NAN – Vatican on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 said Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of Missouri Catholic Bishop in pedophilia cover-up.
The Vatican said Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City had offered his resignation under the code of canon law that allows bishops to resign early for illness or some “grave” reason that makes them unfit for office.
The Vatican said Finn, 62, was the only U.S. Roman Catholic bishop to be convicted for not reporting suspicions of pedophilia.
The Vatican began an investigation of Finn last September after calls for him to be removed increased.
Several hundred thousand people signed an on-line petition demanding his ouster.
Groups representing victims of abuse by clerics had been urging the pope to dismiss Finn.
Anne Barrett Doyle, co-Director of BishopAccountability.org, a resource centre for sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church, said “Pope Francis’s removal of Finn was a good step, but just a beginning.
She said pope must show that his decision represented a meaningful shift in papal practice.
Doyle said the decision signals a new era in bishops’ accountability.
“That would be unprecedented, and it would send a bracing message to bishops and religious superiors worldwide that a new era has begun”, she said.
A judge in Kansas City convicted Finn in 2012 of failing to report suspected child abuse after a technician found pictures of young girls’ genitals on a computer owned by Shawn Ratigan, a former priest of his diocese.
Ratigan took many of the lewd pictures himself and had collected others, the court was told.
Finn sent the priest to a therapist, moved him to a new post and ordered him to stay away from children.
Ratigan, who tried to commit suicide when the pictures were discovered and was later defrocked, was sentenced to 50 years in prison and Finn to two years of probation in separate trials.