Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Kangaroo Court Convicts Bishop Finn

Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, Missouri, has been found guilty of failing to report evidence of sexual abuse by a priest in his diocese.

After a brief bench trial, Judge John Torrence pronounced the bishop guilty on one of two misdemeanor charges, acquitting him of the other charge. Bishop Finn thus becomes the first American bishop convicted of a criminal offense for mishandling sex-abuse complaints.

Judge Torrence sentenced Bishop Finn to two years of probation, suspending thee sentence. If the bishop completes his probation, his conviction will be stricken from the record.

Before sentencing, Bishop Finn offered a simple apology for his role in the case. “I truly regret and am sorry for the hurt these event caused,” he said. Lawyers for the bishop had agreed with prosecutors to forego a jury trial, which was scheduled to begin later this month. Instead they opted for a quick before the judge, allowing for an immediate verdict and sentencing.
He's lucky they didn't lay him on the floor and administer a lethal injection.

A friend viewing the youtube of the pagans boo the reinstatement of God at the DNC and asked a question I think about every once in a while: Where do you think Christ's Mystical Body in terms of Christ's Life?

My very insightful friend thinks we may be heading to the Garden of Gethsemene.

Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, that in this night before the cock crow, thou wilt deny me thrice. Peter saith to him: Yea, though I should die with thee, I will not deny thee. And in like manner said all the disciples. 

I have a tendency to think we're further along than we actually are, but my guess right now is... on the steps with Pilate?

With the exception of Peter who is running to the camp of the enemy and warming himself by their fires, the apostles are running and in hiding.   The people are screaming 'crucify Him'.  

And the governor answering, said to them: Whether will you of the two to be released unto you? But they said, Barabbas. Pilate saith to them: What shall I do then with Jesus that is called Christ? They say all: Let him be crucified. The governor said to them: Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying: Let him be crucified. And Pilate seeing that he prevailed nothing, but that rather a tumult was made; taking water washed his hands before the people, saying: I am innocent of the blood of this just man; look you to it.  And the whole people answering, said: His blood be upon us and our children. 

Even more fun is trying to guess where we are in the Book of Revelation.  My guess is the red horse.

Anyone want to venture their guess?


Percy said...

Just a wee bit unnecessarily contrary?

Since when does a "kangaroo court" acquit a defendant as here? Given the facts agreed by the defendent, it seems the conviction on the one count is reasonable, too. And no jail time, just probation with the ability to have the record removed. While it was a first-time offense, courts tend to have heightened sensitivity to crimes involving obstruction of justice. Bp Finn had access to a good lawyer; many Americans would not be so lucky.

If this is the Body of Christ's Agony in the Garden, Golgotha would be a rabies injection.

TTC said...


Here's my problem:

A report made on the parish level, which then goes to a Chancery bureaucrat and then goes to the Bishop. Do you realize how remote that is? The duty to make the phone call to the popo lies at the parish level. Not three times removed. Bp. Finn delegated the matter to back down to the bureaucrat. He was then the person to call the police if it had not been done so already.

Moreover, if you pocketbook was stolen, would you go to Church to report the crime expecting him to call the police or would you call him yourself?

The way the Bishop should learn one of his priests is accused of sexual abuse is a phone call to bail him out of jail.

The whole thing stinks of sulfur.

Percy said...

Except that I believe the charter requires the escalation, and the bishop as the corporate entity for the diocese would retain legal responsibility because he is the legal entity. The both legal and practical problem is that because bishops exercises plenary authority in their jurisdiction, they have commensurate responsibility; the two things go hand in hand, at least in secular law.

I don't see how the case against the bishop here stinks of sulfur. I can see how the perp and how the bishop mishandled it does, though.

There are things to be complained about how secular society targets the Church in certain things. The Finn case should not be lumped in with those.

TTC said...

Appreciate your thoughts.

I think the Charter stinks of sulfur. It never got to the bottom of the problem nor applied the right remedies...

Percy said...

PS: Rod Dreher steps back to provide some very serious non-theoretical context and to ask a very good question that avoids the more cliche questions that have littered media:

Percy said...

And PPS: Unless and until there is a system to hold bishops accountable from below or from outside, there can be no fundamental solution. But Rome will resist that until it becomes clear over coming generations that authority and accountability/liability will be highly correlated. Most people today don't realize that the way bishops are chosen and disciplined today was not the common way until the middle of the 19th century (the real beginning of the modern template was the crafting of the Belgian constitution for a Catholic people with a Protestant king); before then, bishops were actually much more autonomous from Rome. So, it's not a dogmatic issue that the current template be retained; I suspect that, within perhaps 50 years time, the template will be significantly modified.

TTC said...

I am not a fan of Rod Dreher either!

Seems we don't see eye to eye on quite a bit!

A system that holds Bishops accountable 'from below'?

