Catholic League: The ad the KC Star rejected, distributed to Catholic groups

From The Catholic League:


November 11, 2011 by admin
Filed under Latest News Releases

Catholic League president Bill Donohue speaks to the latest developments regarding its battle with the Kansas City Star:

Yesterday, I was joined by Catholic League staff members and scores of Catholics from Kansas City (we never contacted any of them—they showed up after reading our news release on the event) at a press conference outside the Kansas City Star. We were delighted with the response: our goal is to energize the Catholic community in defense of Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert Finn, and to educate everyone about the agenda of SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests) and its lawyers.

The SNAP-driven agenda to target Bishop Finn, aided and abetted by the Star, is one of the most startling examples of an activist organization pairing with a newspaper for political purposes. Indeed, the Star-SNAP alliance smacks of corruption.

Earlier this week, we mailed a few copies of the ad to nearly 100 Catholic churches in the area; nuns, brothers and order priests were also sent copies. We hope the pastors will make copies and distribute them to their parishioners this weekend. An informed public is what we need.

Today, we are mailing copies of the ad to every Catholic lay organization in the area. We feel confident that they will also distribute copies to their family and friends.

Next week we will continue our campaign to blanket the entire Kansas City, Missouri area with the ad the Star doesn’t want the public to read. We’re like a bad migraine—we’re not going away.

Contact Star publisher Mi-Ai Parrish:

And there is THIS.


November 11, 2011

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on an article posted yesterday on the website of the Kansas City Star:

The Star continued with its lies against the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph with a column by Barbara Shelly. Regarding the behavior of Fr. Shawn Ratigan, she writes of “hundreds of explicit images of children” found on the priest’s laptop last year. What she didn’t say is that none of the photos were pornographic. And while a police officer and an attorney were called immediately (the pictures were disturbing), no formal complaint with the authorities was made. That’s because no one calls the police about something that is not criminal. The Kansas City Star disturbs me. Should I call 911? [That would be interesting.]

Shelly then says, “Not until five months later, when more disturbing images turned up, did officials alert the police.” Wrong again: no new photos triggered anything. What happened is that the cops were called even though there was no complainant and no crime had been committed; they were called because Ratigan violated an internal diocesan stricture limiting his movement. Had the Diocese acted like other institutions, no one would even know about this issue (it would have been handled internally the way the Star handles matters that are unethical, but not criminal).

Shelly is also wrong to say that this case involves child abuse: no, it involves the possibility that someone may have been abused. If Shelly were right, she would be able to identify the victim. She can’t.

Shelly is also wrong to make reference to Ratigan as a pedophile. In fact, he was officially diagnosed as suffering from depression, and was explicitly deemed not to be a pedophile. [?!?  Really?] Moreover, most of the acts committed by miscreant priests were homosexual in nature, [The photos were not of adults or, as far as I know, adolescents. So, this leaves me a bit confused.] so once again Shelly fails to tell the truth. The lies just keep on coming, and we will correct every one of them.

Contact Shelly:

Contact our director of communications about Donohue’s remarks:
Jeff Field
Phone: 212-371-3191

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. ContraMundum says:

    This is not really very impressive. So, the Catholic League, or at least Bill Donahue (and I have never heard of any action or statement of the Catholic League that was not an action or statement of Bill Donahue; in spite of it allegedly being a huge civil rights organization, it has all the appearance of consisting solely of Bill Donahue), appears to agree that the images were “explicit” and “disturbing” but not “pornographic”. Well, perhaps not; the Catechism’s use of the term seems to me to be exceedingly and unhelpfully narrow. I would prefer a broader characterization: pornography is any image that is intended to or used to excite lust. A collection of “hundreds” of “explicit” and “disturbing” images would seem to fit that definition, even if no sex act were portrayed.

