Archive of June 7, 2011

Eden's new book: Saints can help in healing childhood sex abuse wounds

Washington D.C., Jun 7, 2011 (CNA) - Dawn Eden, a popular Catholic author known for her work on chastity in the modern world, is set to release a new book on the central role of the saints in healing wounds from childhood sexual abuse.

“I was struck by the sheer number of saints who experienced childhood sexual abuse – there were many more than I had imagined – and how relevant their stories were to people living in the present day,” Eden told CNA in a June 2 interview.

Her book, “My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints,” is currently slated for a Spring 2012 release by Ave Maria Press.

Eden, the author of the 2006 bestseller of “The Thrill of the Chaste,” said the inspiration for her new book came from her discussions on chastity with thousands of young people.

“It became apparent to me that a major reason people resist the Church's teachings on chastity and the culture of life is because they have suffered childhood sexual abuse, or have witnessed sexual inappropriateness,” Eden said.

She said that victims of this kind of abuse often believe that they are impure or have been defiled by what happened to them.

As a result of this, Christ's beatitude promise in the Gospels to the pure of heart “strikes them not as a blessing within reach, but, rather, as an unfair condemnation of them for something they are powerless to change.”

“I want to help these victims find healing in Christ through the lives and witnesses of saints who experienced wounds like theirs,” she said.

Eden explained that in the course of her research, she discovered that the saints' lives relate to the issue of childhood sexual abuse in two ways.

“First, many of them were sexually abused or were subject to other forms of abuse as children,” she said. “Children feel this invasion much more keenly than do adults, because of their natural dependence.”

Eden cited examples of saints who were sexually victimized as children, such as young Roman martyrs and St. Maria Goretti – a 20th century girl who was fatally stabbed while resisting sexual assault.

“In the United States of the 21st century, children may not know what it is like to be at the mercy of a pagan emperor, but many know what it is like to be at the mercy of their mother’s violent, alcoholic live-in lover, as was Blessed Laura Vicuña,” Eden noted. 

“They are not thrown to the lions, but many are thrown into a sexually invasive home environment, as was St. Thomas Aquinas,” she added.

“They may not know the breaking wheel, but many have their young hearts broken, like Blessed Margaret of Castello, whose parents abandoned her because she was blind and physically deformed.”

Eden said that the other way in which the saints' lives relate to the issue is through the way they lived out the Church's teaching on redemptive suffering.

“God does not merely heal our wounds; if we unite our hearts to Him through His Son, whose own wounds are now glorified, He heals us through our wounds,” she said.

Eden also addressed the issue of sexual abuse within the Church, saying that as a faith community, we “have all heard about the very real and often devastating experiences of those who, as children, were abused by clergy or by members of religious orders.”

“It is very important that the truth about what has happened be brought into the open.”

“However,” she added, “there is a much larger population whose pain is not being discussed, and should be.”

Eden said that the overwhelming majority of child sex abuse instances are committed not by clergy, but by family members – about one-third to one-half of cases – or other acquaintances of the abused.

She noted that according to a 2010 government study, nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 14 men in America report having been abused as children.

“Such painful memories afflict at least one person on every pew in every parish,” Eden said.

“I want to let these members of the Mystical Body of Christ know that they are not alone, they are not forgotten, and they have more friends in heaven than they realize,” she underscored.

On a deeper level, Eden said she wants to highlight the truth that understanding the fatherhood of God is essential before one can comprehend the idea of marriage.

We “have to understand ourselves as children of God before we can understand ourselves as the Bride of Christ,” she said. 

“In the rush to teach the faithful about the connection between spousal love and the love of the Trinity, I believe we have unwittingly left behind many people who cannot comprehend spousality because they lack a foundational understanding of God's fatherly love,” Eden said.

“These are the people I hope to help bring back to the fold.”

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Archbishop Gomez tells new priests their mission is to evangelize

Los Angeles, Calif., Jun 7, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) -

Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles told a diverse group of new priests during their ordination Mass that they have a responsibility to make God known in a culture that has forgotten him.

“We have a special responsibility for the new evangelization – not only for the new evangelization of Los Angeles and California,” he said, “but also for the new evangelization of our country, our continent, and our world.”

Of the six new priests that Archbishop Gomez ordained at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on June 4, one was born in Mexico, three in Korea and two in the U.S. to immigrant families.

