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Cardinal O'Malley says Pope must take action on Bishop Finn

November 14, 2014

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Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley has told the CBS television program “60 Minutes” that the status of Kansas City’s Bishop Robert Finn-- who has been convicted of endangering children because of his failure to report abuse charges—is “a question that the Holy See needs to address urgently.”

Cardinal O’Malley, who heads a new Vatican commission on abuse, nodded silently when “60 Minutes” correspondent Norah O’Donnell remarked that Bishop Finn would not be allowed to teach religious-education classes under the rules of the Boston archdiocese. The cardinal said that Pope Francis is keenly aware of the problem.

Speaking about the work of his commission, the cardinal said:

One of the first things that came up was the importance of accountability, and we’re looking at how the Church can have protocols on how to respond when a bishop has not been responsible for protection of children in his diocese.

In September the National Catholic Reporter disclosed that the Vatican has conducted an apostolic visitation of Bishop Finn’s diocese, led by Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa. The results of that inquiry have not been disclosed.

The “60 Minutes” interview with Cardinal O’Malley is scheduled to air on November 16. The network has made an excerpt from that program available online.

In the interview, Cardinal O’Malley also comments on the Vatican’s inquiry into the work of American women’s religious orders, saying that it was “a disaster.”


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  • Posted by: sophia01 - Nov. 18, 2014 2:24 PM ET USA

    The campaign against Bishop Finn arises from "spirit of Vatican II" holdouts avid to crucify some orthodox bishop. Their hue and cry against Bishop Finn is ludicrous in a faction that could never bring themselves to criticize Abp Weakland. Nor Cardinal Mahony, under whom the Los Angeles archdiocese paid more millions to settle sex abuse suits than any diocese in history. Yet the cardinal still functions in that archdiocese, and National Catholic Reporter utters no complaint.

  • Posted by: filioque - Nov. 17, 2014 2:59 PM ET USA

    Now that we have seen Cardinal Sean on "60 Minutes," I have a one-word evaluation for him: "Shameful." He jumped the process that is already in train for Bishop Finn. He could not bring himself to defend the dogma that the Church does not have the power to ordain women, then admitted that in his church women would be ordained, thus preferring something other than what Christ established.

  • Posted by: daddy19545628 - Nov. 16, 2014 11:01 PM ET USA

    The law of the land should have no exceptions. Whether a Bishop in the Church or an CEO of a corporation. Sadly we all know justice may be blind, but the scales are being tampered with by politics. This tampering is in two corners Big corporations and Big Church. Our Pope seems to be addressing his corner methodically,he needs our prayers, as does our country. Church leaders need to stop grand standing in a skewed media establishment jockeying for recognition and turn their hearts to our Savior.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Nov. 15, 2014 11:48 PM ET USA

    The only thing that people will take away from this interview is the comment on Bishop Finn. Is this the future of the American Catholic hierarchy - to make public demands to the media that that Vatican investigate one another?

  • Posted by: filioque - Nov. 15, 2014 6:18 PM ET USA

    Can't Cardinal O'Malley let the process run its course? Will Bishop Finn get his 15 minutes on 60 Minutes? From what I have read, Bishop Finn was careless and perhaps not well-informed about his legal duty. Someone else,in a fair process, will have to judge whether that warrants removal. It doesn't help to have Cardinal O'Malley jump in. And the investigation of the LCWR was long overdue. Their response has justified the conclusions. I hope the Cardinal has specifics to justify his comment.

  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Nov. 15, 2014 1:20 PM ET USA

    We're looking at "how the Church can have protocols on how to respond when a bishop has not been responsible for protection of children in his diocese." All for it! Sounds eminently reasonable. But how about protection of the Eucharist? In any sequence of events, I think that should come first.

  • Posted by: shrink - Nov. 14, 2014 5:05 PM ET USA

    I believe that this is a first. An American Cardinal-Prelate, O'Malley, calling publicly for the head of a fellow American Bishop, Finn. O'Malley is not exactly presenting a profile in courage, however. His target is easy pickins. Bigger game would have been Mahoney (LA), or Weakland (Milwaukee), or Imesch (Joliet), or Clark (Rochester). My favorite trophy would have been Welsh (Spokane), but he was quietly bagged before O'Malley was installed as bishop in Fall River.

  • Posted by: 1Jn416 - Nov. 14, 2014 4:00 PM ET USA

    So odd. Finn was wrong, to be sure. But what he neglected to do pales in comparison with what so many bishops actively did. What of Cardinal O'Malley's predecessor, who might be in prison if he had not fled the U.S. to live out his days in Rome? Will the Holy Father send Cdl. Law back to the US? Will Cdl. Mahoney ever face proper justice? What of non-retired bishops who covered up for abusers? Bishop Finn is on the chopping block only because a prosecutor made an example of him.