The New York Times reports that roughly half of the Kansas City diocese's priests have no confidence in Bishop Robert Finn. Sadly those sentiments, unless backed by action, won't change a thing.
Kansas City priests must find courage and take action if ever their diocese is to become safer and healthier. Privately expressing disapproval of a criminal behavior won't get the job done.
A decade ago, some 50+ Boston priests publicly rebuked Cardinal Bernard Law seeking his resignation. They won.
The church is a feudal hierarchy. Bishops hold virtually all of the power. Priests, like lay people, are essentially serfs, so they are understandably reluctant to challenge bishops, even one who is a proven lawbreaker. (Bishops have clearly retaliated against brave whistleblowers, basically shunning them and transferring them to small, remote parishes for decades.)
Still, sometimes conscience and decency demands that we put the safety and well-being of others - especially children – above our own selfish desires. Now is that time in Kansas City.
We call on KC priests to
- band together for support and strength,
- publicly declare their disapproval of Finn's recklessness, callousness and deceit,
- stand up in their parishes this Sunday, begging every single person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups to contact police,
- share what they know and suspect about crimes and cover ups with law enforcement, and
- do everything they can to save their diocese, and its children, not save their own clerical careers.