USA-Bishops to opine on porn while convicted porn-hider sits among them

For immediate release: Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, [email protected])

While a bishop convicted of hiding child pornography sits among them, today America’s bishops voted to write a formal statement on pornography.

The child pornography - hundreds of photos - belonged to a Catholic priest. Many of the photos were of young girls from Catholic parishes and were taken by the priest.

In September 2012, Kansas City MO Bishop Robert Finn was found guilty in court of hiding evidence of child sex crimes by Fr. Shawn Ratigan. (Ratigan is now behind bars for 50 years.)

For at least five months, Finn and his staff sat on the photos and refused to call police. For years, Finn and his staff ignored repeated and detailed warning signs about Ratigan.

The entire Catholic hierarchy has ignored Finn’s crimes. Not one of the world’s thousands of bishops has uttered a single sentence critical of Finn.

To discourage pornography, Catholic bishops – especially new USCCB president Kurtz - should start by ousting Bishop Finn from the USCCB. At a minimum, they should loudly and formally denounce Finn’s crimes. Until they do – or until Pope Francis demotes, disciplines, defrocks or denounces Finn – the church hierarchy’s pornography pronouncements will ring hollow.

Finn’s defenders will claim the USCCB can’t kick him out. That’s just silly. The USCCB is a private club. It makes its own rules. If Finn was caught lobbying for the death penalty or volunteering at Planned Parenthood, we believe his brother bishops would discipline him. But they are too timid to say even one negative word about Finn in public. As best we can tell, not a single high ranking Catholic official – current or retired – anywhere in the world – has found the courage to propose disciplining Finn or uttered a single critical word about his deliberate and dangerous crimes.

Ignoring crimes encourages crimes. Until this deeply-rooted and dreadfully unhealthy code of silence among bishops changes, more clergy sex crimes will take place and be hidden.

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SN[email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,[email protected])

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