    Likewise, at the end of the 2nd article, he appeals to an “official diagnosis” of no pedophilia. This smells a little too much like all those official statements that homosexuality had nothing to do with the abuse scandal. I’d need to know if the person making the official diagnosis believes that homosexuality or pedophilia are in fact disorders that could be diagnosed; we can no longer take such things for granted. I would also need someone with real familiarity with the weasel words of the psychological and psychiatric professions to make sure pedophilia wasn’t just being semantically avoided, the way the executive branch uses “detain” instead of “arrest” (people who are arrested have rights, people who are detained apparently do not).

    It looks like Bill Donahue is trying to make the situation better by using lawyer’s tricks. That approach simply will not work; it only makes it worse.

  2. Charlotte Allen says:

    I’m more than a bit confused. A priest has “hundreds of explicit images of children” on his laptop. Later, more “disturbing” images are found. But the Catholic League says it was OK not to do much about them because “none of the photos were pornographic,” so there was no crime committed. How does the Catholic League know? Isn’t it the job of the courts to determine whether “explicit” photos are in fact pornographic? The Catholic League also says the priest was “explicitly deemed not to be a pedophile.” Really? How is someone who puts “hundreds of explicit images of children” on his laptop not a pedophile? Pedophilia includes fantasizing about sex with prepubescent children as well as doing Sandusky-like things to them.

    I’m sure that the Kansas City Star is no friend of the Catholic Church–but neither is an organization whose best defense of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph is to assert that it’s no biggie for a priest to have “explicit” photos of children on his laptop. [Who said that it was “no biggie”? I haven’t read that anywhere yet. Everyone thought it was a big deal, but there have been differing opinions about what should have been done about it.]

  3. bookworm says:

    The question I have been meaning to ask for the last few days, and now have to ask — not trying to be cynical or snarky in any way but I think it is a legitimate question — is this:

    Why is it right, in the view of some of the people on this blog, to insist that Joe Paterno be fired from Penn State because he didn’t do enough to stop a sexual abuser in his organization, but wrong to insist that Bp. Finn step down or be removed for the same reasons? I realize that the Penn State case involved a pedophile being caught in the act, and was not the same as being told second hand about questionable/disturbing images on someone else’s computer. Still, the basic outlines of both cases seem to be similar — the person in charge (head coach/bishop), while they fulfilled the letter of the law, had a moral obligation to do more, but did not. [Perhaps the parallel breaks down on the fact that in Diocese of KC-SJ the photos were not at thought to constitute something criminal. There isn’t any doubt, on the other hand, about criminality of the Penn State thing. The Diocese did, in fact, act to place limits on the priest’s ministry. But it seems that there was an error in judgment. You know… one of these days it would be really useful to have the whole D. of KC thing laid out in bullet points, just the bare facts.]

  4. Dr. K says:

    Bookworm, I don’t think Paterno should have been fired.

  5. ContraMundum says:

    Actually, I think the parallel breaks down because every bishop should be held to a higher standard than even the greatest football coach.

    As for “the fact that in Diocese of KC-SJ the photos were not at thought to constitute something criminal”, (1) the grand jury appears to have disagreed, and (2) I suspect (always a dangerous thing to do) that even in the Penn State case the officials involved were in denial to themselves, not just to the outside world. “This guy I’ve known and worked with for years just couldn’t be guilty of such a crime” would be a natural thing for anyone to want to believe.

  6. ray from mn says:

    The allegations are about possession of photographs. Have there been any allegations made that the man did anything to children or even was found “near” them? To be classed as a pedophile, pedophilic acts would have to be proven. Possession of pedophilic pornography is illegal, but is a different matter.

  7. Irene says:

    Jack Cashill has very good articles at

  8. LaudemGloriae says:

    The Catholic League usually does a good job of cutting through the noise and setting the record straight. This is a rare instance where it seems to have made matters worse.

  9. AnnAsher says:

    If I learned a Priest had one photograph of the under side of my daughters skirt you’d better hope all I do is contact police immediately. Exaggerations by the Star are not remedied by qualifications by Catholics. Particularly due to the grief we have already suffered prior, Bp Finn (of whom I was a “fan”) and every Bishop should act immediately and strongly in defense of righteousness. He should have contacted police immediately. I don’t care what other games other organizations play with delineations! This is Christ’s Church he represents! He is a prince of the apostles! Furthermore – he is looking at a 1,000 fine. Big whoop. He should fess up and appologize before it gets worse for the Church. I’ve no patience for deception.

