On Friday, in his diocesan newspaper Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn quietly disclosed his promotion of Fr. Patrick Rush, a priest who is closely connected with a number of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics. For years, he was the second-in-command of the diocese. He has been named as a defendant, because of that role, in a number of child sex abuse and cover up lawsuits.
If Finn keeps picking and promoting long-time church insiders and those with close ties church insiders, the chances for change are greatly reduced.
As vicar general, in 2002, Rush publicly defended the decision to keep Fr. Thomas Ward in parish ministry, despite the fact that the diocese paid a settlement to his accuser.
Rush admitted that parishioners had not been officially informed by the diocese of the allegations against Ward.
That same year, Rush refused to identify four priests who had been accused of molesting kids.
No matter how much re-shuffling Finn does in his diocese, the crux of the crisis remains unaddressed: the virtually limitless power of a corrupt bishop who values sexually troubled clerics over innocent young kids.
In part, we believe this is another move by Finn to try and convince people he’s “reforming.” We also believe it’s an admission – belatedly and begrudgingly – that his legal needs and the diocese’s legal needs may not be identical. And it’s likely designed to help mute criticism that his defense maneuvers will be self-serving at the expense of the diocese.