Close advisor to Pope rips fellow US bishop as unfit to lead

One of the Pope’s key advisors has called for urgent action to be taken against a US bishop who shielded a priest who was a threat to children.

Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley told US network CBS that the case of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City is “a question the Holy See needs to address urgently”.

Bishop Finn was found guilty in 2012 of a criminal misdemeanour count of shielding a priest who was a threat to children.

The priest, Shawn Ratigan, was found guilty in 2013 of producing child pornography and was sentenced to 50 years in jail.

Bishop Finn was sentenced to two years probation for waiting six months before telling police that diocesan officials had found pornographic images of young girls on Ratigan’s computer.

Cardinal O’Malley, who heads the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, said Pope Francis recognises the need to address the Bishop Finn situation.

Speaking to CBS News, Cardinal O’Malley agreed that under the Catholic Church’s zero-tolerance policy, he wouldn’t let Bishop Finn teach Sunday school in Boston, let alone head a diocese.

CBS interviewer Norah O’Donnell put it to Cardinal O’Malley that one of the “biggest scandals” of the Church in recent years is the way bishops handled priests accused of abuse.

Cardinal O’Malley responded that is something he and the commission are working on.

“One of the first things that we came up was the importance of accountability and we’re looking at how the Church can have protocols and how to respond when a bishop has not been responsible for protection of children in his diocese,” he stated.

In September, Canadian Archbishop Terrence Prendergast visited Kansas City diocese on behalf of the Vatican to investigate Bishop Finn’s leadership.

In the CBS interview, Cardinal O’Malley also called a Vatican doctrinal investigation of American nuns “a disaster”.

Cardinal O’Malley is one of the council of cardinal advisors to Pope Francis.

The CBS 60 Minutes item was broadcast on November 16.


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