  10. JKnott says:

    To AnnAsher – Bishop Finn did apologize.
    Bishop Finn apologizes for handling of priest’s cases
    June 07, 2011
    Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City – St. Joseph has renewed his apology for the manner in which he handled allegations involving Father Shawn Ratigan, who has pled not guilty to child pornography charges.

    “In mid December of 2010, I was told that a personal computer belonging to Fr. Shawn Ratigan was found to have many images of female children,” Bishop Robert Finn had said in a statement two weeks ago. “Most of these were images of children at public or parish events. I was told that there were also some small number of images that were much more disturbing, images of an unclothed child who was not identifiable because her face was not visible.”

    “The very next day, we contacted a Kansas City, Missouri Police officer and described one of the more disturbing images,” Bishop Finn continued. “At the same time the diocese showed the images to legal counsel. In both instances we were told that, while very troubling, the photographs did not constitute child pornography as they did not depict sexual conduct or contact.”

    In a new statement read at Masses throughout the diocese on June 5, Bishop Finn said that “these past few weeks all of us have endured the consequences of our human failure. The destructive sins of a few and the serious lapses in communication have caused us shame, anger, and confusion.”

    “As bishop, I take full responsibility for these failures and sincerely apologize to you for them. Clearly, we have to do more. Please know that we have–and will continue to cooperate with all local authorities regarding these matters.”

  11. mibethda says:

    According to the Independent Study Report – detailing the facts in almost 200 pages – the hardrive in Fr. Ratigan’s laptop contained several hundred photographs of girls who were all clothed except for one who appeared to be an infant (the head and upper torso were not visible) who appeared in several photographs wearing a diaper and in one without the diaper. Unless additional photographs have subsequently been discovered from another source, the claim that the hundreds of photographs were “explicit” is simply false if the meaning that the reporter intended to convey was that they were sexually explicit (which certainly seems to be the meaning she intended with her curious use of the term “explicit” without any modifier) . As to the unclothed photograph, the report acknowledged that there was a difference of opinions as to whether a photograph of an unclothed subject without connection to any sexual activity was pornographic under the state law – the opinions given by the police captain who was immediately consulted by the Diocesan V.G. (upon a verbal description of the photograph) and the diocesan attorney (who reviewed all of the photographs and researched the statutes) was that the photograph was not pornographic – and, thus, possession was not illegal. The report notes that other authorities have applied a broader definition of pornography to encompass an unclothed subject without overt indications of sexual activity. It seems to be on this dispute as to what falls within the statutory definition of pornography that the case turns. One should be cautious in accepting characterizations presented by the news media in situations such as this.

  12. Charlotte Allen says:

    @Fr. Z: With all due respect, when an organization (e.g. the Catholic League) declares that photos of the undersides of little girls’ skirts, little girls’ crotches front and center, and a little girl naked from the waist down aren’t “pornographic” (even though a prosecutor and a grand jury say they are), and then jokes that the Kansas City Star is “disturbing” because its reporter describes the photos as “disturbing,” that’s trivializing the allegations against Ratigan and, as I maintained in my previous comment, effectively saying that Ratigan’s alleged conduct was “no biggie.” No, the Catholic League didn’t use that phrase, but it might as well have. [Might as well have? You, perhaps, can also tune into radio stations no one else can hear. I congratulate you. Again, I think what is being forgotten is the time line. The Catholic League isn’t making it’s own pronouncement on the matter. You are trying to make it seem as if they are. However, the D. of KC-SJ consulted with a law enforcement officer (and others?) on the board they had established for this and, as I understand it, the law enforcement officer made that determination. That is what someone at the diocese went with. I think the Catholic League statement was referring to that decision. For my part, I think horrible mistakes were made in the entire process. But we should point to the actual mistakes and not make up new ones.]

