Local News Spotlight

Catholic group calls for KC Bishop Robert Finn to resign

Updated: 2012-09-17T04:28:39Z

By KAREN DILLON

The Kansas City Star

Members of a national Catholic organization on Sunday demanded the resignation of Bishop Robert W. Finn, who was convicted this month of failing to report child sexual abuse.

The National Survivor Advocates Coalition, which has its headquarters in Dayton, Ohio, held a news conference at Barney Allis Plaza in downtown Kansas City — in the shadow of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception — to make its demand.

“A criminally convicted bishop cannot lead. Bishop Finn must resign or be removed by Pope Benedict,” said coalition chairwoman Kristine Ward. “Every hour he remains bishop revictimizes survivors and their families.”

Finn, who is head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, is the highest-ranking U.S. Catholic cleric to be convicted in the church’s decades-long child sexual abuse scandal.

Finn was convicted of one misdemeanor for failing to report child abuse suspicions against the Rev. Shawn Ratigan.

Ratigan pleaded guilty in August to five federal counts of producing or attempting to produce child pornography.

Jack Smith, a spokesman for the diocese, said there would be no comment about the call for Finn’s resignation.

“The bishop continues to be focused on his work,” he said.

Ward said the coalition now has a local officer in Kansas City, Annette Hodges, and vowed to continue to call for the bishop’s resignation.

More than a dozen Catholics from Ohio and Boston traveled to Kansas City to deliver their message. After the press conference, they walked around the area carrying placards.

To reach Karen Dillon, call 816-234-4430 or send email to kdillon@kcstar.com.

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