Friday, September 07, 2012

First Bishop Found Guilty in Sex Abuse Scandal

Bishop guilty of shielding pedophile priest

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Bishop Robert W. Finn was found guilty Thursday on one count of failing to report suspected child abuse, becoming the first Roman Catholic bishop in the United States in the decades-long sexual abuse scandals to be convicted of shielding a pedophile priest….

The Roman Catholic Church’s extensive training in the cover-up of sex scandals has enabled them to really bite the bullet and enabled hundreds of bishops to avoid similar prosecution.

Of course, the Roman Catholic Church’s sexual scandals are not merely “decades-long”, but “centuries-long”. The Catholic historian Paul Johnson described the Humanist writer Erasmus as “... the bastard son of a priest, by a washerwoman” He continued:

“This was the common fate of a vast number of people at the time. It testified to the unwillingness of the Church to sanction clerical marriage, and its inability to stamp out concubinage. Probably as many as half the men in orders had ‘wives’ and families. Behind all the New Learning and the theological debates, clerical celibacy was, in its own way, the biggest single issue at the Reformation. It was a great social problem and, other factors being equal, it tended to tip the balance in favour of reform. As a rule, the only hope for a child of a priest was to go into the Church himself, thus unwillingly or with no great enthusiasm, taking vows which he might subsequently regret: the evil tended to perpetuate itself.”

A document produced in the 1530’s, “The Consilium de Emendanda Ecclesia,” for which you probably can’t find the text online because of the efficiency of the inquisition at the time (even though it was produced by a commission of cardinals including Contarini, Caraffa, Pole and Sadoleto, among others), lamented “too many of the clergy are at present unlearned, of low background and evil habits. Many are admitted to the priesthood when far too young. ... hence come innumerable scandals and a contempt for holy orders; hence veneration for divine service is not merely diminished but already almost dead.”

The English historian A.G. Dickens described this document:

The Consilium [de Emendanda Ecclesia] regards a sweeping reform as urgent, if only because the scandalous state of the monastic Orders sets an evil example for secular priests ... The final paragraphs deal with the corruptions of Renaissance Rome itself: the swarm of sordid and ignorant priests in the city, the harlots who are followed around by clerics and by the noble members of the cardinals’ households, the appalling feuds and factions [among pope and cardinals].

From (A.G. Dickens, “The Counter Reformation,” pg. 102.)

Congratulations to Rome for snookering the world for all these years.


  1. After all this time, the first bishop to be found guilt?
    What about Bernard Law?

    the wheels of justice grind slowly, but this shows that are still grinding.

    1. Hi Ken -- Law has been living out his retirement in Rome, so far as I can tell, out of reach of the US criminal justice system.

      I don't know that I'd call this "justice". Finn was one of the crumbs. Most of them got away.