind eye to the same filthy trash that have done vile deeds in the Public School System USA. And yes, the percentage of bad priests pales in comparison to the same issue in the Public Schools.

  • Clarence

    Greg and Jens, you both would do well to use your favorite search engine on the phrase “two wrongs don’t make a right”. Furthermore, while those actions by persons in the school system are heinous, it is the priests who are claimed to be agents of a perfect god. Looks like your god can’t control his agents very well, or your god has a pretty poor sense of good and evil That’s some god ya got goin there…

    Get on it, boys! Go get that search engine revving… Jump on those keys!

  • Michael Glass

    Whether it’s Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Islamic, or other, religion is getting a bad press for very good reasons. Little wonder that the general public is turning away from religion in ever greater numbers.

  • Renfield

    From whence did you pull that five to 12 percent figure?

  • Mena

    I can’t help but wonder: is it possible for David Gibson to write anything that doesn’t end up being about ideology? Cardinal George dies, “Conservative” is all Gibson could see, in one word equating him with the likes of Burke. George was both/and, just like Catholicism. Now, “this is a blow to conservatives.” It might feel like victory to Gibson, but it comes off like spite and malice, and HOW DOES IT HELP? It doesn’t. Enough. Grow up. Stop with the pathetic, adolescent, divisive language of ideology which really does not apply! Gibson seems unable to help himself. It’s sad. And it makes for tiresome reading.

  • Religion must die off faster.

    Who needs these madmen in fancy outfits
    making empty claims about reality and taking advantage of poor people who don’t know better?

  • Greg

    Clarence, I should cite a scripture verse for you: “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?” Matt 7:3. What the Good Lord is saying here is equal measures for all. If you want to pick out the 1-2% of filthy priests/bishops in the Catholic Church, then you should cite the 10+% filth in the Public Schools. If it’s about the kids, then we should be broadcasting it ALL from the hilltops; if it’s only political gaming, then what we are getting should be ignored.

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  • pete

    dont you think priest and the rest of the clergy should be held to a more rigorous standard……Jesus did “to him who is given much, much is expected.” Paul did to “Dont you know that teachers will be judged more harshly.”

  • Joe Mirza

    Jens, you are spot on about the numbers and the disproportional number of priests sexually abusing their young flock and what seems like a daily revelation about 25 year old teachers sleeping with their 14 year old students.

    I respectfully point out that while the numbers don’t add up what is different is the modus operandi of the two governing institutions. When a teacher is found guilty of sexual misconduct they are immediately thrown to the law and legal officials, terminated and if not sent to prison compelled to register as sex offenders for life. When a priest has been accused, the Bishops immediately, as we have seen, obfuscate, prevaricate, shuffle the offender around and do a legal dance in order to protect themselves and the Church.

    We are in the greatest moral and spiritual crisis since the Protestant Reformation and to equate public school sex crimes with the criminal nature of the Church’s handling of the current scandal is, to say the least, oversimplifying.

  • DougSlug

    Jens — Although I would question your figures, I think the difference is that the public school system is not leveraging its centuries-old power over humanity to cover up and protect the criminals. It seems that when a teacher is found to be perpetrating abuse, the justice and public humiliation tends to be swift and sure. Besides the criminal acts themselves, it was the church’s policies of denial and protection that needed to be corrected.

  • DougSlug

    Right on, Max. I think you just wrote some great lyrics for a punk song there, too.

  • Fran

    False religion will be destroyed but truth will triumph in the end.

  • Clarence

    Greg, copy-pasta scripture doesn’t impress me one iota.

    Don’t be lazy. Do the search. Read up. On it, boy!

  • C737

    Fran it is your False Religion that is not of JEHOVAH that will bring you Hell on Earth in the end. You have only earthy hopes and no HEAVEN in your False Religion.

  • Greg

    Clarence, I have clearly and repeatedly said that any priest or bishop who has been involved in these despicable crimes, should be thrown in jail, and defrocked. Likewise, any Public School Teacher who has done the same needs to be fired and sent to jail. Your problem, however, is that in your mind apparently two wrongs don’t seem to equal two wrongs. And I will repeat: if we are doing this for the children, then ALL filthy dirty abusers need to be shamed publicly, fired, and sent to jail. And it doesn’t end with Public Schools, there are daycare centers, foster homes, reformatories, among others.

  • ben in oakland

    You left off, “WE MUST ALL REPENT!”

    Now my day is ruined.

  • Larry

    Then why are you making so many excuses for the scrutiny the church has drawn here? You bring up public schools simply to make phony claims that they are somehow worse in how such situations are handled. All done to make the Church’s abominable handling of the situation somehow more excusable or look less bad.

    If you had such categorical condemnation of child abuse, then you would not have tried to divert the conversation towards discussion of media portrayals or other institutions. You would address the issue on its own facts and not try such irrelevant arguments.

    “And it doesn’t end with Public Schools, there are daycare centers, foster homes, reformatories, among others.”

    And if the topic was them, it would be relevant to bring up abuse there. But in this article it is not. Your reference to them is simply a smokescreen and cheap excuses.

  • Greg

    Larry, I have never once attempted to justify any filthy priest or bishop regarding the sex abuse scandal. I have repeatedly said they are to be removed, and jailed. I only wish the press would be as open & accusing in ALL cases of pedophilia, in every quarter of society. The problem I have is the finger pointing is singly targeted. To me the sooner the slime is ousted from the Church, the better. But I don’t want these fools to just go to another place to do their dirty business. They need to be exposed, and wearing permanent ankle bracelets. The job of the press is to expose ALL, not just a select group.

  • Colorado Springs

    So, in your mind, you can say, “They did it too, and worse, and that’s your defense?” Compare the hierarchy to the world, and find the world wanting. What hypocrisy! Without the silent collusion of the priests and laypersons in positions of responsibility throughout the church, none of this could have happened.

  • marielle ross

    Shouldn’t Pope Francis be addressed as Pope Francis at all times, not just as Francis? I felt it was disrespectful in this article. Just sayin’.

  • Michael, in the past 10 years Catholicism has been growing more rapidly worldwide than the rate of world population growth.

  • I haven’t researched the latest figures, but two or three years ago it was published that the number of reported abuse cases by priests in the United States for 2010 was six. That, of course, is six too many, but it was also a tiny fraction of a percentage of priests in the USA. The quoted 2% or so relates to the height of clerical sexual abuse, which was 20 or more years ago.

  • Steve Stevenson

    I don’t even consider psychology a real science, but it’s obvious even to me that a person who seriously plans a celibate life is mentally bent.

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