Recently, a judge agreed with the finding of an arbitrator that Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert Finn violated a 2008 agreement mandating that suspected child abuse be reported immediately to the authorities. The Kansas City Star said it is “still waiting for the bishop and the Catholic Diocese to do the right thing,” by which it meant he should resign. The Star has been waiting for a long time: this is its sixth call for Finn’s resignation in three years. They must be slow learners—few seem to care what it said.
Here are fast facts that the Star doesn’t want to emphasize:
• In 2010 a computer technician finds disturbing crotch-shot photos of girls fully clothed on the computer of a priest; there was one naked photo of a non-sexual nature
• A police officer and an attorney are contacted by diocesan officials
• After the priest attempts suicide, he is sent for psychiatric analysis: it is determined that he is depressed, but he is not a pedophile
• When it is learned that restrictions placed on the priest are violated, the diocese contacts the authorities—even though it had no legal mandate to do so
• Bishop Finn orders an independent investigation of this matter even though there is no complainant
• Porn pictures are later found and Bishop Finn is then found guilty of one misdemeanor for not reporting suspected child abuse
The Star doesn’t want the facts to come out: In 2011, it turned down $25,000 for a full-page ad Bill Donohue had written exposing all the players involved in their well-coordinated war on Bishop Finn, including the role played by the Star.
The Star’s impotence is a function of its misplaced authority: it has no legitimate perch upon which to tell Catholics who their bishop should be. Furthermore, its relentless attacks on Bishop Finn show a maniacal fixation that speaks more about its own problems than any alleged problems Finn has.
As we indicated in the last issue of Catalyst, the quest for a bishop’s scalp is particularly evident in the Mid-West. That’s the home of the National Catholic Reporter, attorney Jeffrey Anderson, and SNAP, the professional victims’ group. The Star, as we pointed out, has also played a prominent role in this sordid exercise.