Kansas City Bishop Robert W. Finn was indicted along with the Diocese of Kansas City on Friday for failure to report an egregious case of child abuse. The misdemeanor indictment involves Finn’s protection of a pedophile priest, Father Shawn Ratigan, who kept child pornography on his computer. Ratigan was allowed to continue priestly duties throughout the diocese, including contact with children, even though hundreds of photographs of children were discovered by the Bishop on Ratigan’s laptop. The pictures including upskirt pictures of girls and pictures of a young girl naked from the waist down.
While Kansas City priests tiptoed around the news in masses on Sunday, there is no doubt that the indictment is another warning shot aimed at the enclave of the Vatican. With abuse victims filing a criminal complaint against the Vatican at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, the worldwide scope of the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church has grown.
Pair this with pending cases in Philadelphia against Monsignor Lynn, archdiocesan administrator for sex abuse cases, and the tally of criminal indictments will likely increase. While the Pope speaks of evangelization and faith, scores of Catholics are voting with their feet to leave the church, or choose to make their relationship with the Catholic Church stop at the end of their local church’s driveway.
Changes to the liturgy have many up in arms, and still, Cardinals and Bishops like Philadelphia’s Bishop Chaput can only whine about how terrible the press is, without being accountable for the actions that have caused the press to scrutinize the church so intensely. Luckily for Bishop Chaput the Philadelphia Inquirer pointed out how the Bishop was pastoral to Monsignor Lynn at a recent banquet, noting how difficult the ordeal has been for him. Bishop Chaput: What about the young men who were raped?
While the USCCB is gearing up for next month’s meeting, hoping to promote a pro-life agenda, perhaps they should take time to pay attention to the lives that they have irreparably damaged, if not ruined, by ignoring the repeated reports of rape and sexual abuse of children. The church does not need another plan; what’s needed is action and more indictments to get the attention of an institution that has sacrificed children to protect its rotten hierarchy. I for one cannot wait for the real purge of tainted clerics to happen.