Monday, October 17, 2011

Comparisons Between Bishop Finn and Me

It has been several days so I'm pretty sure that the news about Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of the Kansas City-St. Joseph was charged in Jackson County court on Friday for not releasing information about a priest being in possession of child pornography on his computer to the police.  

This whole incident has bothered my from the time I first found out about and blogged about it here back in May and then finding out Friday that Bishop Finn was charged really troubled me.  The question of whether or not I think he should have been charged is murky in my mind.  On the face, yes, if Bishop Finn failed to come forward I think he should be charged.   I just can't keep from thinking there it was a political statement from the Jackson County prosecutor.  Part of it may be from seeing time and time again Jackson County prosecutors not filing charges and seeing people get away with murder---literally.  Part of it is finding out that the prosecutor, Jean Peters Bakeer, is very pro-abortion. I can't help to think about where her rationale really lays.  But, politics aside, the bishop failed to do what he was supposed to do.  He tried to protect someone who should not have been protected.  He lacked leadership.  It reminds me of an incident having to do with me.  

Back in the spring, my captain seemed to be on my case about many things.  One of them was several of the  people who work for me always being late, a couple in particular.   One night, the captain came in and sure enough, one of the officers was a few minutes late.  I thought I heard the door and he told me to check to see if it was the officer.  I went out and they were not there.  I called the officer and they said they were a couple of blocks away.  I decided to cover for the officer so I went back into the room and told the captain, in front of other officers, that the late officer was out in the parking lot getting the car loaded up and that they were not late.   The captain did not believe me and went out to the parking lot and caught me in my lie and saw the officer pulling into the parking lot.

I tried to cover for the officer for a couple of reasons.  I didn't want the officer to get in trouble.  I wanted to deal with it in my own way.  And, I didn't want to face the heat myself for not having taken dealt with the officer being late in the past.   

I compare it to Bishop Finn dealing with Fr. Rattigan.  Perhaps--and I'm just guessing--Bishop Finn did not want Fr. Rattigan to get in trouble.  Perhaps Bishop Finn wanted to deal with it in his own way.  And perhaps, Bishop Finn did not want to face the heat for another pedophile priest.   I did the same thing Bishop Finn did---I failed to do what I was supposed to do.  I tried to protect someone who should not have been protected.  And, I lacked leadership.

I got in trouble for the incident.   I had to face the piper and take my lumps.  But I learned from the incident. Interestingly enough, talking with my captain several months later, he told that instead of not trusting me that he probably trusts me more than anyone else because he doesn't think I'm dumb enough to do that again.   I think the same goes for Bishop Finn.  I think we can trust Bishop Finn because he isn't dumb enough to do that again.  He has put steps in place to ensure it doesn't happen again.

Should be be charged.  Yeah, maybe he needs to face his lumps like I did.  I don't know.  What I do know is that we should pray for Bishop Finn--he is a good man.  We should pray for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph--it has a difficult time ahead of it.  And we should continue to pray for the families of St. Patrick's parish.  May God heal their pain and suffering.


  1. I think that's a good analogy, Jamie. What troubles me is that it seems that Bishop Finn was first alerted to picture on Fr. Ratigan's computer in December 2010 and he took what he had to authorities who counseled him that there was nothing that could be charged. So, then Bishop Finn removed Fr. Ratigan and ordered that he stay away from interactions with children. Fr. Ratigan disobeyed that.

    Then, Bishop Finn called for a full investigation which turned up more stuff which he then turned over to authorities and Fr. Ratigan was then charged and arrested. So, when Bishop Finn called for the full investigation, GOT FURTHER EVIDENCE AT THAT TIME, he then turned it over and did not "protect" Fr. Ratigan at that time.

    I don't know, I mean, coulda-woulda-shoulda, right? We are all armchair quarterbacks. In hindsight it seems easy to say, "Bishop Finn should have asked for a full investigation in December 2010!!" in our high and mighty voices, right? But he probed with what he had at the time with authorities and was counseled that he didn't really have anything.

    Sure, if he would have called for a full investigation in December, maybe they would have found everything then...but the concern was there that they could be putting an innocent man through the ringer for nothing punishable. in hindsight we know that's not the case, but in that moment...that's a tough call and I don't know that it means he lacked leadership. I think it was a tough decision and it appears he took the wrong turn, but it could have gone either way back then.

  2. On thing that strikes me is how sensational the media is making this for a misdemeanor charge.

    This is not a Felony - he won't do any "Hard time"

    People are making this a three ring circus when it should be a small blip on the radar.