“We are celebrating this morning a special moment of grace and joy as we ordain our brothers – Augustine, Ernesto, Francisco, John, José de Jesus and Michael – to the priesthood of Jesus Christ.”

“This is a beautiful day for our great Church of Los Angeles,” he said.

In his homily, Archbishop Gomez referenced the day's reading from the Gospel of John, saying that the disciples “rejoiced” when they saw Christ after his resurrection.

“This is the secret that every priest knows in his own personal way: There is joy in the Lord’s presence!”

The archbishop told the new priests that fundamentally, “Jesus Christ came to serve, not to be served. He came to give his life as a ransom for many.”

“The priesthood is not about power or prestige,” he underscored. “It is not an office or an occupation. It is a sacrament. It is a response to God’s call to serve souls.”

And it’s because of this call that priests are needed now more than ever, he said.

“My brothers, the gap separating men and women from God is growing wider every day in our society,” Archbishop Gomez said. “Many people feel that God is remote from the concerns and cares of their lives. More and more people today say they do not believe in God or in any religion.”

“This is so sad. And it is unacceptable to God.”

The archbishop noted that Archdiocese of Los Angeles in particular has been tasked as a “missionary Church.”

Archbishop Gomez then recalled the life of Blessed Junípero Serra, the Spanish Franciscan who lived in the 18th century and is called the “Apostle to California.”

“You are called to be missionary priests like him, my brothers. I hope you will study his life and look to him as an inspiration and an intercessor in your own priesthood.”

The Franciscan lived his priesthood with a “zeal for souls,” and took joy in his daily duties of preaching and teaching, hearing confessions, offering Mass, and saying his prayers, Archbishop Gomez said.

Blessed Junípero was also known for tracing the sign of the cross on people’s foreheads and saying to them, “Ama a Dios! Love God!” which became a form of greeting throughout the California missions.

“I believe this is a beautiful sign of what you are called to do in your ministry of service in our great city and Archdiocese,” Archbishop Gomez said.

“Through your ministries, you must trace the sign of the cross on every person you meet. You must trace the sign of the cross, this great sign of God’s love, on our city and our world.”

“This is a mission for all of us who are baptized, my brothers and sisters. In everything we do, in all our words and actions, we must proclaim to our city and our world, Ama a Dios! Love God!”

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Pakistani Christians shocked by proposed Bible ban

Lahore, Pakistan, Jun 7, 2011 (CNA) - A Catholic bishop in Pakistan is expressing concern about an Islamic group's petition to ban the Bible. The extremist group says the Christian scriptures contain “blasphemy” and “pornography.”

“We Christians are in Pakistan, and we have a right to our Bible,” said Auxiliary Bishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore. On June 6, he told the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need that people were “very shocked” by the campaign.

The Islamist political party Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islami has asked Pakistan's Supreme Court to declare certain Bible passages as “blasphemous.” If their demand is not met, the political party will request that the Bible be formally banned in the country.

Christians who criticize Islam already face persecution under Pakistan's “blasphemy law.”

But Lahore's auxiliary bishop does not expect the Bible itself to be condemned officially. He said most Muslims respect the Bible more than the members of Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islami.

The Islamist political party's leader, Maulana Abdul Rauf Farooqi, says that some Bible passages describe prophetic figures, such as David and Solomon, as engaging in moral crimes not mentioned in the Quran.

Farooqi acknowledged that the proposed ban was partly a response to U.S. pastor Terry Jones, who was involved with a burning of the Quran in March.

Bishop Shaw called for calm, saying that the request was an attempt to provoke Christians.

“Problems like this are happening one after the other,” he said. “If we give the right response, the matter will die away just like any other debate that suddenly flares up.”

Pakistan has been embroiled in a number of religious and political conflicts this year.

Federal minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti and Governor of Punjab Salman Taseer were both killed after expressing their disagreement with the blasphemy law.

Taseer, killed in March, sought to grant pardon to Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five sentenced to death under the blasphemy law.

Bhatti was a Catholic who pursued religious freedom and peace in Pakistan, despite being subjected to threats against his life. He was murdered by Islamic extremists this past January.

Meanwhile, the killing of Osama bin Laden has intensified anti-Western sentiments. Bin Laden's death in May prompted Pakistani Christians to prepare for potential attacks.

Schools and Christian institutions were closed during this time, and local churches were guarded with high security measures. Christians also received security from Pakistani authorities.

