According to New York Times, Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a convicted Bishop who heads the diocese of Kansas City – St Joseph, Missouri. Bishop Robert W. Finn was convicted in 2012 for involvement in shielding a charismatic parish priest “Father Ratigan” that was taking lewd pictures of underage girls, which were found on his computer. The Vatican announced the resignation in a Daily News Bulletin on Tuesday.
Bishop Finn’s 2012 conviction on misdemeanor charges stemmed from Finn’s waiting several months before confessing to authorities that explicit images of young girls had been discovered on the computer of one of his priests.
Finn was sentenced to two years of probation, and the diocese received a fine of $1.1 million when an arbitrator ruled that it had violated the terms of an earlier settlement.
Despite Pope Francis’ avowed tough stance on sexual abuse of children that has rocked the church for years and decades, the Finn scandal took almost 3 years to be finally resolved with this latest resignation.
Sexual abuse of minors by priests has been hogging the headlines for many decades and one of the major ‘thorn in the flesh’ for the Late Pope John Paul II. New York Times also reported that as of date, the Vatican has defrocked 850 priests and penalized at least 2,500 more for sexual misconduct against minors.
Bishop Finn is not the most senior ranking Roman Catholic priest to have been linked to pedophilia charges. In 2002, Cardinal Bernard Law of the Archdiocese of Boston resigned after taking responsibility for failing to take appropriate actions against pedophilia by reassigning known pedophile priests instead of dismissing them.