Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Few More Observations about Bishop Finn

  • Bill Donohue and others are claiming the pictures Fr. Ratigan took were not pornographic.  If they were not pornographic, why was Fr. Ratigan convicted of child pornography?  Are pictures of the naked vagina of a two-year old girl not pornographic?  Are pictures taken with a spy camera up the skirt of a sixth grader at her birthday party not pornographic?  Donohue should be ashamed of himself.

  • Bishop Finn clearly did not serve the people of his diocese; he let a dangerous priest have access to children without warning any of the children or their families.  But one of the people poorly served by Bishop Finn was the priest himself.  Fr. Ratigan is discovered to have taken hundreds of pornographic pictures of little girls at his parish, claims that he hugs them "to help them get to heaven", tries to kill himself, and is sent not to regular counseling with a professional therapist - but to a hand-picked fellow member of Opus Dei, a marriage counselor in Pennsylvania who simply talks to Fr. Ratigan over the phone!  (In the many reports I've read on this case, there is some confusion as to whether Fr. Ratigan ever saw this counselor in person; if so, it was for one or two sessions at most).  Fr. Ratigan deserved better than this.  He deserved real therapy with a counselor who specialized in priests with sexual perversions, not occasional phone chats with a marriage counselor who was foolish enough to buy into Ratigan's lie, "The principal is out to get me."  Fr. Ratigan was the victim here - a victim of a misdiagnosis and of Bp. Finn's attempt to sweep everything under the rug.

  • Bishop Finn allowed the diocese to spend $1.4 million to defend him, money taken from an account funded by Catholic Schools and parishes.  To defend him from misdemeanor charges!  Had Bp. Finn plea bargained from the get go, he would have gotten at worst the sentence he received - a year's probation, with suspended imposition of sentence.  There was no way he was going to jail on misdemeanor charges, even though the charges carried a year's imprisonment each as their potential max.  Nobody goes to jail on misdemeanor charges, least of all a first-time offender who's a leader in the community.  And the two Jackson County charges carried maximum fines of $1000 each.  The diocese spent nearly a thousand times that amount to defend him!  This is unconscionable, and shows the utter lack of contrition on Bishop Finn's part. 

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