In this tense atmosphere, Bishop Shaw said Pakistani Christians should remain careful – and prayerful.

“If we want to make an issue out of it, it will certainly become one,” he observed. “We must be wise and instead ask people to pray for us, to remember us before God.”

"What we need right now,” he said, “is prayers and patience.”

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China ‘postpones’ ordination of bishop lacking Vatican approval

Vatican City, Jun 7, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - The proposed ordination of a Chinese bishop without Vatican approval has been postponed at the last minute. The decision comes only two days before the ordination was scheduled to take place.

“Reports from China have just come through saying that the ordination of Father Shen Guoan as Bishop of Hankou has been postponed to an ‘unspecified date,’” John Pontifex of Aid to the Church in Need told CNA on June 7.

“If these reports are true – and we have no reason to doubt them – it will come as a major relief to the Vatican.”

The ordination of Fr. Guoan, 50, was set to take place at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hankou on Thursday, June 9. Chinese government authorities were planning on making him a bishop despite having no approval from the Vatican and protests being raised by local Catholics. It’s even been suggested that Fr. Guoan himself was strongly opposed to the idea.

The backdrop to today’s events is the continuing attempt by China’s communist regime to control all aspects of Chinese life, including the Catholic Church. The Chinese government created and continues to run the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, which does not acknowledge the authority of the Pope.

Diplomatic progress seemed to have been made in recent years, with some bishops receiving the approval of the Pope. But on Nov. 20, 2010 Chinese officials proceeded with the ordination of Fr. Joseph Guo Jincai as Bishop of Chendge, without approval from the Pope. The consecration of Bishop Jincai earned a sharp rebuke from the Vatican and was seen as a serious setback.

Thus, the ordination of Fr. Guoan threatened to deal another major setback to Vatican-Chinese relations.

“It is about time the Chinese authorities recognized that the right to appoint bishops is the preserve of the Pope and that this should not be seen as undue interference in internal Church affairs,” says Pontifex.

“Barely three weeks ago, the Pope renewed calls for Chinese clergy to stay loyal to Rome and not become ‘ensnared by the false flattery of opportunism,’” Pontifex adds.

The stakes are high due to the fact that the continuing stand-off between the Vatican and the Chinese regime sees many Catholic dioceses now lying vacant without a bishop.

“We know there are a lot of episcopal ordinations coming up as one generation of bishops reaches retirement and hence this decision to postpone could prove crucial, setting the precedent for other appointments,” observes Pontifex.

It’s estimated there are some 6 million Catholics in China, although millions more are worshiping outside the official state-controlled church.

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Spanish bishop to preside at Mass for murdered military chaplain

Murcia, Spain, Jun 7, 2011 (CNA/Europa Press) - Bishop Jose Lorca Planes will preside at the funeral Mass for a retired military chaplain who was killed on June 3.
Bishop Lorca Planes expressed hope for a speedy investigation into the motives behind the murder, “which has shaken the entire diocese and especially the city of Cartagena, where he was known and love by many,” in a statement issued by the Diocese of Cartagena in Spain on Friday.
The diocese lamented the circumstances surrounding “the sad and tragic” death of the retired military chaplain.
The body of the priest who helped at a local parish was discovered at his residence. Police said the priest may have been the victim of a burglary. He died from a blow to the head.

The assailants also left the priest's elderly handicapped sister bound and gagged.

The bishop urged that the “priests, religious and faithful commend his soul to Our Lord and pray that the faith of his family members be strengthened.”
It would be the second murder of a priest in four years in Spain, after a Romanian couple beat a priest to death with a hammer in 2007 in the city of Murcia.

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English cardinal urges prayers for Irish Catholic Church

Rome, Italy, Jun 7, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - English Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor describes Ireland as “A country I love very much,” but also as a nation that needs the prayers of Catholics around the globe as it struggles to recover from the abuse scandals in the local Church.

The former Archbishop of Westminster is part of the six-man team that has just completed an audit of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

“I think it also needs our prayers as well for a country which I love very much and for the Church in Ireland which in the past has done so much for the Catholic Church all over the world with regards to missionaries and everything else,” he told Vatican Radio June 7.

The Apostolic Visitation of the Irish Catholic Church was announced by Pope Benedict back in March 2010, following a series of scandals publicized by government reports on physical and sexual abuse in the Irish Church. On June 7, the Vatican announced that the investigating team’s reports were now with Rome and that an official response is expected by early 2012.

