Friday, November 14, 2014

Updates on Two Catholic Abuse Stories: Cardinal O'Malley on Bishop Finn and Pope Francis; SNAP Holds Media Event to Press Arkansas Bishop for More Information about Abusive Priest

Two updates on previous stories I've told here about the clerical abuse situation in various parts of the Catholic world. The first has to do with Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, Missouri, who was convicted in 2012 of criminal behavior in shielding Father Shawn Ratigan after Finn knew that Ratigan possessed child pornography (he had been taking pornographic photos of little girls) on his computer. If you want to follow what I've reported about that story in the past, please click on the label "Bishop Robert Finn" below this posting.

Today, CBS News has uploaded to its website a preview of an interview of Boston cardinal Seán O'Malley by journalist Norah O'Donnell. The full interview will air on CBS this coming Sunday (16 November) at 7 P.M. ET. As Joshua McElwee reports for National Catholic Reporter, Finn's situation is "a question that the Holy See needs to address urgently." 

Stay tuned. This is a story that sounds to me as if it's about to get interesting.

The second update is about a story I reported here in October: in late September, the Catholic bishop of Little Rock, Anthony Taylor, removed from ministry a priest named Father James Melnick. As my previous posting notes, when Taylor removed Melnick from ministry, he announced that there had been multiple accusations of sexual misconduct with adults made against Melnick.

Here's the update: last week, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP held a media event in Little Rock to call on Bishop Taylor to release more information about Melnick. As SNAP's press release about this event (to which I have just linked) notes, the information provided up to now by Taylor about the accusations that caused him to remove Melnick from ministry have been sparse. In fact, Bishop Taylor has released no information at all after his initial announcement that he was removing Melnick from ministry.

In addition, SNAP is calling on Bishop Taylor to disclose to the public what has become of Melnick since he was defrocked. As the SNAP press release notes, church law requires Taylor to continue paying Melnick, so Taylor has to know where Melnick is.

The statewide independent newspaper Arkansas Times did a short piece on the SNAP media event last week. It's here. I have not seen other news coverage of the event.

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