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                  October 15, 2011

Nearly A  Decade After Law Was Broken

by Thomas A. Droleskey

There are times when the headlines interrupt other projects upon which one may be working. After days of being buried in my book project and attending to domestic duties, yesterday, October 14, 2011, was nothing other thana nonstop flurry of headlines, each worthy of its own brief article for the few readers of this site.

This commentary will deal with the indictment by a grand jury in Jackson County, Missouri, of the conciliar "bishop" of Kansas City-Saint Joseph, Robert Finn, on one misdemeanor charge of failing to report to the police in a timely manner the obscene images of children that had been found on the computer of one of his presbyters, "Father" Shawn Ratigan.

Here is the news report from the Kansas City Star:

A Jackson County grand jury has indicted Bishop Robert Finn and the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph on misdemeanor charges of failure to report child abuse.

The charges, announced at a news conference today, make Finn — leader of the 134,000-member diocese — the highest-ranking Catholic official in the nation to face criminal prosecution in a child sexual abuse case.

The charges stemmed from the long-simmering controversy surrounding Father Shawn Ratigan, who is facing child pornography charges in Clay County and federal court.

“This is a significant charge,” said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker. “To my knowledge, a charge like this has not been leveled before.”

In a statement, the diocese said its lawyers entered a plea of not guilty for the diocese. According to Gerald Handley and J.R. Hobbs, lawyers for Bishop Finn, the bishop also entered a plea of not guilty

“Bishop Finn denies any criminal wrongdoing and has cooperated at all stages with law enforcement, the grand jury, the prosecutor’s office, and the Graves Commission,” said Handley. “We will continue our efforts to resolve this matter.”


The charge against Finn carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The diocese faces only the fine.

Word of the charges quickly rippled through the Catholic world, drawing surprise.

“For a bishop to be indicted is absolutely extraordinary,” said the Rev. Thomas J. Reese, senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University and author of “Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church.”

“This is a first. And in terms of the Catholic Church, this is an extraordinary move which is going to signal that the times have changed. Neither people nor government are going to put up with any kind of activity that looks like a cover-up.”

Baker emphasized that the pursuit of the case was the result of a grand jury investigation.

“I’ve done my best to make sure that this was a fair process,” she said. “This has nothing — nothing — to do with the Catholic faith. This is about the facts of the case, nothing more. This is about protecting children.”

Baker said the grand jury issued a sealed indictment on Oct. 6, but Finn was out of the country and did not return until late Thursday. He and lawyers representing the diocese appeared in court shortly before the news conference and entered their pleas, Baker said.

Finn and the diocese had reasonable cause to believe that the Ratigan may have abused a child but did not report it to authorities between Dec. 16, 2010, and May 11, 2011, the indictment alleged. Evidence of that concern, the indictment said, was previous suspicions about Ratigan’s behavior around children and the discovery in December 2010 of hundreds of photos of children on Ratigan’s laptop.

Those photos included images of a child’s naked vagina and upskirt pictures focusing on the child’s crotch.

Finn and the diocese also must have had concerns about Ratigan’s conduct because they had restricted him from being around children after the laptop images were discovered, according to the charges.

A diocesan official reported Ratigan to police on May 11.

State law includes clergy as those who are required to report child abuse when they suspect it.

The grand jury did not charge Monsignor Robert Murphy, Finn’s vicar general and second in command, who handled much of the diocese’ response to the Ratigan case as it developed in the winter and the spring.

Baker declined to comment on Murphy’s role in the case. Like Finn, Murphy has cooperated with authorities investigating the case and appeared at least twice before local grand juries. Jackson County court records also list him as the highest ranking cleric available to testify for prosecutors.

Two local parishioners were saddened and troubled by news of the charges.

Matthew Copple of Gladstone, whose child attends St. Patrick School, said he was troubled.

“The man may have been guilty of incompetence and negligence but I do not see him as a criminal,” Copple said. “That seems wrong to me. Let’s punish the people who committed the deed. I don’t see the need for the bishop to have a criminal record or be guilty of a crime.”

Mike Murtha, attends St. John Francis Regis for 19 years, said he would continue to support Finn.

“It is sad that it has come to that,” Murtha said. “He has admitted to his failings and we will continue to pray for him.”

The Jackson County grand jury began meeting after federal authorities filed child pornography charges against Ratigan this year. According to the findings of the diocese’s own recent investigation, church officials knew for five months about troubling photos of young girls on Ratigan’s computer and did not formally notify police or state child abuse authorities. Under Missouri law, clergy must report any suspected child abuse.

