Catholic World News

Support, criticism for Bishop Finn

October 26, 2011

The leader of a neighboring archdiocese has come to the defense of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, while a former member of the US bishops’ National Review board has suggested that other American prelates should quietly press for Bishop Finn’s resignation.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas—just across the river from Kansas City, Missouri—told the National Catholic Register that Bishop Finn’s indictment on child-endangerment charges is a highly unusual move:

I am not clear what the threshold of proof is for this charge. People in the legal community say there has to be some evidence of criminal intent. It’s not enough that the accused failed to report a suspicion in a timely fashion — he had to intend harm. From what I know, there is no possibly of that.

Archbishop Naumann pointed out that the diocese did eventually alert local police to the possibility that Father Shawn Ratigan had abused children, prompting the investigation that eventually resulted in the bishop’s indictment.

However Nicholas Cafardi, a Duquesne University law professor who served on the original National Review Board, told the National Catholic Reporter that Bishop Finn should quietly be asked to step down, in order to restore public confidence in the American bishops’ determination to address the sex-abuse scandal. “I think that the people to ask for his resignation are his fellow bishops,” Cafardi said.

In the course of his interview with the Register, Archbishop Naumann charged that the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is “only interested in fostering anger, and building a case against the Church, not serving the victims well.” The archbishop acknowledged that he was hesitant to make such a charge:

But I am saying what many bishops are thinking. They are afraid to say it because SNAP will set themselves up on their doorstep.

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  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Oct. 28, 2011 6:45 PM ET USA

    From the facts that I read, I think Bishop Finn should resign without being asked. If my children had been put at risk by this Bishop's negligence I would be on his doorstep, with or without SNAP. How long, O Lord, will we wait for accountability among the Bishops?

  • Posted by: - Oct. 27, 2011 9:31 AM ET USA

    Sure hope that dear Bishop Finn takes the advice of Archibshop Naumann and steers clear of the legal person, Cafardi! God bless B. Finn for his courageous stand on all issues of the true Faith.

  • Posted by: FredC - Oct. 26, 2011 5:49 PM ET USA

    Our taxpayer dollars are being spent to do the dirty work of SNAP and similar anti-Catholic organizations. If the millions and millions spent on settlements had been spent on lawyers instead, maybe good bishops would not be encountering cases like this.