Follow the Leader, by Kristine Ward

Published on February 14, 2013

Now is the time for Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph to follow his leader and resign, renounce, and depart.

 This moment affords him a saving grace.

 Out of the ashes of a criminal conviction could be built a measure of redemption.

 Out of the failure to protect the child and not the perpetrator could come course correction.

 Out of the wandering in a personal desert, out of the stumbling block of the criminal conviction that trips up any reach to teach moral principle, out of the shroud of shrunken authority could come life – and life abundantly.

 This moment, this thin space before 8 PM February 28, if seized, can offer resurrection to a diocese, its people, and the office of bishop.

 The drama of a papal resignation, the questions that swirl around it, the building chorus of comment, chatter and clatter about who will emerge from a conclave in the white soutane on front façade of St. Peter’s is a tent of cover for a bishop clinging to the old ways.

 New ground has been plowed – whatever the reasons.

 It’s in the best interest of God’s people, those Bishop Finn was called to serve, – and it can have a ripple effect into the larger society — for him now to take a page from the Pope’s book and write finished on his years as head of the Diocese of Kansas City- St. Joseph.

 And a page from an old book may help as well – it’s St. Paul who recommends “think anew.”

 Bishop Finn could begin a trend of truth. Out of a small Midwestern diocese could come the acceptance of responsibility and an opening to the restoration of trust.

 Bishop Finn need simply tell his Pope that he will not take no for an answer to his resignation letter.

 Bishop Finn can and should impress upon his leader, the man who placed him in his position, that he is following the Pope’s example to make way for those better suited to lead and that the future cannot be like the past.

 Bishop Finn can give up the façade that all is well.

 Now is the acceptable time.

 But time, alas, is finite.

 — Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition, (NSAC)


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