“The Church in Ireland has been through a horrendous time and it’s very hard to say there’ll be an immediate recovery, it’ll take time and it’ll take good leadership, it’ll take the gift of the Spirit and sincere repentance,” said Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor who was born in England but whose parents were Irish.

“And you know the Church, they say, is always being reformed, always being renewed and that’ll happen in Ireland as well. It’s happened in other parts of the Church in other times in history and I think it will happen in Ireland as well, but it will take time.”

Cardinal Murphy O’Connor was part of a four-man team investigating diocesan life in Ireland. He was joined by Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston and two senior Canadian clerics, Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto and Archbishop Terence Prendergast, S.J., of Ottowa.

Meanwhile, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York and Archbishop Edwin O’Brien of Baltimore led a review of Irish seminaries.

A parallel investigation into the functioning of religious houses is also taking place and the Vatican said June 6 that more reports are expected from that group.

While hopeful of recovery, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor is also aware of the damage that has been done.

“One of the greatest sadness of it all is that the Catholic Church through the ages and especially over the last centuries has cared so well for children. It has educated children, cared for children.”

“So, I think the Church in Ireland needs our prayers and those prayers will be for the gift of the spirit for a real renewal of life and grace and those things which the Church gives -- holiness and truth and love.”

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Church celebrates beatification of Bishop Juan de Palafox

Rome, Italy, Jun 7, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Bishop Juan de Palafox was beatified in a solemn ceremony in Spain. Cardinal Angelo Amato, presided at the Mass on June 5.
Palafox (1600-1659) was “a bishop and pastor of souls, a mystic, a writer and patron, a royal minister and advisor, a great teacher, but above all he was a saint, whose pastoral zeal consisted essentially in stamping out evil and sowing what is good and holy,” Cardinal Amato, the head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints, said during the celebration.

The ceremony was held at the Cathedral of the Assumption in El Burgo de Osma.
Some 3,500 people attended the beatification. Bishop Gerardo Melgar of Osma-Soria, Cardinal Norberto Rivera of Mexico City, Archbishop Victor Sanchez of Puebla, as well as five other cardinals, 40 bishops and archbishops and 160 priests concelebrated the Mass, according to the Ical news agency.
Numerous civil officials were in attendance as well, including the presidents of the Spanish regions of Castilla y Leon and Navarra, as well as the mayor of the Mexican city of Puebla.
In June of 2010, Pope Benedict XVI appointed a 15-member commission composed of priests, lay people, scholars and devotees to make known the life and works of Palafox.
Father Ruben Tejedor, a priest of the Diocese of Osma-Soria and a member of the commission, told CNA, “The beatification of Palafox is a huge grace that was long awaited! It demonstrates the perennial beauty of holiness and the infallible triumph of the truth.”
Juan de Palafox’s cause for beatification was opened in 1666, just seven years after his death. He was born into a noble family in 1600. As a young man he was called by Philip III and Philip IV for important government roles both in Spain and in the New World. During those years, Palafox led a life he would later describe as marked by “every sort of vice, amusement and unleashing of passions.”
The deaths of his sister and of others close to him led to his radical conversion. He was then ordained to the priesthood in 1629.
In 1630 he was named Bishop of Puebla de los Angeles in Mexico and Vice Roy of New Spain. After arduous work in Mexico for numerous years, he returned to Spain, where he died on October 1, 1659.
“The bed on which I die, I give to the hospital so that whatever it can bring be used for the poor. I want to die in the bodily poverty in which I was accustomed to living, and if not, on the floor, in acknowledgment of the humility with which such a miserable creature should reach his demise and in imitation of my Lord Jesus Christ, who died on a cross for me,” Bishop Palafox wrote in his testament.

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Fight against AIDS should combat promiscuity, expert says

Rome, Italy, Jun 7, 2011 (CNA) - Father Juan Jose Perez-Soba recently argued that AIDS prevention campaigns do not attack the root of the problem because they fail to combat promiscuity. Instead, he added, they focus on promoting condom use.

“It is absurd to reject from the outset that the greatest reason for the spreading and contracting of a sexually transmitted disease is promiscuity and to not take effective means to prevent it,” the priest said in an interview with CNA. He spoke on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the discovery of the disease.

Fr. Perez-Soba is a moral theology professor at the San Damaso Theology Department in Madrid, Spain and the John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family.

