29 September 2014

Unwelcome Visitors Seem to Be the Norm

I almost made it through an entire day without reading some distressing Church news.  But I have to post this one, as it could be very distressing, and will hit close to home.  The NCReporter has the story and at least one other blog is picking up on it.

The rumor is that Pope Francis has assigned a visitor to His Excellency, Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, with an eye on giving him the axe assessing his leadership.

Some context is in order.  Lots of dioceses have had problems with the clergy abuse scandal for a long time.  Since 2002, when Boston first broke, others have followed.  Some prelates have been disciplined, but not many.  Pope Benedict, just prior to his election to the See of Peter, lamented the "filth" that had congealed in the Church's ranks.  Since his unfortunate decision to abdicate, and the arrival of Francis, it seems that the discipline or leniency shown to clerics on the hot seat (for any reason, not just sexual abuse stuff) depends upon their doctrinal orthodoxy or heterodoxy. 

Marxist priest gets rehabilitated.  Irish priest who holds heterodox views on Catholic teaching on human sexuality gets rehabilitated.  Openly homosexual priest who calls for change to Catholic teaching concelebrates Mass with Francis, and gets his hands kissed in the bargain.

On the other hand, the traditionally-minded Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate get destroyed for "crypto-Lefebvrianism".  The more or less traditionally-minded bishop of Ciudad del Este is sacked for defending a priest with accusations of sexual misconduct (like the Rorate story, I am not in any way saying the deposition of the bishop is not justified, but am pointing out the seeming arbitrariness of the action in light of the favor shown to worse cases on the opposite side of the "political" aisle).

The commonality between the two situations in the above paragraph is this: in each case an apostolic visitor was sent prior to the action.  Correlation is not causation, but I just note the correlation.  Why?

Because Francis has sent a visitor to Kansas City-St. Joseph.  I personally believe that Bishop Finn was the victim of an unfair and malicious prosecution that ended with his misdemeanor guilty plea.  And he is not, nor has ever been, accused of sexual misconduct.  The misdemeanor was for an alleged failure to report conduct by a priest whom he inherited in Kansas City which, though perverse, did not include sexual contact.  Again, not defending the actions of the priest, just stating what it is, and isn't.  And note, too, that like the Bishop of Ciudad del Este, Bishop Finn is affiliated with Opus Dei.  I suppose their influence in Rome is not ascendant.

So, there you have it.  I post this for the record, and ask readers to pray for Bishop Finn.  From what I know of him, he is a good man and a quality bishop.  Reading the NCR post, it sure seems that finding people to put their finger in the air and follow the direction of the current wind to pillory this man is not difficult.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!

1 comment:

Steve said...

Bishop Finn personally handed over Fr. Shawn Ratigan's laptop -- the one with "crotch shots" of very young children -- to Fr. Ratigan's family members after Ratigan attempted suicide. Guess what Ratigan's family did? They destroyed the laptop in short order. One can find these facts in the investigative report conducted by the lawyers that the diocese hired to look into the matter. The report is readily available as a PDF online.

What defensible reason would Bishop Finn have had for handing that computer over to the accussed priest's family, rather than giving it to the police? Even when you set the bishop's guilty plea to the side, do you really want to defend what the bishop did? You really do not believe the Pope has good grounds for considering the bishop's removal? Color me astounded.