MO--Victims want KC priest disciplined for defending Finn
For immediate release: Monday, May 4
Statement by David Tate of Kansas City, leader of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In a stunningly callous letter to his parishioners, a Kansas City pastor is misleading Catholics, re-victimizing adults and endangering kids by deceptively defending a convicted bishop and attacking the motives of those who feel betrayed by him.
In a letter to members of Christ the King parish on Wornall Road (written on church letterhead), Fr. Gregory Lockwood claims that Bishop Robert Finn faced a “politically motivated charge” filed by “an ambitious prosecutor with strong ties to the abortion industry.”
The priest also claims that in the Fr. Shawn Ratigan case, church officials “never had any impulse to cover up.”
Fr. Lockwood also claims that many of those who are upset with Finn are “nasty,” say “mean” and “vicious” things about him and part of a “mob scene.”
“The issue was never the Ratigan affair,” Fr. Lockwood writes, but rather some sort of ideological crusade because Finn is conservative. He thus impugns the motives of those who care about kids, about truth and about deterring crimes by holding criminals accountable.
Finally, in a clear deceit, Fr. Lockwood claims that the bishop “pled no contest.” In fact, Finn was found guilty by a judge. (Fr. Lockwood is an educated man. He knows better.)
This is wrong and hurtful on so many levels.
First, it misleads parishioners.
Second, it also re-victimizes adults – both betrayed Catholics and suffering victims – by mischaracterizing and minimizing the crimes by both Finn and Ratigan.
And third, it endangers kids by fostering a hostile climate for victims, witnesses and whistleblowers, making it less likely that child molesters – clergy or otherwise – will be reported, exposed, prosecuted, convicted and kept away from kids.
Somewhere in Christ the King parish there’s a 14 year old girl who is being molested by her uncle. He tells her “If you speak up, no one will believe you.” Then she sees her pastor, Fr. Lockwood, publicly defending a proven enabler. She decides “My uncle is right. Adults side with adults. I won’t be believed. I’ll keep my mouth shut.”
And her abuse continues.
Years later, when she grows out of her uncle’s preferred age range, he goes on to molest her younger sister.
This isn’t rocket science. Adults can either make it harder for kids and adults to report predators. Or adults can make it harder.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann should publicly and harshly discipline Fr. Lockwood to deter this kind of callousness now and in the future.
(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)