    Instead of trying in vain to minimize what Ratigan allegedly did in order to justify Bishop Finn’s initial failure to alert law enforcement, the Catholic League ought to focus on whether Bishop Finn acted appropriately. This is a tricky issue. I’ve studied the Penn State situation, and while I don’t believe that Joe Paterno did anything illegal, his response to repeated sightings of Sandusky with little boys in the locker room was grossly inadequate. Paterno was a captain who had to go down with his ship. The charges against Ratigan–and hence, Finn, are less serious, technically speaking, but only technically speaking. While it’s certainly plausible that Bishop Finn did nothing illegal, I’m also not certain that he responded with requisite severity to a collection of photos that would have made my blood run cold–and also reach for the phone to call the cops. This is a difficult issue that the Catholic League ought to face squarely instead of reflexively lashing out at the press. [Quis custodiet custodes?]

  13. Nicole says:

    “Shelly is also wrong to make reference to Ratigan as a pedophile. In fact, he was officially diagnosed as suffering from depression, and was explicitly deemed not to be a pedophile. Moreover, most of the acts committed by miscreant priests were homosexual in nature, so once again Shelly fails to tell the truth. The lies just keep on coming, and we will correct every one of them.”

    It seems there may be a bit of dissembling going on here… I personally do not know whether Fr. Ratigan is a pedophile, but making reference to “most of the acts committed by miscreant priests” as homosexual in nature (or even if he were to refer to many of the acts committed as ephebophilic in nature) doesn’t have anything to do with Fr. Ratigan’s case.

  14. Mrs. O says:

    I don’t think he is helping the matter any. One doesn’t have to use the proper language, pornographic, to know something is wrong and could be criminal. The fact was it wasn’t reported officially to the police department as it should have been. Asking about something you had not even viewed, is not reason enough. I personally feel that his pursuit of splitting hairs is going to make people feel that no one was in the wrong. Sometimes you need to let matters be and hope the grand jury deals a just verdict. I have found out that the need to be right, in this case he isn’t technically right either, can have it’s consequences. I would hold off in how they respond to the verdict….if it gets that far.

  15. chantgirl says:

    The Kansas City archdiocese did contact police immediately when the first pics were discovered, and they were told that the pics were not pornography, and so Ratigan could not be charged with anything. At that point, when Ratigan found out that the diocese was sniffing around his computer, he attempted suicide. After being released from the hospital, Finn sent him out of state for psychiatric evaluation. He was determined to be depressed, not a pedophile (I am still wondering how they classified his desire to view such pictures). So, Finn places him under house arrest on the grounds of a women’s religious order. During this time Ratigan is on unpaid leave and is saying Mass for the sisters while Finn monitors him. Ratigan is forbidden contact with children, even public events. He is not allowed to have a camera. After Ratigan breaks the rules (he goes to a friend’s child’s birthday party and is found to have a camera), Finn confronts him. Ratigan refuses to comply with Finn’s rules. Finn then asks an independent investigator to do a full investigation. The investigator obtains a search warrant and at this point discovers the pornographic images. The police then arrest Ratigan.
    I am sure that Finn regrets not having a full outside investigation sooner. Unfortunately, without evidence of a crime, the police could not initially arrest the man. Perhaps if the police had investigated a little further at the outset, they might have found evidence of a crime. The question remains- what do we do with people who are obviously struggling with temptations to deviant behavior, but who have not officially committed a crime? It would seem that we would get them psychiatric help and place them in situations where they are less able to act on their urges. Bishop Finn did both of these things. It appears to me that the strength of deviant sexual temptations has been underestimated by the majority of society. I used to think that people with sexual feelings towards children were very rare (naively), and that people who would act on these feelings rarer. It turns my stomach that this is not as isolated a problem as I thought. How do we protect children and at the same time not preemptively throw people in jail for crimes they are tempted to commit?
    We are not allowed to give seminarians a polygraph about their sexual desires because that violates the law.
    As a mother, I do not view these kind of allegations about priests lightly. Every time I drop my son off to serve at our EF parish, I entrust him to Jesus in the Tabernacle and say a ST. Michael prayer for him. I understand that anyone can be an abuser because we all have fallen human nature. However, at the same time, we can’t preemptively throw people in jail just because they suffer from temptation. God, please give wisdom to our Bishops.