That's called whistelblowing on blogs. Works rather nicely. The last thing we need is for the wingnuts in the pews to take control of the ship.

Me thinks the Catholic Church is actually going in the other direction.

TTC said...

U perused Rod's piece. Got to love THAT. He's been using the internet and religion to make a superstar out of himself for at least a decade. Pining for the days when he, Mark Shea and Amy Wellborn monopolized Catholic cyberspace. Anytime anyone showed up to write, they took an ax to their talents to keep their exclusive menage e trois superstardom going.

And he is boo-hooing about putting 'faith' in Catholic priests and bishops.

Oh, that is rich!

This is a guy who suffers from histrionics, St. Vitus Dance and despair.

He has an ax to grind with the Catholic Church and he keeps whacking away at Her to convince himself that abandoning the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ is the fix.

I don't have any problem exposing the cult inside of the Church but it is as active in the pews as it is in the hierarchy. In fact, it is more active in the pews. Mark Shea and Elizabeth Scalia do more damage to the faith and the community of the faithful than any bishop in the United States on their worst day. They are only trumped by Rod Dreher.

There are many people in this world who want priests to be convicted by the statements of an accuser. Strip our priests of due process and their canonical rights. They are not interested in children, truth or justice.

If your children have been raped by a priest, stop phoning the rectory and the Chancery and dial 911.

The Bishop isn't the local police chief or sheriff. I'll say it again. How they should find out a priest has been accused is a phone call from the jail where the priest is incarcerated.

IMO, if you're calling the Chancery rather than the police, you're looking for cash, not the pursuit of truth and justice and the protection of children.

TTC said...

The 'charter for the protection of children' is a joke.

Percy said...

I am not a fan of Rod; he's given to dystopianism (he cops to that) and easily ruddered by an emotive reaction to things. His Evangelical roots show through his journey to Catholicism and Orthodoxy - but, then again, he's is at least half self-aware about that. He is more willing to be called to account than most of the popular religion bloggers, and that's one reason I find his blog worth following, even if I don't always agree with him (I generally am not interested in following blogs of people I agree with all the time - I am not looking for reinforcement and the dramatically heightened risk of epistemic closure that goes with it).

In the Finn case, it wasn't parents who were shaking down the diocese, because they didn't know what was going on (the perp preyed on children too young to know something was wrong and tell their parents). It was found by a diocesan employee.

* * *

I think your imagining that whistleblowing on blogs is the best medium of accountability is deeply misplaced. Blogs have so much noise that all the shouting is self-cancelling, and the fact that so many people mis-use blogs to reinforce their own information and ideological preferences makes them relatively worthless as a way to be effective. Just think of how much has changed in the RCAB due to whistleblowing on blogs: not much at all. Blogs are just relatively ineffectual instruments for accountability.

* * *

Btw, on what grounds do you lump Amy Welborn in with the others? I have to say I found Amy's blog to be the best in its day (again, I don't always agree with her....) but it was so well done. And she still has plenty worth reading, especially her reflections after her husband's sudden death, which were stunning things to behold.

TTC said...

Percy, in the case where parishioners found a priest abusing a child, calling the chancery when the parents do not know is simply unacceptable.

The first phone call should be to the parents and the second to the police. The third to the Chancery.

I don't understand why people do not see what is wrong with this arrangement. Who was dirty. People like Rod want to keep the focus on 'the bishops' because he's not focused on the truth or the children.

The blogs have made a tremendous impact in the rcab, both in the chancery and in parishes. (The cult will never stop. They train them in cult in the seminary. To this day.) Most of these men are interested in their own careers and the exposition of dissent has nearly stomped it all out. Except for Cardinal Sean's closest heretics, whom he protects (and there is a short list of them) priests are running chicken sh*t.

I have priest friends who tell me when somebody asks them to do something stupid, they think about the blogs. When my daughter was planning her wedding with her fiance, the wedding planner kept steering them away from anything that wasn't by the book, by saying "your mother wouldn't like that"
. Then he told them "let's stick by the book, I don't want to end up on her blog!" LOL.

There's a very small group here that is the lavender mafia that continues to abuse the faithful. I'm sure this is a complete coincidence, but these priests are the priests whom the Cardinal protects. (Go figure that one out.)

The only people nuttier than the people in the chancery are the people in the pews. Christ knew what he was doing when He built His Church from the top down. Questioning His wisdom is above my paygrade. We get what we deserve.

TTC said...

re: Amy

I lump her in with the other two because there was a time a decade or so ago when the three of them were acting like the patheos thugs. Everyone goes through a blogomorphasis as a writer, from time to time. Ten years was a lifetime ago. I think she was the first to checked out of the thuggery. (Now that I think about it, the faces change but that gig never does and Mark Shea seems to always be in the middle of it).

I have read her very little over the years but I did read some of her reflections on her husband's death. They were magnificent. I am glad to know she is doing well, enriching others.