A place for Catholics who don't find their Catholic identity in the standard definitions.
"He drew a circle that shut me out.
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in."
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Will Bishop Finn Exchange His Purple Clericals For An Orange Jump Suit?
It is entirely possible that the Holy Spirit is calling Bishop Finn to a less ostentatious prison ministry.
Finally a Roman Catholic Bishop is held accountable for hiding the truth. The following editorial is from the Kansas City Star.
The Star’s editorial | Bishop Finn and KC-St. Joseph Diocese face disturbing charges
The grand jury indictment of Bishop Robert Finn on Friday sends the right message to the Catholic Church’s hierarchy: Authorities will target not only alleged perpetrators of child abuse, but those who reportedly fail in their legal obligation to protect children.
Finn faces a misdemeanor charge of failing to report suspected abuse of a child by a priest. He is the highest-ranking Catholic official to be criminally charged in a case involving child abuse.
The distressing picture that overshadows this case, as well as so many others across the nation and in Europe, is of a Catholic Church more interested in protecting priests than the young abuse victims who trusted them. That cannot be allowed to continue.
Also indicted was the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, charged with failure to report suspected child abuse. (Just goes to prove corporations are people too--and just as legally accountable.)
The indictments compound problems for the diocese’s reputation, wounded in 2008 when it reached a $10 million settlement with 47 plaintiffs who had alleged wrongdoing by a dozen priests or former priests. That payout should have resulted in a vigilant dedication to avoid more problems. (Which makes Finn's actions even more galling, since he signed off on this settlement.)
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker made the appropriate point Friday: “This is about protecting children.”
The misdemeanor charge against Finn should not be taken lightly, she said. Punishment of up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine are possible for Finn. The diocese faces up to a $1,000 fine, too. Finn and diocesan officials entered not guilty pleas.
The indictment alleges that Finn and the diocese had reasonable cause to suspect that a priest had been abusing children but did not report their suspicions to authorities as required by law.
Last December, diocese officials learned of pornographic images showing girls as young as 3 or 4 on a computer of Father Shawn Ratigan.
Ratigan — now facing state and federal child pornography charges — was sent to a mission house in Independence and ordered to have no contact with minors. According to a federal indictment, he disobeyed that order and allegedly tried to take pornographic pictures of a 12-year-old girl.
In a report last month, a diocese-commissioned investigation found that — in handling the Ratigan case — church officials failed to follow their own policies and procedures. Instead, they behaved in ways that “could have jeopardized” child safety. (Especially since part of that 'not following their own policies' involved keeping their own diocesan commission on sexual abuse out of the loop.)
This case has been a sorry comment on the church’s priorities and a challenge to its moral authority.
But the right message has been sent by the legal system. All are responsible to protect children.
Fromthe get go I felt this story of Bishop Finn and Fr Ratigan would result in charges against Finn and the Diocese of Kansas City-St Joseph. First because there was too much evidence that Finn was protecting Ratigan, and secondly, because part of the ten million dollar abuse settlement reached in 2008, signed by Finn, included pretty specific language about how future allegations would be handled by the Diocese. It truly makes me wonder about the mind set of Bishop Finn.
Now the people of Finn's Diocese will get to pay for his and the Diocese's defense attorneys on top of all the other legal bills they have had to foot. Fortunately for them, Ratigan has a Public Defender, so all the tax payers of Kansas City get to pay for Ratigan's defense not just Roman Catholics. Good thing too since Ratigan is facing both State and Federal charges for child porn distribution.
This morning I read the Federal charges against Ratigan in an attempt to get some feel for just what exactly he was photographing, in order to understand how Finn and company had trouble to determining whether any of it was pornographic. It's hard to understand how Finn and company could have determined these photos weren't child pornography. It's one thing to give someone the benefit of doubt, and quite another to give someone a free pass. Ratigan got a free pass, more than one actually, given the times and dates listed in his indictment.
The question the keeps circling in my mind is how in the world could this happen in this country almost ten years after Boston and after all the other exposure globally on this issue? How sick is this Catholic clerical system that it is in fact still protecting itself and it's prerogatives after a decade of the exposure of it's criminal activity? Does Finn symbolize the clerical mindset that thinks it is in some real way ontologically superior to the rest of humanity and not accountable to anyone other than themselves? I have come to the conclusion Finn and others like him, really do think they are in some way above the rest of us mere mortals, and that no matter how damaged a priest might be, the fact he is a priest completely changes the accountability parameters. It's pretty apparent that when it comes to priests there are no lay peers qualified to pass judgement on their behavior--- no matter what secular legal systems might believe.For Finn, the belief he acted on was that those secular legal systems could freely be ignored. The price for that kind of thinking could very well be his freedom and that would be a message heard round the clerical world. Finally.