  16. Athelstan says:

    The case of Bishop Finn is a hard one for those of us who have been great fans of how he has tried to restore sound teaching, liturgy and orthopraxis to Kansas City. He took a moribund diocese with flagging vocations and chancery offices run by all the worst of the usual suspects, and took immediate action to change its complexion. He promptly brought in the Institute of Christ the King and gave it its own oratory downtown. He immediately removed Fr. Richard McBrien’s column from the diocesan newspaper. He has spoken out vigorously on life issues and aggressively promoted, in person, a restoration of traditional devotions and processions. He has done all of this in the face of a quite hostile presbyterate. In these regards, he has been one of the very best bishops in America.

    It’s also true that the Kansas City Star has been fairly hostile to Finn since day one. Star staff which have done any reportage or commentary on religious matters, let alone the Church, have been quite liberal, and regrettably that has had an impact on its coverage. The Star’s idea of a serious religious commentator has been…Bill Tammeus. The Star first made its real splash with its big multi-part series on AIDS in the priesthood back in 1999 – and resolutely refused to draw any conclusions from the phenomenon that might have alienated its growing gay presence in the newsroom. I say all of this…as a former Star staffer. And the newsroom has gotten worse since I left there.

    The Star’s coverage has been biased, heavily agenda-driven – an agenda very hostile to the traditional teaching of the Church – and at points, inaccurate. But I think as supporters of Bishop Finn’s tenure in Kansas City up until now, we also have to face the fact that this case was not handled as it should have been. Phil Lawler notes the distortions and hostile environment in which Finn has had to operate, and yet concedes that while Bishop Finn’s guilt has been exaggerated, he failed to act as he should have in this matter:

    So is the indictment of Bishop Finn entirely unjustifiable? Unfortunately, no. Bishop Finn has acknowledged that he erred in his treatment of the Ratigan case. An independent inquiry, commissioned by the bishop, found that the diocese had violated its own rules in responding to complaints about the priest. The bishop and the diocese mishandled the affair; that much is beyond dispute.

    …Now we learn that an American bishop, as late as 2011, was still ignoring the rules, still handling an accusation informally, still giving the benefit of the doubt to a priest who might pose a danger to children. The indictment of Bishop Finn may be politically motivated, and may not stand up to legal scrutiny. But the bishop’s gross mishandling of this case cannot be lightly dismissed.

    There’s too much bad water under the bridge now for diocesan officials, bishops particularly, to do anything less than a vigorous hands-on approach in matters of sexual abuse allegations. The costs are too high and trust levels are virtually nonexistent. Finn’s conduct can not be remotely compared to the worst episodes we have seen in the scandal in places like Boston, Philadelphia, Dallas, Milwaukee, Miami, and Los Angeles. But it was still a real failure, and it’s not clear to me whether his excellency can continue to lead the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

    Certainly, he should be in our prayers.

  17. Johnno says:

    “””””””””Moreover, most of the acts committed by miscreant priests were homosexual in nature, [The photos were not of adults or, as far as I know, adolescents. So, this leaves me a bit confused.] so once again Shelly fails to tell the truth. “”””””

    To be fair, I believe Bill Donahue is referring to something Shelly might’ve said in her article (she probably tossed in or ended with some blanket statement about the sex abuse crisis), so his statements ought to be read in light of referring to the article he’s addressing.

  18. jhayes says:

    @chantgirl said:

    Ratigan refuses to comply with Finn’s rules. Finn then asks an independent investigator to do a full investigation. The investigator obtains a search warrant and at this point discovers the pornographic images. The police then arrest Ratigan.

    As I read the report posted on the diocesan website, Fr. Ratigan was arrested on May 19. The investigator wasn’t hired by the diocese until a month later (mid-June).

