Missouri Bishop’s Conviction Leaves Clergy Divided
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In the three months since Bishop Robert W. Finn became the first American prelate convicted of failing to report a pedophile priest, lay people and victims’ advocates have repeatedly called for his resignation.
Now, recent interviews and a private survey by a company working for the Roman Catholic diocese here show for the first time that a significant number of the bishop’s own priests have lost confidence in him.
Bishop Finn, who oversees the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, is serving two years of court-supervised probation after his conviction in September on a single misdemeanor count. The survey by Church Development, a consulting firm the diocese hired to run a capital campaign, was of 40 priests. In the 32 responses obtained by The New York Times, half of them seriously doubted whether the bishop should continue as their leader, and several suggested that he resign.
“I think it would be easier for us to move forward without Bishop Finn as our bishop,” the Rev. Michael Clary, the pastor at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Lee’s Summit, Mo., which is part of Bishop Finn’s diocese, said in an interview. He added, however, that the bishop’s resignation may not be the only way fo...