“It is even graver to the extent that information is hidden and the idea is conveyed that the condom is absolutely effective in preventing infection, which is false,” he added.

He drew an analogy between the pharmaceutical fight against AIDS and the fight against smoking. “It would be a serious error to confront the health risks from smoking by distributing cigarette holders with filters to die-hard smokers because we think it is impossible for them to quit and therefore we abandon that objective.”

Fr. Perez-Soba said the Catholic Church does not see the condom as the real solution to AIDS because AIDS “is a sexually transmitted disease.” Therefore an authentic approach to the pandemic is one of reducing the dangerous behavior that spreads the disease and not reducing the dangers present in such behavior.

In addition, “It gives a false sense of security that leads to an increase in dangerous behavior and thus jeopardizes the treatment of the AIDS phenomenon as a question of public health,” the priest continued.

AIDS has emerged during a time of “sexual revolution which insists that it is impossible not to have sexual relations, that they are ethically neutral and that information simply needs to be given in order to foster ‘safe sex’.”

“Obviously this is an attempt to provide a technical solution to a moral problem, which has to do with the true meaning of human sexuality,” he added.

In a society in which sexuality is reduced to a product for consumption and in which there is an abundance of “technical resources that promise maximum effectiveness with regards to the consequences of sexual acts,” it is easy to dismiss the Church’s position.

“AIDS is one of those issues that shows how ideologically driven our society has become,” the priest said.

On May 24, Fr. Perez-Soba published an article in L’Osservatore Romano in which he explained that the best option for a married couple in which one of the spouses has AIDS is to live in abstinence, as the use of the condom not only does not provide a solution and also entails an ethical problem.

In his article, he noted that it is worthwhile to recall that “although the use of the condom in a single sexual act could have a certain effectiveness in preventing AIDS infection, this does not guarantee absolute security not even in the act in question, and much less, over the entire sexual life of a couple.”

He also said the use of condom is not advisable because it also poses an ethical problem:  “The sexual act carried out with a condom cannot be considered a fully conjugal act as it has been voluntarily deprived of its intrinsic meanings.”

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KC bishop admits failure in abuse case, says he'll address alleged 'concealment'

Kansas City, Mo., Jun 7, 2011 (CNA) -

The head of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese admits he failed to act on suspicions voiced to him last year, about a priest arrested in May for possessing child pornography. But he's waiting to respond to a new lawsuit, which makes unsubstantiated claims that he “concealed” information to prevent a scandal.

“As bishop, I take full responsibility for these failures and sincerely apologize to you for them,” said Bishop Robert W. Finn in a June 3 message to all people of the diocese. “Clearly, we have to do more. Please know that we have, and will continue to cooperate with all local authorities regarding these matters.”

Bishop Finn acknowledged that “human failure” and the “sins of a few” had brought “shame, anger, and confusion” to his diocese. On May 19, police took former St. Patrick's pastor Fr. Shawn Ratigan into custody and charged him with three counts of possessing child pornography.

In an unrelated case, the diocese suspended Fr. Michael Tierney from ministry June 2 over abuse allegations dating back three decades.

Fr. Tierney has denied the charges, and is cooperating with an ongoing inquiry. But the more recent case of Fr. Ratigan has been an embarrassment to the diocese – highlighting what Bishop Finn called “sobering realities” about “serious lapses in communication” within his own chancery.

Fr. Ratigan's arrest on May 19 ended a six-month drama that began in December 2010. During that month, a computer technician found disturbing photographs of young girls on the priest's hard drive. The photographs suggested inappropriate behavior and attraction toward children, but local police determined that they did not technically constitute child pornography.

Bishop Finn regrets that he “didn't ask the police earlier to conduct a full investigation.” Fr. Ratigan himself attempted suicide in December, after the diocese learned about the suspect images. He survived, however, and Bishop Finn sent him out of state for a psychiatric evaluation.

When Fr. Ratigan returned to the diocese, Bishop Finn suspended him from St. Patrick's and let him live with a group of priests. He demanded that Fr. Ratigan have no contact with children, and restricted him from possessing a camera or computer.

By May 12, the diocese’s vicar general, Msgr. Robert Murphy, had received repeated reports of Fr. Ratigan violating his agreement with the bishop. The vicar general notified the same police officer he had initially contacted about the suggestive photographs. Detectives searched items held at the home of one of the priest's relatives, and found digital storage devices containing child pornography.