    Also, from the report, the diocese did not report the matter to the police in December when it became aware of the pictures on the laptop. Instead, they discussed the matter informally with a police officer who was a member of the diocesan IRB but without showing him any pictures or mentioning that there were more pictures than just the one described to him.

    When the diocese did tell that to that same police officer in May :

    On April 19, 2011, Msgr. Murphy contacted Capt. Rick Smith and advised him that he needed to discuss an issue with him following his upcoming knee surgery. According to Capt. Smith, on the morning of May 11, 2011, he met with Msgr. Murphy to discuss the issue, not knowing what it involved. Msgr. Murphy opened the conversation by stating that regarding the laptop, “there were hundreds of photos.” Capt. Smith stated that he was shocked and told Msgr. Murphy, “that’s not what you told me.” Capt. Smith advised him that at this point, the Fr. Ratigan incident was a criminal matter and he needed to turn the laptop over to the police.

    The report on the diocesan website appears to be quite objective. I congratulate Bishop Finn on commissioning the report and making it available for all to read.

  19. Joanne says:

    “the parallel breaks down because every bishop should be held to a higher standard”

    Ditto this. Even if what the bishop did was not technically illegal (I’m not sure whether it was or not, the jury will decide that), what do the bishop’s defenders believe should have happened vis-a-vis his role in the Church? Should there have been consequences for his inaction/lack of effective, decisive action, or not?

    I wonder why Msgr Murphy finally did call the police. I don’t recall the independent report actually stating a reason.

  20. jhayes says:


    After the informal meeting with Capt. Smith in my last post, it was Capt. Smith who notified the police:

    The next morning, on May 12, 2011, having not heard back from Msgr. Murphy, Capt. Smith notified the Crimes Against Children Division of the situation. That same day, Msgr. Murphy contacted Jon Haden, who sent the flash drive to Msgr. Murphy to provide to the police. That afternoon, Msgr. Murphy called Capt. Smith and told him that although a disc had been made to preserve the material on the computer, the laptop itself had been given to Bishop Finn, who gave the computer to Fr. Ratigan’s brother. Fr. Ratigan’s brother had destroyed it. After this call, police responded to the Chancery to pick up the flash drive, and Msgr. Murphy notified the Bishop that same day that he had contacted the police regarding Fr. Ratigan.

    When asked why he decided to contact police at this point and whom he consulted, Msgr. Murphy told the Firm that he made this decision on his own and did not discuss it with anyone beforehand. Bishop Finn was in Washington, D.C., on May 12th for a conference. According to Msgr. Murphy, he decided to contact police because he was concerned that, in addition to taking pictures, Fr. Ratigan may have sexually abused children. Additionally, he had come to believe that Fr. Ratigan was in denial and could simply not take ownership for his actions. Msgr. Murphy was concerned there might be future victims if Fr. Ratigan were allowed continued contact with children.

    I didn’t find anything in the report explaining why, when Msgr. Murphy called Captain Smith on April 19 to arrange a meeting, he was willing to wait until the captain returned from surgery on May 11 to discuss the matter with him.

  21. Joanne says:

    “when Ratigan found out that the diocese was sniffing around his computer, he attempted suicide. ”

    chantgirl, your version of events differs a bit from what’s in the independent report. This is an interesting point, though. Ratigan actually handed over the laptop – his own, personal laptop, not a work computer belonging to the diocese – to the diocese because it wasn’t working correctly. I realize he told the deacon to tell the diocese that he had gotten the computer from someone else, and then tried to commit suicide when he realized the pictures would be discovered, but part of me thinks Ratigan wanted to be caught.

  22. jhayes says:

    Joanne, Fr. Ratigan didn’t hand over his laptop to the diocese. He called the parish’s computer contractor who picked it up at the parish office. After finding the pictures, the computer contractor called the Parish Office Manager and told her about them. When he returned the computer to the Parish office, the deacon called Msgr Murphy at the diocese

    Deacon Lewis immediately called Msgr. Murphy from his office. According to Msgr. Murphy, Deacon Lewis notified him that Fr. Ratigan’s laptop contained a nude picture of a young girl; Deacon Lewis told the Firm that he said only that the computer contained “disturbing images.” In any event, they agreed that Deacon Lewis would bring the laptop to the Chancery without delay.

