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Bishop Finn apologizes for handling of priest’s cases

Catholic World News - June 07, 2011

Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City - St. Joseph has renewed his apology for the manner in which he handled allegations involving Father Shawn Ratigan, who has pled not guilty to child pornography charges.

“In mid December of 2010, I was told that a personal computer belonging to Fr. Shawn Ratigan was found to have many images of female children,” Bishop Robert Finn had said in a statement two weeks ago. “Most of these were images of children at public or parish events. I was told that there were also some small number of images that were much more disturbing, images of an unclothed child who was not identifiable because her face was not visible.”

“The very next day, we contacted a Kansas City, Missouri Police officer and described one of the more disturbing images,” Bishop Finn continued. “At the same time the diocese showed the images to legal counsel. In both instances we were told that, while very troubling, the photographs did not constitute child pornography as they did not depict sexual conduct or contact.”

In a new statement read at Masses throughout the diocese on June 5, Bishop Finn said that “these past few weeks all of us have endured the consequences of our human failure. The destructive sins of a few and the serious lapses in communication have caused us shame, anger, and confusion.”

“As bishop, I take full responsibility for these failures and sincerely apologize to you for them. Clearly, we have to do more. Please know that we have--and will continue to cooperate with all local authorities regarding these matters.”

In related news, a man who was preparing to become a deacon in the Kansas City diocese announced that he was abandoning his plans. Jim McConnell wrote to fellow parishioners to say that in light of the "inexcusable" breakdown in the diocesan oversight of clergy, "I cannot promise respect or obedience that is a part of the diaconate ordination."

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  • Posted by: Obregon - Jun. 08, 2011 2:22 AM ET USA

    Gee, will the "National Catholic Reporter" accept this apology at the same time that they never criticized the last Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles for doing worse, moving priests who were molesting children from parish to parish even though he knew what they had done?

  • Posted by: Ken - Jun. 07, 2011 7:12 PM ET USA

    Jim McConnell is the only respectable individual in this scandal - and he has no connection to the scandal itself. Bishop Finn - follow the lead of the honorable Mr. McConnell and resign from office.

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