You've all heard this already, I assume. I just felt compelled to point it out because Bishop Finn is such a hero to conservative and traditionalist types:
The Bishop of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese admitted that he mishandled a child porn investigation involving a metro priest.So the guy is sent a letter by the principal of one of his parish schools, and apparently can't be bothered to read it personally (this isn't a huge archdiocese, mind you, it's a diocese of only 86 parishes!) But, apparently, a summary mentioning concerns about people getting a creepy vibe from a priest around children...is dismissed as unconcerning.
Bishop Robert Finn admitted that he had not read the full letter from the principal of St. Patrick's Catholic School expressing her concerns about Father Shawn Ratigan and his behavior around children, even though the principal sent the letter a year ago.
In the letter, the principal pointed out a number of instances where parents and teachers found it inappropriate that Ratigan took so many pictures with kids and appeared to be a little too touchy feely with kids.
Ratigan, 45, is in the Clay County Jail on child pornography charges.
Bishop Finn says that his number two person read the letter and summarized it for him in May of 2010. In December, Finn says that he learned about disturbing images of a naked girl on Ratigan's computer, but he still didn't ask police to investigate until just a few weeks ago.
"In hindsight, we should have turned the pictures to police in December, we should've take the same action in December that we ended up taking in May," said Finn, who refused to say if he would resign and in fact left the room while reporters were still asking questions.
Finn did tell FOX 4 that he should have reported to police in December about Ratigan's suicide attempt at his Independence apartment, and his suicide note that expresses sorrow for any harm he caused children.
Finn says he now promises to change reporting procedures, even though that's what the church already promised to do in 2008 when it settled a sex abuse lawsuit.
So far, maybe forgivable. Can we really start investigating every case of someone "feeling" creepy? Maybe he's just trying to be sociable in an immature or bumbling way, though that itself raises questions about his competence to be a priest. You should still look into it somehow, have a talk with the guy at least, but with no concrete evidence there isn't much you can do and I'm not sure we can always make "weird vibes" the highest priority lest a witch-hunt emerge.
But. Any excuses fly out the window when, apparently, the guy attempts suicide in December, leaves a suicide note apologizing for any harm caused to children, and has images of girls on his computer...and none of this is reported to police!!! A suicide attempt is kept hushed-up "in the family" by the Church!?! And stuff involving references to harming children surrounding that suicide attempt is likewise not passed onto authorities for almost 6 months? WHAT!?!?!
Finn should resign. If he were a politician or an officer in any secular corporation, he'd have stepped down already.
But, of course, Fr. Z is encouraging everyone to pray for Bishop Finn to help him resist this attack by the liberal media and the forces of Satan. Because clearly everyone's real motive in acting outraged about this is anti-Catholic bigotry and to undermine traditional Catholic faith and liturgy. Calls for resignation are "rubbish." Actually, maybe I'm possessed by a demon myself right now, because my eyes are rolling father back into my head than that girl from The Exorcist...