    Because Fr. Ratigan was expected at the parish at any moment and Deacon Lewis did not want him to regain possession of the laptop, he gathered up the machine and drove directly to the Chancery, a journey of no more than fifteen minutes. While in his car waiting for a traffic light at the intersection of 31st and Broadway, Deacon Lewis received a call from Fr. Ratigan. Fr. Ratigan asked Deacon Lewis to tell Msgr. Murphy that someone else had given him the laptop. Deacon Lewis arrived at the Chancery approximately five minutes later.

  23. Joanne says:

    Hi, jhayes: I didn’t mean that he went physically to the chancery and gave them the laptop. My point was that he could have sought out tech assistance on his own, but he didn’t. He went to the parish office (which is part and parcel of the diocese) to ask for assistance. He then allowed the tech support connected with the parish to take the computer physically in order to work on it. This whole thing didn’t erupt because someone happened to stumble upon creepy pictures on a shared work computer. The fact that Ratigan sought out the assistance of the parish, which is part of the diocese, on computer issues just again makes me wonder if some part of him wanted to be caught.

  24. Jacob says:

    Leaving aside the culpability of Bishop Finn, I found this article awhile ago on the net about Bill Donahue and the Catholic League and found it very interesting. It’s from Fidelity Press/Culture Wars so if you’re familiar with that publication and the views of its editor, your mileage may vary.

    The basic gist of the article is the author’s experiences as a member of a local chapter of the Catholic League and his interactions with Bill Donohue.

  25. ContraMundum says:



    I remember hearing “Catholics for Free Choice” being derided some time back as essentially the corporate synonym for Frances Kissling, which seemed to be a fair criticism. (That’s in addition to the obvious antagonism of Kissling’s organization for authentic Catholic teachings.) After all, Catholic means “universal”, so something must be wrong if only one person is doing all the speaking for a “Catholic” organization. It’s a criticism that can be applied to seemingly orthodox Catholic organizations, too, such as Priests for Life and the Catholic League, to say nothing of the Legion of Christ.

    It’s one thing to have the cult of a saint who has been properly examined and canonized. It another thing entirely to have a cult of personality built around a living leader.

  26. rcg says:

    Fr. Z recommendation of bulleted timeline would be helpful in deciding if the Bishop was simply not sure what to do or was plotting to cover up the actions of the priest. Even with the publicity and training of the staffs and clergy it is not a given that a bishop would know what to do in a situation where the initial findings did not indicate abuse. In hind sight, or from the view of a jaded layman, the decision to seize the computer and associated accounts and conduct a thorough investigation seems obvious. That is how our workplaces are managed. It is a sad state to think that such demeaning rigour will be levied on the clergy who are justifiably and necessarily accustomed to a more academic environments. However, it is equally puzzling that a bishop, who one would expect to possess a high degree of perception, would not see the indications in the priest’s behavior that demand deeper investigation. Finally, we laymen have to beware of clericalism either when the priest faces the congregation and requests it or when we project it on him because he faces the altar.

  27. jhayes says:

    Bishop Finn has resolved the second case involving Fr. Ratigan. This one is in a different county and doesn’t affect the case in which he has already been indicted

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In a deal to avoid a second round of criminal charges, a Roman Catholic bishop in Kansas City has agreed to meet monthly with a county prosecutor to detail every suspicious episode involving abuse of a child in his diocese for the next five years.

    Bishop Robert W. Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph was indicted in October by a grand jury in neighboring Jackson County for failure to report suspected child abuse by a priest he supervised. He is the first American bishop to face indictment on charges of mishandling an abuse case.

    The agreement announced on Tuesday between Bishop Finn and the prosecuting attorney of Clay County, Daniel White, leaves the bishop open to prosecution for misdemeanor charges for five years, if he does not continue to meet with the prosecutor and report all episodes.

    Full Article

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