Naumann Makes the Interview Rounds with a Plea for Healing
April 27, 2015

The temporary leader of the embattled Kansas City-St. Joseph Catholic Diocese appeals for healing in a set of interviews Monday.

“Healing, forgiveness, mercy. I think all those things we always need, but I think they are particularly important now, Archbishop Joseph Nauman said in a TV interview with KMBC.

Archbishop Naumann was named the temporary administrators after the sudden resignation last week of Bishop Robert Finn.

Fin was under fire in his own diocese. He was convicted for not promptly reporting the sexual abuse problems of a former priest, Shwn Ratigan.

Ratigan, now defrocked, is serving a 50 year term in federal prison.

Finn is the only US Catholic officials to ever have been convicted.

Naumann repeated his announcement that, as a temporary administrator, his plan is “Not to make decisions that are going to obligate the new Bishop to what I might think is a great idea. So it’s not a time to innovate or start new programs”.

One of the diocese leading critics under the Finn administration has been the Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). SNAP called upon Naumann to use his time to point out other priest abuses and increase prevention.

Naumann says he believes the reforms, implemented by Finn after a critical report of the sex abuse problem and Finn’s role, are appropriate.

One of Finn’s critics, Sister Jeanne Christenson of Or Sisters of Mercy, hopes Pope Francis and the Catholic Church select a new bishop who understand what the diocese has gone through.

“And we absolutely need a bishop, as Bishop Naumann said, who can provide healing and maintain vigilance to protect children,” she said.

Finn’s official duties as Bishop are not finished.

The Diocese says Finn is scheduled to ordain seven new priest at an ordination ceremony on May 23 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Kansas City

Some KC Catholics Angry, Some Relieved at Finn’s Resignation
April 21, 2015

Some Kansas City area Catholics are split on after learning their Bishop, Robert Finn has resigned.

After a mid-day mass at Redemptorist Church in Kansas City, some said Finn was driven from office.

“They’re not being fair. They’re putting it all on his back and he has people working under him,” said Virginia Vigliaturo.

“Well, it’s unfortunate that it had to come to that, but it was probably the wisest thing the Pope could do,” said Ed Stewart, another person who was at the mass.

Stewart says he liked Bishop Finn, but added he thought is resignation would solve a lot of political problems in the diocese.

Finn’s resignation was announced in the Vatican very early today Kansas City time.

The Kansas City-based National Catholic Reporter, an independent newspaper that covers the Catholic Church had called for Finn’s resignation because of his handling of the way he handled the case of former priest Shawn Ratigan.

“It’s huge, it’s huge,” said National Catholic Reporter Editor Denis Coday.

“It just doesn’t happen. A Bishop usually dies in his post or retires at age 75.

Finn is 62, and appears to be in good health.

The Kansas City-based National Catholic Reporter, an independent newspaper that covers the Catholic Church had called for Finn’s resignation because of his handling of the way he handled the case of former priest Shawn Ratigan.

Ratigan is now serving a long federal prison term for possession of child pornography.

Finn was convicted for not reporting Ratigan’s problems to civilian authorizes immediately.

“He thought he was doing the right thing, but he wasn’t. And I’m not the only one who feels that way,” said Joseph Vigliaturo, Virginia’s brother in-law.

Finn also was controversial for some area Catholics because of his conservative approach to the Church. He angered some Catholics because he replaced liberal priests and pastors.

The National Catholic Reporter citied a former church administrator’s report to Rome that the Kansas City diocese’s had had lost almost 25% of its members during Finn’s 10 years as Bishop.

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Diocese Confirms Bishop Finn Target of Vatican Probe
September 29, 2014

The Vatican is investigating Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, Missouri, two years after he was convicted of failing to report suspected abuse.

A Finn spokesman says the bishop was notified of the investigation by the papal ambassador in Washington.
A statement from the diocese to KMBC TV says, “Bishop Finn was notified of the process in advance by the Apostolic Nuncio. He cooperated with the process and was obligated by the terms of the visitation not to speak of it to anyone, including his senior staff and communications director. We don’t know what, if anything, happens from here and since the visitation is supposed to be secret, can’t say much more”.

The National Catholic Reporter was first to report the inquiry which is being conducted by the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops.

Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa visited the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph last week as part of the investigation. His spokeswoman said Monday only that the visit was private.

Finn is the highest-ranking U.S. church leader to be convicted for failing to take action on child sex abuse claims. He was sentenced to two years’ probation for not reporting a priest who had hundreds of pornographic photos of young girls.

KC Catholic Diocese Denies Bankruptcy Reports
March 14, 2014

(AP) – The Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese is not considering bankruptcy, despite having paid millions of dollars for legal fees and settlements in sexual abuse cases involving priests in recent years, a diocese spokesman said.

The diocese has paid $6 million in settlements on sex abuse cases since May, as well as $7 million on legal fees for sex abuse cases in the last two fiscal years. And it still faces more than two dozen sexual abuse lawsuits and a breach-of-contract case filed by plaintiffs who settled with the diocese for $10 million in 2008, The Kansas City Star reported.

Those costs have raised concerns about possible bankruptcy among parishioners, including a group that has petitioned Pope Francis to remove Bishop Robert Finn for his handling of the sexual abuse allegations.

“Among the active and retired clergy, there is a genuine and sincere concern of diocesan bankruptcy,” said Jeff Weis, a Kansas City Catholic who started a petition drive seeking Finn’s removal. “There’s a fear that this diocese is being driven into the ground financially.”

A diocesan spokesman said those concerns are unfounded.

“The diocese is not contemplating or in a position requiring bankruptcy,” said spokesman Jack Smith, adding the diocese’s insurance carrier covered the costs of the settlements.

KC Bishop Finn Announces Opposition To Jackson Co. Medical Research Tax
October 16, 2013

Kansas City’s Roman Catholic Bishop Robert Finn is the latest Kansas City official to come out against the Jackson County Medical Research Tax on the November 5 ballot.

The Kansas City Diocese released a letter signed by Finn, former Bishop Raymond Boland and a number of priests announcing their opposition to the tax proposal.

Boosters say the half-cent tax increase would generate $800 million over 20 years. The money would be used to attract cutting edge medical researchers to several Jackson County Hospitals (see previous posts).

In Finn’s set he says he object to the tax increase on three grounds.

He said a sales tax is regressive and is not based on any ability to pay, so it hits the working poor the hardest.

Finn says another problem is that the County is asking taxpayers to fund a national goal when basic needs in the city are not being met.

Finn adds there is nothing in the ballot language that prevents what he calls, “embryonic-destructive research”, and so he objects to the plan on that grounds.

This is the second top Kansas City figure in as many days to announce his stance on the issue.

Tuesday, Kansas City Mayor Sly James’ office released a statement says the Mayor finds the goals of the plan worthy, but he is not taking a stand on the issue.

Boosters had hoped Mayor James would support the tax increase question.

Earlier this week, Jackson County Legislator James Tindall endorsed the Research Tax. Tindall is also a Bishop in the Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ.