When asked why I speak in support of victims of clergy sexual abuse and participate in solidarity with members of SNAP, it is because I have heard first-hand the stories of those abused and have witnessed their anguish caused by the abuse. I know, too, the valuable and desperately-needed support and services SNAP offers to the victims.
I know first-hand because I served as the Victims’ Advocate in the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph from 2000-2004 under now-retired Bishop Raymond Boland and heard the stories of nearly 40 victims. I speak because I cannot remain silent but must speak in support of the victim survivors of abuse, for their families and especially for those who are unable or too afraid to speak themselves. I urge others to speak out too because we must speak and act for the protection of all children -- so that no more children ever suffer abuse at the hands of the clergy. Lastly, we must speak out so that clergy sexual abuse is never again covered up or ignored.
This diocese is in desperate need of healing, and I do not believe that can happen until Bishop Finn is held accountable for his actions. I am deeply concerned that he did not employ the protections and procedures that functioned prior to his becoming bishop here. The Victims Advocate, Immediate Response Team, and the Independent Review Board were in place but not utilized in recent cases, in particular that of Fr. Shawn Ratigan. By not doing so, children were placed at risk and were victimized. This must never happen again.
Sister Jeanne Christensen, RSM
Kansas City, MO