Father Robert W. Finn is bishop of the Kansas City-St. Joseph archdiocese. He is also, according to today’s New York Times, an outspoken theological conservative.
And he’s a protector of at least one child abuser. That child abuser’s name is Father Shawn Ratigan. Here’s the New York Times:
Bishop Finn acknowledged that he knew of the [child pornography] photographs [taken by Father Shawn Ratigan] last December  but did not turn them over to the police until May . During that time, the priest, the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, is said to have continued to attend church events with children, and took lewd photographs of another young girl.
Six months of concealment. Can you believe it?
Father Finn, rather than immediately reporting Father Ratigan to the police, did the following:
Bishop Finn sent Father Ratigan to live in a convent and told him to avoid contact with minors. But until May the priest attended children’s parties, spent weekends in the homes of parish families, hosted an Easter egg hunt and presided, with the bishop’s permission, at a girl’s First Communion, according to interviews with parishioners and a civil lawsuit filed by a victim’s family.
And what will be Father Finn’s punishment for his barf-bag level behavior?
He’s being charged by the county prosecutor with one misdemeanor count. No felony child endangerment. No felony of any sort at all. Just a misdemeanor that carries a potential $1000 fine.
And is the bishop repentant? No. He plans to fight the misdemeanor charge.
And his church, which is supposed to be a representative of Christ on earth, shows no signs it intends to discipline him in any substantial way.
Can you imagine?
How anyone could ever leave his or her children unsupervised around any Catholic priest anywhere in the world is beyond me.
And, given the Catholic Church’s ongoing and flagrant criminality under Pope Joseph Ratinger, Johann Hari’s call for his arrest continues to ring true:
Bishop Finn is the epitome of prelates who enable abuse: they love the institutional church (Vatican, hierarchy) more than they love the Ecclesia (the church in the pews, the real people, real children).
Such prelates ignore (thus enable) abuse lest it “scandalize” the institutional church. It is not surprising that Finn is among them, given his fundamentalist, Opus Dei theology which places the supremacy of Roman authority above all else.
If you want to see what God has to say about such religious prelates, read Ezekiel 34 and Matt 23.
PS: It’s grossly simplistic and unfair to paint all priests with a broad brush. Fewer than 3% of priests abused children over a 50 year period. My heart aches for the innocent children, and for the 97% of priests who are also innocent.
By saying I would never let my kids around a Catholic priest unsupervised, I mean no disrespect of most Catholic priests. I actually have a friend who is a Catholic priest. For that matter, I wouldn’t leave any male past puberty alone and unsupervised around small children. I except, of course, adult fathers with their biological children.
But, because pedophiles are institutionally protected within the Catholic church, they pose an unusual danger: the pope has sent clear signals that they can get away with things if caught, and this emboldens them to game the consequences of their getting caught, and to try things they might not dare if they knew that severe punishments would be sure, swift, and permanent.
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