Finn testified before the Jackson County grand jury on Sept. 16. At least five top diocesan administrators or advisers were called to testify before the panel, with Finn being the highest church official to appear.

After testifying, Finn told The Kansas City Star that “we’re doing the best we can to cooperate with law enforcement.”

Among those testifying before the Jackson County panel was Murphy, who had come under fire for the way he handled the Ratigan case. Others who testified include diocesan spokeswoman Rebecca Summers and a Kansas City police captain whose opinion diocesan officials sought on a photo that Ratigan allegedly took. The captain also serves on the diocese’s review board.

Diocesan officials came under sharp criticism for failing to take immediate action when concerns were raised about Ratigan’s behavior.

In May 2010, the principal of a Catholic school complained to the diocese about what she described as Ratigan’s inappropriate actions around children. Other than counseling Ratigan to moderate his conduct, however, his church supervisors took little substantial action.

In December, diocesan officials found what prosecutors later alleged was child pornography on Ratigan’s computer. The diocese said it contacted a police officer and described “one of the more disturbing images” from Ratigan’s computer, asking whether it constituted child porn, and the officer said it did not. Police later confirmed that the officer was Capt. Richard Smith, but said that he was told only about one photo and was not made aware that other, more graphic images were stored on Ratigan’s computer.

The church relieved Ratigan of his duties as pastor of St. Patrick Catholic Church in the Northland and assigned him to live at an Independence mission house. While there, according to a federal indictment, he allegedly attempted to take pornographic photos of a 12-year-old girl.

Ratigan was charged in Clay County in May with three counts of possession of child pornography. Federal grand jurors later indicted him on 13 counts of production, attempted production and possession of child porn.

After Ratigan’s arrest, Finn publicly apologized for his handling of the case.

Last month, a diocese-commissioned investigation led by former U.S. Attorney Todd Graves found that diocesan leaders failed to follow their own policies and procedures in responding to reports of child sexual abuse.

The investigation found that “individuals in positions of authority reacted to events in ways that could have jeopardized the safety of children in diocesan parishes, schools and families.”

Graves said that the investigation “identified shortcomings, inaction and confusing procedures, but we believe Bishop Finn and the leadership of the diocese understand the gravity of the issues and take these recommendations seriously.”

The diocese released the findings in a 141-page report compiled by Graves’ law firm. Finn called the recommendations “comprehensive, thoughtful and detailed.”

“We understand their importance and are focusing on them so we establish clear, strong and unequivocal procedures for all diocesan personnel and volunteers that ensure the safety of our children today and into the future,” the bishop said in a statement at the time.

A second grand jury — this one in Clay County — also has been hearing testimony in recent weeks that focuses on child sexual abuse issues. Finn and Murphy spent several hours testifying before that panel on Sept. 27. (Bishop Finn and diocese are indicted.)


As can be seen from this news story, there are indeed some "conservative" and "traditionally-minded" Catholics attached to the structures of the counterfeit church of conciliarism who are protesting that "Bishop" Finn has suffered enough, that he has admitted his mistake. Othesr will protest that Finn is being targeted because he is a "conservative" and "orthodox" and "open" to the modernized version of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition, that this is the "revenge" of "progressive," "dissenting" Catholics who have long used the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph as their personal laboratory of doctrinal and liturgical and pastoral experimentation, improvisation and innovation upon Finn. Still others will say that the Jackson County prosecutors are seeking to "persecute" what they think is the Catholic Church, especially since the corporate entity of the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph was indicted along with "Bishop" Finn. Such protests have not a shred of credibility.

Let's face facts.

Prosecutors in one part of the United States of America after another have let one diocesan "bishop" after another skate after decades of engaging in the systematic cover-up of clerical abuse at the same time as victims were stonewalled browbeaten and intimidated by chancery officials and by attorneys for insurance companies, thus victimizing the victims and their families all over again. Many abusive clergymen were promoted into key positions or transferred to different parishes without a word of reprimand or transferred to other dioceses to abuse innocent victims there as well.

The names of the conciliar "bishops" who have, at least up until now, skated with slapped wrists that bruised tender egos and shattered the reputations as rank clericalists are legion. Here is a list of just a few of those conciliar "bishops:"

1. Joseph Bernardin, transferred from being the conciliar archbishop of Cincinnati, Ohio, to being the conciliar archbishop of Chicago, Illinois.

