Voluntary resignation instead of firing is not justice.
It is part of the dance of a gentlemen’s game.
Yes, Bishop Robert Finn would no longer be the head of the Diocese of Kansas City- St. Joseph under either circumstance but it is important to make the distinction.
The permitting of a voluntary resignation allows Finn to retain the financial support that any retired bishop receives from the Roman Catholic Church and gives him a glide path of exit.
With the resignation coming at age 62, — albeit two-plus years beyond when it should have come and been accepted, – that leaves a lot of years for financial support to continue. That support comes from collection baskets, make no mistake about it.
We’d like to hear in-the-pew Catholics raise a bit of noise about this. Many pew occupiers had and have no difficulty slinging arrows of castigation that frame victims of molestation by priests and nuns as money grubbers.
For justice, the survivors with great courage went/go to court against a Church that had and has no problem lawyering up. Victims have been put through a second torture in having to testify about the molestation they have suffered.
Reparations for survivors are not even discussed within the broad forums of the Church.
We don’t think Finn should be allowed a gracious retirement free of any obligation to serve. There are plenty of soup kitchens, food pantries, homeless shelters, and other activities in the Church where Catholics without episcopal rank do the work of the Gospel every day. Robert Finn should be shoulder to shoulder with them.
We don’t think Finn should be allowed to leave Kansas City to find a comfortable life without financial worry.
After all, the survivors are condemned to a world of pain, scars, financial uncertainty, deprivation, mental instability, PTSD, broken relationships, isolation, physical wounds and other horrors every day.
Pope Francis, at the very least, should make clear that a voluntary resignation was a gift given to Finn and he should, as BishopAccountability.org requested yesterday, make clear that Finn’s departure is the result of what he failed to do to protect children in this crisis.
Seeking to clear protestors from the streets of the US cities where Pope Francis will visit in September is undoubtedly part of the Vatican’s double play of the whimper end of the investigation of religious orders of women and the removal of Finn. Do the Chileans have to wait until Pope Francis schedules a trip there to be rid of Bishop Barros?
The National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) said in its reaction statement yesterday to the news of the removal of Finn, which, semantics aside, is indeed what it was:
It’s about time. The resignation of Bishop Finn as head of the Diocese of Kansas City- St. Joseph is not a moment for applause in the continuing crisis of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. It is a moment to ask why it took so long. It is a moment to ask when the others who protected and continue to protect abusers will be removed. It is a moment to ask why there are continuing defenders of bishops and religious superiors for predator priests and religious men and women, and diocesan staffs. May today’s announcement, terse as it was from the Vatican, give a measure of peace to the survivors.
We restate it today with another call for justice and with a hope that those who have been blind and deaf to what has been going in the Church will see and hear.
We restate it today to emphasize that it is now clear that no papal commission needed to be created for papal action to be taken to remove a hierarch who protected an abuser.
We restate it today to lift our voices in a hearty call for all other hierarchs and religious superiors of men and women religious who have done what Robert Finn did – protect an abuser – voluntarily submit their resignations to Pope Francis.
- Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) Kristineward@hotmail.com