ROME, May 7, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – For some time, observers have expected the final outcome for Bishop Robert Finn, former head of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese, who was ordered by Vatican officials to tender his resignation last month. The predictable sides have lined up: either condemning and saying, ‘It’s about time,’ or defending him. With all the noise made, it may be difficult for most readers to tease out the truth, but an examination of the facts of the Finn case and that of another high-profile prelate may be enlightening.
If Finn, why not the many, and much worse, others?
With Finn’s 2012 conviction of the misdemeanor offence of “failure to report” a priest caught with images of children on his computer, some of which were judged to be pornographic, it has been expected by supporters and enemies alike that the bishop would be asked by Rome to step down. But while the mainstream secular and liberal Catholic press are triumphing, some very pertinent questions are being left unanswered, primary among which is, if Finn, why not others? All the others…all the many, many others?
Bishop Finn was removed from his diocese and is now being almost universally reviled as a “criminal” and a shielder of sex-abuse. But he never covered up molestation of young people by a priest, and has never been charged with that.
At the same time, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, after being shown to have personally covered for a man who for years had sexually assaulted his own nephew, has been allowed to retire honourably at the normal retirement age, from his position as the enormously powerful head of the archdiocese of Brussels, Belgium. Last year, Danneels was personally invited by Pope Francis to consult at the Synod of Bishops on the Family.
To put it bluntly, Finn never shielded a priest-abuser; Danneels did, for years. But Finn’s out and Danneels is invited to important conferences by the pope.
Phil Lawler, an editor of the popular website CatholicCulture.org, has strongly supported Finn’s resignation, but he raises the burning question, “Why Finn and no one else?” The “truly remarkable thing” about the case, he says, is not that Finn was forced out, but that, in over a decade of egregious scandals around the world, he has been the only one.
“Dozens of other bishops were as negligent, or worse. But they remained in office for years as the Church hierarchy came, ever so slowly, to the conclusion that even prelates must be held accountable,” Lawler said.