2. Francis George, Bernardin's successor, who knew all about the immoral activities of Daniel Leo Ryan (see below) and who personally protected "Father" Daniel McCormick, a serial abuser, even though he knew of McCormick's guilt.

3. Roger Mahony, the conciliar "bishop" of Fresno, California, and then the conciliar "archbishop" of Los Angeles, California, who testified before a grand jury that he did not think that a priest who had an inclination to child pornography was unfit to serve in a pastoral assignment.

4. Tod Brown, the conciliar "bishop" of Boise, Idaho, and then the conciliar "bishop" of San Diego, California, who has protected his own share of clerical abuses.

5. Sylvester Ryan, the retired conciliar "bishop" of Monterey, California, who had an actual, honest-to-goodness baby-killer serving on his priest-abuse advisory board, and who helped to cover-up for a clerical abuser. (See the news story about the baby-killing's "service" to the Diocese of Monterey at Catholic Citizens.)

6. Robert Brom, the conciliar "bishop" of Duluth, Minnesota, and then the conciliar 'bishop" of San Diego, California, who presided over the San Diego diocese's bankruptcy proceedings caused by the cover-up of clergy abuse cases.

7. George Patrick Ziemann, the disgraced former conciliar "bishop" of Santa Rosa, California, who was an abuser himself.

8.. Joseph Keith Symons, the disgraced former conciliar "bishop" of Palm Beach, Florida, another abuser and friend of abusers.

10. Daniel Leo Ryan, the disgraced former conciliar "bishop" of Springfield, Illinois (see Roman Catholic Faithful Accuses Bishop Ryan of Harassment and More Witnesses Emerge in Bishop Ryan Case).

11. Robert Lynch, the conciliar "bishop" of Saint Petersburg, Florida, who gave encouragement to Michael Schiavo's efforts to starve and dehydrate his wife, Mrs. Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo, and who has to pay out monies to settle claim of harassment that had been filed against him.

12. Robert Joseph Banks, a former conciliar auxiliary "bishop" in the Archdiocese of Boston, Massachusetts, and then the conciliar "bishop" of Green Bay, Wisconsin, who participated in the Boston cover-up.

13. Bernard Law, the disgraced former conciliar "archbishop" of Boston, Massachusetts, who was appointed to that post by Wojtyla/John Paul II. Law, who presided over the systematic cover-up and protection of predator priests and presbyters in Boston, was appointed by Wojtyla/John Paul II to be the archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in 2004.

14. Thomas Daily, the former conciliar "bishop" of Palm Beach, Florida, and the former conciliar "bishop" of Brooklyn, New York, who was one of Law's chief enablers in protecting the likes of the notorious Father Paul Shanley.

15. William Murphy, the conciliar "bishop" of Rockville Centre, New York, who was yet another participant in the great Boston-cover-up.

16. Richard Lennon, the conciliar "bishop" of Cleveland, Ohio, who was a major supporter of Bernard Law's policies while an auxiliary "bishop" there.

17. John McCormick, the now retired conciliar "bishop" of Manchester, New Hampshire, who has been an enabler of predator priests and presbyters there as he had been as an auxiliary "bishop" in Boston, Massachusetts.

18. William Levada,  who had a record of protecting clerical abusers as the conciliar "archbishop" of Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco, California (see Surely He Jests).

19. George Niederauer, the conciliar "bishop" of Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1995, promoted by Ratzinger/Benedict to be the conciliar "archbishop" of San Francisco, California, in 2005, who, along with Tod Brown, wrote a letter seeking leniency for a convicted clerical abuser (see Makes Sense As Clear As Crystal).

20. Edward Egan, the former conciliar "archbishop" of New York who, as the conciliar "bishop" of Bridgeport, Connecticut, went so far as to assert that his diocese could be held legally liable for the actions of priests as the latter were "independent contractors" paid by their parishes, not by their dioceses.

21. Rembert G. Weakland, the disgraced former conciliar "archbishop" of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, whose warfare against the Faith that was of international scope should have been stopped long before he was forced to resign in disgrace in 2002. He remains in "good standing" in the conciliar structures.  (See Weak In Mind, Weakest Yet In Faith and Just A Matter of Forgiveness?)

22. William Skylstad, the now retired conciliar "bishop" of Spokane, Washington, who presided over the bankruptcy filing of the Diocese of Spokane to forestall paying victims of clerical abuse.


