Nearly 150 Catholics gathered to pray in support of Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert W. Finn outside of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Pentecost Sunday.
The negativity toward the bishop expressed in the press “is not how the majority of people in the pews feel,” said Nathan Lewis, a parishioner at Our Lady of Good Counsel, in an interview with the diocesan paper The Catholic Key.
Lewis was among the faithful praying for the bishop.
Controversy has been spiraling around Bishop Finn since former St. Patrick's pastor Father Shawn Ratigan was arrested in May on three counts of possessing child pornography.
Suspicions about Fr. Ratigan were voiced to Bishop Finn last year, but the bishop did not immediately bring the accusations to the police leaving many Catholics wondering if he should resign.
"I, for one, think that Bishop Finn needs to step down,"said Laine Cardarella, a parishoner of St. Thomas More, in an interview with KETV-5 in Kansas City. "I don't think he can lead us in light of the current problems that we're having. I think the community in large part has lost confidence."
The Pentecost Sunday prayer rally was largely spread by word of mouth. Lewis said he hoped the group would be a “witness for other Catholics.”
"I worked with Father Shawn Ratigan for two years," Lewis told FOX 4 News. "My children were around him. I knew him. For all I know, there's pictures on his computer of my children. That's a possibility. But it doesn't change my support of the bishop."
Bishop Finn acknowledged the “serious realities” of Father Ratigan's case during his homily at Pentecost Sunday Mass.
“Once again, as bishop I take full responsibility and express again my sorrow for these events,” Bishop Finn said. “Our faith tells us that the risen Jesus Christ is in our midst, but we are not yet at peace.”
He also prayed for greater unity within the Church, saying, “all to well do we know how our hurts and fears can divide us.”