How did the question move from "Why are we going to war?" to "Who is that man's wife". I asked the first question. Someone else asked the second. It worked. It's still working. - Sean Penn as Joe Wilson in Fair Game.
I am not so much bothered by Catholic readers vowing to assault me physically. I am not so much bothered by Catholic readers saying that I'm a pervert. I am not so much bothered by Catholic readers (clergy even) telling me that my writing amounts to "bullying" and "uniformed public rants" (see my post on Bishop Finn and some of the more recent of the 100 comments).
But I am bothered by the Lie. I am bothered by the Spin. And I am bothered by innocent people being blamed and not protected.
I wrote last week's piece because Bishop Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, in his defence of Bishop Finn, played right into the hands of the Tribalism that is fast seeking to become the sixth wound in the Body of Christ. The meme goes like this: If you criticize my guy, you are in league with the forces of darkness.
And now Bill Donohue has stepped into the fray, playing exactly the same game.
But this isn't about us vs. them, it's about sin and repenting of sin - through the grace of Christ.
So let's play Father Z. here and ask not "what does the prayer really say" but "what is the reality behind the spin"?
Below are Donohue's assertions with my comments in red.
Last December, crotch-shot pictures of young girls, fully clothed, were found on Fr. Ratigan’s computer; there was one photo of a naked girl. The very next day, the Diocese contacted a police officer and described the naked picture - No, the picture described was a theoretical picture that had not yet been seen, and this theoretical picture was described to an off-duty police officer informally by the Vicar General. The theoretical picture described bore no resemblance to any of the the actual pictures on the laptop.;
a Diocesan attorney was shown it. There was more than an "it", there were hundreds, and more than a diocesan attorney was shown these pictures.
Because the photo was not sexual in nature, it was determined that it did not constitute child pornography. Absolutely untrue. The photographs were all sexual in nature. They may or may not have met the legal standard for child pornography, but the police were not given the chance to determine that for six months. In any event, the failure of the diocese here is a moral one, even if not a legal one.
This explains why the Independent Review Board was not contacted—there was no specific allegation of child abuse. Tell the parents that these photos were not forms of child abuse, Mr. Donohue.
Think about that for a minute. Bill Donohue is saying that a U.S. diocese that had hundreds of pictures of little girl's crotches and many picutres of a naked sleeping two-year-old on a priest's laptop were right in failing to contact the Independent Review Board because "there was no specific allegation of child abuse". This is a despicable statement, Mr. Donohue. Despicable.
When Fr. Ratigan discovered that the Diocese had learned of his fetish, he attempted suicide. When he recovered, he was immediately sent for psychiatric evaluation. It is important to note that Bishop Finn, who never saw any of the photos, did this precisely because he was considering the possibility of removing Fr. Ratigan from ministry. After evaluation (the priest was diagnosed as suffering from depression, but was not judged to be a pedophile) - note that this diagnosis was so obviously wrong that many in the Chancery office advised Bishop Finn to seek a second opinion. He did not.,
Fr. Ratigan was placed in a spot away from children and subjected to various restrictions. No, he was placed at a retreat center where school children were sent on a regular basis and was allowed unsupervised access to them and to the families of his former parish, the families whose girls he was lusting after.
After he violated them, the Diocese called the cops. Actually, the off-duty police officer called the cops only after it became apparent that the Vicar General was dragging his feet - and by the time the police were brought in, Bishop Finn had allowed the laptop containing the original evidence and containing any other undiscovered caches of evidence to be destroyed.
That’s when more disturbing photos were found.
Donohue then goes on not to write more about this case, but to slam David Clohessy and SNAP.
But the question, you see, is not (as Bill Donohoe claims) "Is David Clohessy a liberal?" but "Why were the parents not contacted and the children not helped?" The question is not (as Bishop Naumann claims) "Is the Kansas City press pro-abortion?" but "Why was the minimum of decency and Christian charity not exercised here?" The question is not, "Who is this man's wife?" but "Why did we go to war?"
And let me be clear: I am not calling for Bishop Finn to resign, nor am I making any comment upon the prosecution of Bishop Finn.
In fact, I believe people when they tell me he's a good man, a sweet man, a kind man, and a serious follower of Christ.
And that is why I am calling on him merely to do the one thing that would do more than anything else to fix the damage to the Body of Christ - public penance.