Letter to Bishop Johnston from KC SNAP

The below is a letter sent to Bishop James V. Johnston of the Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph from local leaders of the Kansas City chapter of SNAP. 

July 2019

Dear Bishop Johnston:

To help victims and Catholics heal, to help protect kids and to help deter future wrongdoing, we're respectfully asking you to use your new powers to restrict the public ministries of Bishop Robert Finn and Bishop Joseph Hart.

Finn has been deemed, in a civil court, guilty of refusing to report known or suspected child sex crimes. 

Hart has been deemed, by his successor, a "credibly accused" child molester, with abuse reports in Wyoming and Missouri, by at least ten individuals.

Both have returned to Kansas City, sometimes appearing in public, which has prompted concern and consternation by still-suffering victims and still-betrayed Catholics. 

We believe that long ago you could and should have used your bully pulpit, quiet influence and existing powers to dissuade or prevent Finn and Hart from appearing in your diocese. But now, with the powers recently given to you by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, you have no excuse for not protecting the safety and feelings of your flock, and deterring future crimes and cover-ups, by banning these two disgraced prelates from your jurisdiction.

We would ask you to consider one simple question: Why take the risk? Why chance making even one more person who was raped, sodomized or fondled as a child by a cleric feeling outraged or fearful or disgusted when he or she sees Hart or Finn presiding at a Catholic function in Kansas City? Why run the risk that even one more wounded Catholic, who is faith is on shaky ground, feeling betrayed and disappointed and hurt again when they see the activities of other disgraced prelates (Cardinal Roger Mahoney, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick) being restricted while the activities of Hart and Finn are not?

If you would be so kind as to forward this letter to your Wyoming colleague Bishop Steve Biegler, we would be grateful. We’d also be grateful if you would please forward this to Pope Francis, the papal nuncio in Washington DC and Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

We look forward to hearing from you.

David G. Clohessy

314-566-9790 (cell)

[email protected]

Jim McConnell

SNAP Kansas City director

816 590 4752

[email protected][email protected]

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant