Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Catholics React to Bishop's Conviction By Jesse Bogan and Tim Townsend St. Louis Post-Dispatch


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- "At an early morning Mass here at St. Patrick Parish on Friday (Sept. 7), the Fr. Justin Hoye preached about judgment, saying people are incapable of admitting the absolute fullness of their own sins.
He didn't mention Bishop Robert Finn, shepherd of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. On Thursday, a judge in Jackson County found Finn, 59, guilty of one misdemeanor count of failing to report suspected child abuse, including the fact that Finn knew child pornography was on the computer of the Fr. Shawn Ratigan, who used to be pastor of St. Patrick's.
But it was clear that Hoye's caution against judgment and prayers for healing were about Finn and the wounded congregation.
"We pray that the Holy Spirit might move throughout the diocese and grant us consolation and peace," Hoye said. "We pray for the victims of injustice, those denied rights owed them."
When the service was over, parishioners were polite but not as subtle about the court ruling...
"Maybe this will get different dioceses and bishops, everybody throughout the religious world, to realize they have a responsibility to basically do what Jesus taught us and that is take care of kids, to respect other lives," said Steve Burk, 59, a retired Ford assembly line worker who attends Mass throughout the week.
Finn, a St. Louis native who was ordained in the St. Louis Archdiocese, is the first U.S. bishop convicted for failing to report criminal sexual activity by a priest.
The verdict is a landmark moment in a clergy abuse saga that has rattled the Catholic Church for more than a decade.
Critics of the church's handling of the sex abuse scandal say they hope the ruling will be a seminal moment that brings greater reform.
"You're tempted to think surely this will send a chill down the spine of hundreds of church employees who are concealing, or have concealed, child sex crimes," said David Clohessy, head of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "It must be unsettling to see that even a bishop can be brought to justice..."
For some parishioners at St. Patrick's, the incident has done nothing to shake their belief.
"God is my faith," said Florence Wilbur, 79, who has attended the church for 59 years. "(Finn) is just a person."


Anonymous said...

"including the fact that Finn knew child pornography was on the computer of the Fr. Shawn Ratigan"

This is slander.

Veritwas said...

Boys will be boys.

Veritwas said...

Let me be perfectly clear: we should have a policy of “zero tolerance” toward priests, and a practice of tolerance for bishops convicted of crimes.