By David Fortwengler
Last basketball season the spectacular play of previously unheralded New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin inspired one of the most popular terms in sports journalism today, “Linsanity.” My shameless efforts to steal from popular culture have finnspired me to use this simple technique to comment on the current scandal in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City led by Bishop Robert Finn.
Finnsanity Begins with Lost Finncome
In 2008 the Kansas City Diocese settled a civil lawsuit brought by 47 plaintiffs who were sexually abused by Kansas City priests. Finn authorized a 10 million dollar settlement and agreed to several non-monetary provisions. Most important to the victims, he promised his “top priority” would be to protect children with rigorous new policies, vigilence, and reform. Would 10 million reasons to do the right thing be enough for a Catholic Bishop to protect kids?
First Finncedent with Ratigan
Shawn Ratigan was ordained a priest in 2004 and there are unconfirmed reports of early complaints about his behavior around minors. The first finndisputed evidence of Ratigan’s finnappropriate behavior around children occurred in May 2010 when Julie Hess, principal of the school at the parish where Ratigan was assigned, was so concerned she notified the diocese in writing.
Principal Hess wrote a 5 page letter detailing the troubling behavior of Ratigan and her report eventually made its way to Monsignor Robert Murphy, who then had a meeting with Finn to discuss its contents. A man who had pledged to make the safety of children his “top priority” would obviously do one of two things. He would say, ”Show me the letter” or “Get me Principal Hess on the phone right now”. Of course that never crossed his mind.
Whether his finnaction was finntentional or just finnept, it was finnacceptable.
A fly on the wall reported to me Murphy and Finn’s conversation went like this:
Murphy: I received a complaint from a lay principal about Father Ratigan’s behavior around kids.
Finn: I’m tired of these lay people not knowing their place. It’s none of her business what my priests do. Put a note in her file, if she does it again fire her. Anything else?
Murphy: Just a reminder, you’re attending a spaghetti dinner fundraiser at the Knights of Columbus tonight.
Finn: Ok, make sure they know I like a good Chianti with my spaghetti.
to be continued...