Rorate Caeli

For the record: Bishop Robert Finn steps down (something is not right ...)

Bp. Robert Finn
The Pope today accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City - St. Joseph, presumably over his handling of the "Ratigan affair". The resignation comes after a long and sustained media campaign for the bishop's resignation, led primarily by the National Catholic Reporter (based in the diocese) and other liberal US Catholic journals, not to speak of the New York Times, which took an inordinate amount of interest in this matter.

There is no question that Bishop Finn's handling of this scandal, particularly his failure to report a suspected case of child abuse that led to his misdemeanor conviction, was truly lamentable. At the same time we ask why he has been singled out for punishment. Would matters have proceeded in the same way if he were a known "progressive" -- for instance an open defender of the Kasperite doctrines of communion to remarried divorcees?

Bishops must have an exemplary behavior. As do priests and, for that matter, religious orders. But the succession of only bishops considered "conservative" being sacked in this pontificate leaves a bitter taste behind each additional example. There is more scandal in each of several Jesuit-run universities in the United States than in all sacked conservative bishops combined. One can think of even worse cases of sexual abuse mishandling in liberal-run dioceses. But yet, no punishment for them. No sacking. No intervention. Not to mention the strange affair of Bishop Juan Barros, named by Francis himself for Osorno, in Chile.

The Pope greeting Bishop Juan Barros Madrid
Something is not right...