A reality check about bishops and “accountability”

Statement by David Clohessy  Executive Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,
Phone: (314) 566-9790,   E-mail: [email protected]

I hate to see hopes raised and then dashed. So at the risk of being the skunk at the garden party, let me make two points about the possibility of “new” church “processes” that allegedly will “ensure accountability” by complicit bishops.


First, over the past 2.5 years, not a single one of the 4,000 bishops in the world has found the courage to even publicly say “Bishop Robert Finn did wrong.”

(Yes, it’s now been two and a half years since a Kansas City judge found Finn guilty of refusing to give police thousands of images of child pornography from Fr. Shawn Ratigan’s computer.)

So if Catholic officials can’t bring themselves to denounce a bad bishop, is there any real chance they’ll be able to discipline one?

(In fact, some church officials still defend Finn, notably Bishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas.)

Second, did Pope Francis need some “new process” to oust “The Bishop of Bling?” Nope. Has any pope tried to fire a bishop and but given up because he couldn’t find an appropriate “process” to use? Not that I know of.

So why do we need one?

We WILL get one, though. The pope’s abuse panel will recommended one. It will be adopted. Millions will feel some hope and relief.

And then, as the years drag on, and as cover ups continue, the protocol will be forgotten and ignored.

And those for many, those raised hopes will become dashed hopes.

(Post script:  Maybe three or four of the 38,000 US priests have publicly managed to say “Bishop Finn did wrong.” Kudos to Fr. Thomas Reese, Fr. Jim Connell and the other few.)

Showing 1 comment

  • Sandy Charles
    commented 2015-02-10 13:53:14 -0600
    I just read the last SNAP newsletter. Thank goodness Hollywood is finally showing some balls (excuse the term, I couldn’t resist) regarding the telling of this tragedy to the mass public! It should be a great help to furthering our cause. I suppose there are theaters that will be threatened by Catholic groups and not show the film Spotlight and other films that are coming. Now we need Hollywood to make a film from my book about sexual abuse of children by priests.

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