This list does not even include the indictment, handed down on February 10, 2011, of Monsignor James Lynn, who had headed the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's clergy office, on charges of failing to report clerical abusers to police. Philadelphia County District Attorney Seth Williams also considered indicting Anthony "Cardinal" Bevilacqua, who had served as the conciliar "archbishop" of Philadelphia from February 11, 1988, to July 15, 2003:


Msgr. William Lynn, a Philadelphia pastor who headed the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s office of clergy from 1992 to 2004, has been indicted on two counts on endangering the welfare of a child.

In a report released along with the indictments, a grand jury indicated that they had also considered charges against retired Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.

District Attorney Seth Williams said at a press conference that Msgr. Lynn “supervised two of the abusers . . . knew they were dangerous, and chose to expose them to new victims.” The indictment marks the first time that an American chancery official has faced criminal charges for covering up evidence of clerical abuse.

The indictments came as the result of a grand-jury investigation that produced a stinging indictment of the Philadelphia archdiocese and its response to sexual abuse. The grand jury's report charged that archdiocesan programs allegedly designed to assist victims of abuse have in fact been used to protect accused clerics and Church officials, and expresses suspicions that priests who have been credibly charged with abuse are still in active ministry, despite the US bishops' clear policy guidelines requiring their suspension.

The grand jury report was the 2nd such inquiry into possible criminal behavior in the Philadelphia archdiocese. And earlier report, issued in 2005, had contained a blistering denunciation of the archdiocese. But at that time, the grand jury stopped short of recommending criminal charges, explaining that there was not adequate evidence to support successful prosecution of acts that had taken place within the statue of limitations. The new grand jury found such evidence, thanks to the emergence of new witnesses.

Indicted and arrested along with Msgr. Lynn were four priests accused of abusing boys. Three priests are accused of raping one boy between 1998 and 2000; the fourth is accused of raping a 14-year-old boy in 1996. The grand jury report recounts the priests' offenses in lurid detail, and underlines evidence that Msgr. Lynn was fully informed about the priests' misconduct.

The grand jury report indicates that the panel seriously considered criminal charges against Cardinal Bevilacqua. In a section that clearly indicates the depth of suspicion focused on the archdiocese, the report explains:



The Cardinal’s top lawyer appeared before the grand jury and testified that the Cardinal, at 87, suffers from dementia and cancer. We are not entirely sure what to believe on that point. We do know, however, that over the years Cardinal Bevilacqua was kept closely advised of Monsignor Lynn’s activities, and personally authorized many of them. On the other hand, we do not have good evidence about the Cardinal’s actions specifically as to Father Avery and Father Brennan, the two priests whose treatment forms the basis for the endangering charge against Lynn. The documents clearly show what Lynn knew in these two cases and what he did or didn’t do about it. But that direct link is lacking as to Cardinal Bevilacqua. On balance, we cannot conclude that a successful prosecution can be brought against the Cardinal – at least for the moment. New reports of abuse continue to come in.


In announcing the indictments, district attorney Williams identified himself as a Catholic. He said:


The criminal acts that occurred here are not representative of my religion. They are the bad acts of individual men. I recognize all the good that the Roman Catholic Church has done and continues to do in the world. But I am sworn to uphold the law, and I will do what is necessary to protect children. There must be more separation between the things the church does in the name of helping victims and the things the church does in an effort to protect itself from financial liability and ill repute…..I love my church but I detest the criminal behavior of priests who abuse or allow the abuse of children. (Grand jury indicts Philadelphia chancery official.)



District Attorney Seth Williams put the matter very well, and it is a little late for those claiming that it is within the competency of the Catholic Church to punish clerical malefactors for their crimes. Why is late to claim to such a thing? Let me be brief as the hour on the clock indicates that it is very late.

First, what prosecutors think is the Catholic Church is but her counterfeit ape, admitting that some of the clerical abuse that has come to light in the past twenty years did indeed occur under the watch of true bishops. Although the covering up for the moral crimes of priests and consecrated religious is really nothing new, what is new is the spread of these crimes because many of the conciliar "bishops" and their chancery factotums have systematically recruited men with effeminate qualities and/or men who were known to be--or at least susceptible of being formed into--practitioners of perversity. A related difference is that there has been a fostering of an atmosphere sympathetic to the agenda of what Mrs. Randy Engel calls "the homosexualist collective" in one diocese and one parish after another in the past forty years (see Peeking into the Old Conciliar Fowler's Lair, part one and Peeking into the Old Conciliar Fowler's Lair, part two).

