Monday, February 17, 2014

How long can Bishop Robert Finn possibly keep his job?

Posted By on Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 8:13 AM

Pope Francis he is not.
  • Pope Francis he is not.
This past December, the mother of Chillicothe resident Carol Parker died. Because both mother and daughter had been longtime members of St. Columban Catholic Church in Chillicothe (Carol also sang in the choir), the funeral was held in the church.

But then the priest of St. Columban, the Rev. Benjamin Kneib, read in a newspaper obituary that Carol Parker was a lesbian in a committed relationship with another woman. So he did exactly what Jesus would have done: He coldly refused to extend communion to Parker and her partner at the funeral service.

That is some next-level, tone-deaf bullshit, even for the Catholic Church. St. Columban falls in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph (Chillicothe is roughly 90 miles northeast of KC), which puts it in the purview of Bishop Robert Finn. There has so far been no move to discipline Kneib for his discriminatory actions, so that's all the more reason to sign this petition asking Finn to remove Kneib from his post.

In related Bishop-Finn-should-obviously-not-be-a-bishop news, 113,000 people recently signed a petition authored by the Rev. James Connell (a canon lawyer and Catholic priest in Milwaukee) asking Pope Francis to strip Finn of his duties. Finn pleaded guilty to a 2012 misdemeanor for failing to report suspected child abuse by the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, a priest in the diocese. That made Finn the highest-ranking cleric in the United States to be convicted in the myriad pedophilia cases brought against the Catholic Church in recent years.

By just about every metric, Pope Francis has been a remarkable ambassador for the Catholic faith in the short time he has held the top post. But to really change the image of the church, he needs to rid it of its child-abuse cancers. And there is perhaps nobody in the church who symbolizes those cancers more than Finn, a man who was aware that a priest in his diocese had a laptop containing hundreds of pornographic photos of underage girls - toddlers, in some cases - and chose to protect him instead of turning him in.


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