MO--Victims blast Catholic officials for honoring criminal
For immediate release: Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Under the headline “Hometown Team,” the latest issue of Catholic St. Louis portrays Bishop Robert Finn as one of several local priest who have climbed the clerical ladder to become prelates. But it makes no mention of Finn’s status as the only US bishop to be convicted for concealing evidence of child sex crimes from police and prosecutors.
In a nutshell, this is one key reason why the clergy sex abuse and cover up scandal keeps roiling the church: because those who endanger kids, hide predators, stonewall prosecutors, deceive parishioners are almost never defrocked, demoted, disciplined or even denounced by their Catholic colleagues or supervisors.
Ignoring wrongdoing essentially encourages more wrongdoing.
Archbishop Robert Carlson should apologize for the deceptive and hurtful portrayal of Bishop Finn as some kind of “local boy who makes good.” And he should discipline the editor of Catholic St. Louis.
Finn is a criminal. Pretending otherwise rubs even more salt into the already deep and still fresh wounds of Catholics whose kids were hurt by Finn’s priests, especially those whose daughters were shrewdly turned into child pornography pictures during the months Finn refused to give Fr. Shawn Ratigan’s huge photo collection of child pornography to the police. (Imagine how those moms and dads feel seeing their convicted bishop put forward as some sort of hero or role model in a Catholic publication.)
Last year, three years after having been found guilty, Finn voluntarily resigned as head of the Kansas City diocese. But he remains a bishop with all of the salary, benefits, honors and status that title and position confers. He has faced no disciplinary action for his law-breaking.
After a few months of “laying low,” several weeks ago, he resurfaced and is now ministering to nuns in Nebraska. Our group protested that move as reckless and callous. He has no business ministering to anyone.
We continue to urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions - in St. Louis, Kansas City and in between - to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling journalists, get justice by calling attorneys, and get comfort by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)