Second, no one who adheres to the ethos of conciliarism can speak of letting what they think is the Catholic Church "handle" crimes of clerical abuse. The "popes" of conciliarism have rejected the necessity of the confessional Catholic civil state, thereby surrendering unto the civil state was belonged formerly to the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages of Christendom. Yes, indeed. Live By Separation of Church and State? Die By Separation of Church and State (see also Not So "Deplorable" After All).

Third, the conciliar authorities have made one promise after another voting to approve their so-called Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People that was adopted by the conciliar "bishops" at their semi-annual meeting, held in Dallas, Texas, in June of 2002 (and revised in 2005 and again this year, 2011; nothing in the counterfeit church of conciliarism is stable, you see). The "Dallas Charter" was supposedly based in a "zero tolerance" policy for clerical abuse. "Zero tolerance" has been honored in the breach in a number of instances in the past nine years, and that is why prosecutors in some locales have become impatient with apologies and promises of "reform." It has been nearly a decade since the wretched reign of Bernard "Cardinal" Law was ended in Boston. Some prosecutors have had quite enough.

Thus, my good and few readers, "Bishop" Robert Finn is being forced to walked the gauntlet of the civil justice system at this time because he failed to follow the policies of his own conciliar "episcopal" conference and because he himself as admitted that he did not even follow his own diocesan guidelines. It appears as though the prosecutors in Kansas City, Missouri, are sending a message to other "bishops" around the country: the civil law will have no more "zero tolerance" policy towards them and their various efforts to obstruct justice. "Bishop" Finn brought this all on himself.

Authorities in the conciliar Vatican are likely to erupt in all manner of howls and screams when they respond to the indictment of "Bishop" Finn. There will be sanctimony aplenty. There will be pleas for "mercy" and "compassion," noting that "Bishop" Finn has already admitted his mistakes and has apologized for them. This is all window dressing, as occurred last year when the Vatican protested about the investigation conducted by the civil authorities in Belgium (see Live By Separation of Church and State? Die By Separation of Church and State and Not So "Deplorable" After All). Remember, these are the same people who believed that the reported of the Murphy Commission in Ireland was "unfair" and that "unjust" conclusions have bene drawn about the involvement of the false "pontiff," Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI himself. One can dismiss the Vatican's reaction to the indictment of "Bishop" Finn, who is affiliated with Opus Dei (see Not The Work of God), in the following manner: Care Not For God's Truth, Care Not For Any Truth.

There is, most unfortunately, no civil remedy for the crimes against Faith, Worship and Morals that have been committed the conciliar revolutionaries against the souls of Catholics of all ages in the past fifty years. The conciliar revolutionaries do not accept their spiritual crimes as such, no less believe that they owe any kind of apology for them. We must, therefore, continue to pray to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary in reparation for these crimes as we pray for the conversion of the conciliar revolutionaries back to the practice of the Catholic Faith before they die.

There is thus no need to belabor these points, which have been made in numerous articles on this site, among them being Of Worldwide Scope, Always Evading Root Causes, Swinging Clubs To Protect The Club, Surely He Jests, "Canonizing" A Man Who Protected Moral Derelicts, More Than A Matter of Legality, Audio Presentation: Scandal In a Church of Apostasy.WMA, "Fall Guys" Aren't Usually "Stand-Up Guys", Apologizing to Everyone Save For God Himself, Not Going Down With the Conciliar Ship, Touchy, Touchy, Chastisements Under Which We Must Save Our Souls, part two, Not So "Deplorable" After All, and Future Home of the "Reform of the Reform.


Obviously, we must, as always, spend time in prayer before Our Lord's Real Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament and pray as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit, using the shield of Our Lady's Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel and the weapon of her Rosary to protect us from the contagion of apostasy and betrayal that is all around us. We must also, of course, make reparation for our own many sins by offering up all of our prayers and sufferings and sacrifices and humiliations and penances and mortifications and fastings to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

This will all pass. The triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary will be made manifest, and it will be a triumph beyond all telling.

Let us remember these words of Saint Teresa of Avila, the great reformer of the Carmelites whose feast we celebrate today, that teach us to reject breaches of regularity and abuses as "exaggerations:"

"Know this: it is by very little breaches of regularity that the devil succeeds in introducing the greatest abuses. May you never end up saying: 'This is nothing, this is an exaggeration.'" (Saint Teresa of Avila, Foundations, Chapter Twenty-nine)



Viva Cristo Rey! Vivat Christus Rex!

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.



Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us, on this your feast day!

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.

Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.

Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.

Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.

Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.

Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.

Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.

See also: A Litany of Saints

Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now?

© Copyright 2011, Thomas A. Droleskey. All rights reserved.