The priest now faces felony charges, and a lawsuit from the parents of a girl he allegedly abused starting in 2006.

That lawsuit, filed on June 2, also names Bishop Finn as a defendant. The girl's parents say the bishop is responsible for the abuse that continued even after “an employee of the diocese reported to the diocese that she had observed suspicious behavior involving Defendant Ratigan and a 4 year old girl.”

This report is said to have been made “in approximately 2006.” But the complaint does not specify which of the diocese's “employees” made the report, nor does it indicate who received the report on behalf of “the diocese.”

Diocesan spokeswoman Rebecca Summers told CNA on June 6 that over 2,000 people could be considered “employees” of the diocese. The lawsuit provides no other information about the individual, apart from her gender.

The legal complaint, filed by the prominent Vatican adversary Jeff Anderson, goes on to assert that “the Diocese and Defendant Bishop Finn concealed the report” – which he is not explicitly said to have ever received – “in order to protect Defendants Ratigan, Bishop Finn, and Diocese from scandal.”

Anderson and the other lawyers also say Bishop Finn conspired to destroy Fr. Ratigan's computer, and erase evidence of a crime, in December 2010 – during the same month that the vicar general was providing police with descriptions of files on the priest's computer.

At a June 3 “listening session” held at St. Thomas More parish, Bishop Finn said he wanted to address these charges, but had been advised against it by his lawyers.

“As much as it pains me to not be able to respond or to explain,” he said, “our diocesan attorneys have counseled me to be patient and to wait for the appropriate time to directly answer to these allegations.”

But Bishop Finn has acknowledged that he did neglect an opportunity to act on suspicions about Fr. Ratigan that came to his attention during a brief conversation in May 2010.

On May 19 of that year – exactly one year before Fr. Ratigan's arrest – Saint Patrick School principal Julie Hess presented Msgr. Murphy with a letter detailing parents' concerns about Fr. Ratigan.

“I seek to fulfill my responsibility as school principal,” she wrote, “in relaying a growing body of parent and teacher concerns regarding Pastor Shawn Ratigan's perceived inappropriate behavior with children.”

“Parents, staff members, and parishioners are discussing his actions and whether or not he may be a child molester. They have researched pedophilia on the Internet and brought in sample articles with examples of how Father Shawn's actions fit the profile of a child predator.” 

Bishop Finn states that he did not see the letter until it was leaked to the press following Fr. Ratigan's arrest – more than a year after Hess gave it to his vicar general.

Instead, as Bishop Finn explained in a May 27 statement, Msgr. Murphy gave him a “brief verbal summary of the report” and of a “meeting with Shawn Ratigan, which had occurred immediately after the report was received.”

“Msgr. Murphy told me that he had thoroughly discussed these concerns with Shawn Ratigan, and how he was to change his behaviors. Shawn Ratigan expressed both the willingness and the desire to make these changes.”

Bishop Finn did not request a copy of Hess' letter in order to survey the priests' reported behavior for himself.

“To the best of my knowledge,” he admitted, “no one on my staff, other than Msgr. Murphy, read the report.”

At that time, Bishop Finn noted, diocesan officials had “no knowledge of any inappropriate photographs or images in Shawn Ratigan's possession.”

But the bishop did not shy away from acknowledging the crucial step he failed to take – when he chose to rely on Msgr. Murphy's summary of the report, and Fr. Ratigan's promises to change.

“Hindsight makes it clear that I should have requested from Msgr. Murphy an actual copy of the report,” said Bishop Finn on May 27. “And, so, I also have to change.”

The Bishop did not see the letter for himself until May 26, when a blogger released a leaked copy of a document which appeared to be Hess' May 2010 report on Fr. Ratigan.

An official at the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese, speaking on background, told CNA that the leaked document is considered authentic. CNA also spoke to Hess, who said she could not provide any information regarding the letter or Fr. Ratigan.

Since the priest's arrest, Bishop Finn has already met with members of the St. Patrick's community, as well as priests of the diocese, diocesan staff, and the chair of the diocese's independent review board.

“I will be meeting with others, to determine how best to change our internal structure, reporting and procedures,” he said. “The changes could be unsettling but, more than ever, I realize that they are necessary.”

“Please pray for me in these resolutions,” he asked. “And, let us pray for each other in these difficult days.”

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