Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles Defend Bishop Finn
LifeSiteNews, by Lisa Bourne abridged
Denigration of Bishop Finn intensified in 2010 after he learned from his vicar general that a diocesan priest had inappropriate pictures of young girls on his personal computer. The diocese immediately notified a ranking Kansas City police officer, and the pictures were provided to legal counsel as well. Both opined that the photos did not constitute child pornography as they did not contain sexual conduct or contact as defined by Missouri law.
The priest was immediately called and told to appear at the chancery the next day, but he did not. He was instead found unconscious in his garage after an attempted suicide. He remained unconscious for four days, and was not expected to live.
After recovering and undergoing psychiatric care, Bishop Finn removed the priest from pastoral duties, and said he was not allowed electronic devices or any interaction with children. When the priest breached those restrictions, the diocese turned him over to civil authorities. Detectives then discovered images of a pornographic nature at the priest’s family’s home, and he was charged that same day.
Misdemeanor charges were filed against the bishop and the diocese. In order to spare the victims a drawn out jury trial and have the charges against the diocese dropped, which would have likely resulted in crippling insurance increases, Bishop Finn submitted to a one day bench trial and was indicted and found guilty of a misdemeanor for not reporting suspected child abuse.
Many see what took place as a political vendetta against the bishop for his orthodoxy and an obvious attempt to make him an example in the Church sex abuse scandal, as the specifics of his case do not involve him perpetrating or willfully facilitating abuse.
The independent investigation ordered by Bishop Finn did find fault with the diocese’s handling of some parts of the process, but the lapses do not amount to criminal conduct, according to Missouri attorney Michael Quinlan, who said the statute under which Bishop Finn was charged, in fact, doesn’t even apply to the circumstances of the case.
Here is what the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles told LifeSiteNews in an exclusive interview.
“Bishop Finn has always been a solicitous and loving spiritual father to our community since the moment he welcomed us,” she said. The prioress’ affirming and joy-filled assessment refutes the negative caricature of the bishop rendered in the public eye.”
“Bishop Finn has only striven to carry out the mandate given to him before all else by the Church – the salvation of souls,” Mother Cecilia stressed. “But many have forgotten that the Church exists primarily and fundamentally for this: to seek first the Kingdom of God.”
She praises the bishop’s gracious response in the face of attack.
“Regarding the hostility and persecution shown toward our Bishop, I must say with complete admiration, that he has never displayed or spoken in a manner showing any anger or hostility in retaliation of the heaps of it he has himself received,” said Mother Cecilia. “He has always accepted it meekly, and simply continued on faithfully and perseveringly with the commission the Church has given him to build up the mystical body of Christ in truth and charity.”
She credits his caring and committed regard for her sisters as integral to the blooming of the Benedictines.
“He has been a tremendous source of inspiration to each of the sisters,” Mother Cecilia said. “His heroic witness to the faith of the Church, and his quiet determination to reform the diocese despite tremendous opposition is like having one of the saints you read about in history right before your eyes.”
“I guarantee you that Church history will be looking back and telling a different story about this man than the newspapers are at present,” said Mother Cecilia. “There have been many saints that have not been vindicated until long after their death. I have no doubt he will be one of them.”