KANSAS CITY, MO. -- In charging Bishop Robert W. Finn and the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese each with failure to report suspected child abuse, Jackson County, Mo., prosecutor Jean Peters Baker sent a clear message to the Catholic church, and to any organization that has an obligation to protect children, say local lawyers.
A mix of disappointment, anger and a deep sense of uncertainty settled in among Catholics here in the wake of the Oct. 14 announcement that a local prosecutor had indicted their bishop, Robert W. Finn, along with their diocese for failing to protect area children.
While Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, Mo., may be the first American bishop to be criminally indicted for alleged failure to report child abuse, he’s hardly the first Catholic bishop in recent years to run afoul of the criminal justice system.
Updated KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Bishop Robert Finn and the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese have been charged with failure to report suspected child abuse.
DUBLIN, IRELAND -- The Irish Free State was founded in 1922. Irish journalist Desmond Fisher was then 2 years old. Now 91, Fisher, grew up with the state. A former editor of the London Catholic Herald, Fisher covered the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), later joined Radió Telefís Éireann as deputy director of news and became head of current affairs.
DUBLIN, IRELAND -- Catholic Ireland is bleeding. The Vatican has rubbed in the salt.
The initial pain is from the catalog of clerical abuse, shortly to add yet another shocking report, this time from the Raphoe diocese, which covers most of Donegal. The gaping wound was caused by Rome’s and the Irish bishops’ systematic cover-up of abuse.
VATICAN CITY -- Francesco Zanardi walked almost 350 miles to deliver a letter asking Pope Benedict XVI to meet Italian victims of clerical abuse and to work harder to ensure bishops around the world follow Vatican norms for dealing with accusations of abuse.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Alleging that the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese broke a series of legal obligations in its mishandling of sexual misconduct by clergy, a law firm representing abuse victims today filed a formal complaint that could force the diocese to accept third-party supervision of its reporting procedures.
If the recently released report of the investigation of the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese were reduced to its core, it would read: Diocesan officials -- priests and bishops -- should never investigate accusations of other priests (see story).
That point might seem glaringly obvious, and one that has been made repeatedly in other circumstances. Nonetheless it is helpful to see it once again in writing as a central conclusion to an elaborate study.
WARSAW, Poland -- A Catholic journal has criticized the Polish church's handling of sexual abuse by priests, following repeated claims that local church leaders failed to confront the problem.
"The harm caused by sexual molestation of children is unquestionable, but the evil is much greater when pedophilia occurs in the community of faith, and when, in a falsely conceived defense of the church, the authorities hide the facts, conceal the perpetrators and ignore the suffering victims," the Wiez bimonthly said in an editorial in its August-September edition, dedicated to clergy sexual abuse.
The journal questioned whether the Polish church's handling of abuse claims complied with Vatican instructions and whether the good of the church meant "the good name of clergy or the good of the weakest."
"In Poland, church superiors react in different ways. Sometimes sentences are passed on the quiet against priest-pedophiles in secular courts. Sometimes, everything is consistently denied," it said.