Yael T. Abouhalkah

Bishop Robert Finn’s repulsive role in Catholic ordinations

Bishop Robert Finn should not be allowed to participate in the priestly ordinations next month of deacons in the Catholic church.
Bishop Robert Finn should not be allowed to participate in the priestly ordinations next month of deacons in the Catholic church. Special to The Star

Robert W. Finn is a disgraced Catholic bishop who has announced his resignation as leader of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese. He should not be presiding at the priestly ordinations of new deacons next month.

Yet, he is scheduled to do just that.

It’s a repulsive, reckless and yet a par-for-the-course decision by the local Catholic hierarchy, especially the new temporary leader of the diocese, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumman.

The event scheduled for May 23 is a slap in the face to the victims of child abuse at the hands of local Catholic priests over the years and the families of those victims.

It also sends the wrong message to the community at large, the many non-Catholics who have watched for years as the local diocese has been involved in costly settlements with abuse victims.

The revelation that top Catholic officials outside this area are allowing Finn to preside at the ordinations also does not send the right message that lessons have been learned during Finn’s presence as bishop in Kansas City.

Indeed, it appears that the Catholic officials think they can act with impunity and continue to allow a resigned bishop to not just keep his title but keep on doing his duties in this region.

One of the more worrisome comments in The Star story came from Deacon Joshua Barlett, scheduled to be ordained by Finn: “I do echo most everyone when I say we are very excited for Bishop Finn to perform the ordination. I started into this eight years ago. He’s led us all the way through.”

In other words, the new generation of Catholic priests in this area will be blessed by the old generation that is leaving such an ugly legacy for the church.

That’s disappointing.

Naumann and other church leaders keep calling on members of the local church to allow time for “healing and grace.”

Yet it appears too often that the people who were abused by the priests are the ones who are supposed to have all the grace in this situation, and be pressured to do the healing.

If Naumman and other local Catholic leaders were truly interested in “healing and grace,” they would not allow Finn to lead the ordinations in May.

That might disappoint seven men scheduled to become priests.

But it would send the right message to so many other people.

To reach editorial page columnist Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. Twitter @YaelTAbouhalkah.