Frank Cocozzelli on the continuing spectacle of convicted criminal Bishop Robert Finn, who refuses to relinquish his bishop's seat in Kansas City despite calls of Catholics in many places, including his own diocese, for him to do the right thing and step down after his conviction on charges of endangering children by protecting a pedophile priest:
If anyone has enjoyed the protection of corporative spirit, it has been Bishop Finn. A member of Opus Dei, he is well connected to the neoconservative Catholic Right. Indeed, Bill Donohue's Catholic League (apparently with Cardinal Timothy Dolan's blessing) has been running interference for the beleaguered bishop to keep him in power.
It is worth recalling that the beneficiary of the cover-up was Fr. Shawn Ratigan who was prosecuted for his crimes. He has since pleaded guilty in Federal Court to four counts of producing child pornography and one count of attempted production of child pornography.
As I reported here and here, Bishop Finn had constructive knowledge of Ratigan's improper touching of young girls and possession of child pornography. I wrote here that Bishop Finn must go.
And now, as Frank notes, there has been a formal appeal by Kansas City Catholics to Pope Francis to act and to conduct a canonical review of Finn, and they, along with many other Catholics throughout the U.S., are waiting to see what the pope will do in response to this appeal. As we watch and wait, Frank notes that longtime advocate for abuse survivors Tom Doyle recently stated in a National Catholic Reporter article,
A year has passed [since Francis was elected] and Pope Francis' moves have been minimal. He made sex abuse a crime in the Vatican City State, a move so meaningless it is almost comical. He has not made a major or even a minor pronouncement about the problem and he has done little about bishops who have enabled perpetrators.
And in a recent interview in the "Frontline" series on the Vatican's secrets, Tom Doyle also stated,
I think what he [Francis] has to do there is take some very decisive, concrete steps. The bishops that are the foremost ones, who have covered up, who continue to cover up, he has to publicly dismiss them.
We keep waiting. And as we wait, the credibility of this pope and his papal regime, which is ostensibly about reforming our badly out of kilter church, hangs in the balance.