Thursday, 28 May 2015



Pope Francis has told the world that he has not watched television since 1990 and that he has no internet!

Anyone in Pope Francis' position who does not watch TV - at least news and current / religious affairs is certainly OUT OF TOUCH DELIBERATELY!

Is it any wonder that the Roman Catholic denomination is becoming more and more irrelevant?

Saturday, 23 May 2015


"Being gay is like having Downs Syndrome"!!!


You colonised our country!
You conspired with our enemies!
You wrote our Constitution!
You forged our laws!
You intimidated our politicians!
You hijacked our institutions!
You destroyed our spirituality!
You canonised the God of wrath!
You fed us lies!
You told us to hate our bodies!
You said our souls were yours!
You made us walk on pointed rocks!
You set our diet!
You policed our wombs!
You measured our semen!
You micro-managed our genitals!
You invaded our homes!
You used our women!
You spied in our bedrooms!
You controlled our marriages!
You made us breed like rabbits!
You beat us in your schools!
You tortured us in your orphanages!
You raped our children!
You seduced our youth!
You stole our pennies!
You appropriated our land!
You built your palaces!
You ate our food!
You drank our drink!
You set our diet!
You imprisoned our pregnant young!
You banished our different!
You killed us in your hospitals!
You rejected our still born!
You buried us in sewer tanks!
You interrogated us in your confessionals!
You turned father against son
You scared our doctors!
You regulated our police!
You seduced our judges!
You silenced our journalists!
You exiled our writers!
You favoured our rich!
You castigated our poor!
You cleansed our births!
You overshadowed our life span!
You sold us our graves!
You controlled our eternity!
You did all this and more!
For 1500 years!

Now that we are finally breaking free of your chains,
Will THE HELL you kept us in,
Come up with a fitting punishment for you?

Bishop Pat Buckley 23.5.2015



Sunday, 17 May 2015


(Pat Buckley - 1988)

Jesus met a sinner. The sinner blushed with filth;
But Jesus just embraced him and melted all his guilt.
Then Jesus met a robber. The Robder dropped his chin,
But Jesus just embraced him and wiped away his sin.
Then Jesus met a prostitute. The girl was full of shame;
But Jesus just embraced her and cleared her dirty name.
Then Jesus met an adulterer. The woman's body shook;
But Jesus just embraced her with an understanding look.
Then Jesus met a murderer. The man was going to faint;
But Jesus just embraced him and left him without taint.
Then Jesus met a prisoner. The man had done much wrong;
But Jesus just embraced him and he never felt so strong.
Then Jesus met a leper with a body that did smell;
But Jesus just embraced him and cured him of his hell.

Then Jesus met a blind man who had never seen the sky;
But Jesus just embraced him and his new sight made him cry.
Then Jesus met a youngster who from birth was deaf and dumb;
But Jesus just embraced her and she heard a small bird hum.
The Jesus met a cripple. The man was almost dead;
But Jesus just embraced him and he carried home his bed.
Then Jesus met a young man whom the Devil had enslaved;
But Jesus just embraced him and he knew that he was saved.
Then Jesus met a dead man, His mother dressed in black'
But Jesus just embraced him and his mother got him back.

Then Jesus met a person whom his arms could never span;
One who loved the heavenly God but not their fellow man.
They said long prayers and fasted and in church were always found;
And thought themselves far better than others who were around.
A person who was narrow, easily shocked and full of pride;
Who thought the worse of everyone while the weak he did deride.
And Jesus stared straight at them and they felt that they could die;
For their religion was pretending and their faith was just a lie!

Friday, 15 May 2015


Ursula Halligan: Referendum pointed me towards telling the truth about myself
‘For me, there was no first kiss; no engagement party; no wedding. And up until a short time ago no hope of any of these things’

‘As a person of faith and a Catholic, I believe a Yes vote is the most Christian thing to do. I believe the glory of God is the human being fully alive and that this includes people who are gay.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times
Ursula Halligan

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” – Martin Luther King.
I was a good Catholic girl, growing up in 1970s Ireland where homosexuality was an evil perversion. It was never openly talked about but I knew it was the worst thing on the face of the earth.
So when I fell in love with a girl in my class in school, I was terrified. Rummaging around in the attic a few weeks ago, an old diary brought me right back to December 20th, 1977.
 “These past few months must have been the darkest and gloomiest I have ever experienced in my entire life,” my 17-year-old self wrote.
“There have been times when I have even thought about death, of escaping from this world, of sleeping untouched by no-one forever. I have been so depressed, so sad and so confused. There seems to be no one I can turn to, not even God. I’ve poured out my emotions, my innermost thoughts to him and get no relief or so-called spiritual grace. At times I feel I am talking to nothing, that no God exists. I’ve never felt like this before, so empty, so meaningless, so utterly, utterly miserable.”
Because of my upbringing, I was revolted at the thought that I was in love with a member of my own sex. This contradiction within me nearly drove me crazy. These two strands of thought jostled within me pulling me in opposite directions.
Plagued with fear
I loved a girl and I knew that what wasn’t right; my mind was constantly plagued with the fear that I was a lesbian. I hated myself. I felt useless and worthless and very small and stupid. I had one option, and only one option. I would be “normal”, and that meant locking myself in the closet and throwing away the key.
I played the dating game. I feigned interest in men. I invented boyfriends. I listened silently to snide remarks about homosexuals. Tried to smile at mimicry of stereotypical gay behaviour.
In the 1970s, homophobia was rampant and uninhibited. Political correctness had yet to arrive. Homosexuals were faggots, queers, poofs, freaks, deviants, unclean, unnatural, mentally ill, second class and defective humans. They were society’s defects. Biological errors. They were other people. I couldn’t possibly be one of them.
Over the years I watched each of my siblings date, party, get engaged, get married and take for granted all the joys and privileges of their State-acknowledged relationship.
My coping strategy was to pour myself into my studies and later into my work. I didn’t socialise much because I had this horrible secret that must never come out. It was a strategy that worked until I’d fall in love again with a woman and the whole emotional rollercoaster of bliss, pain, withdrawal and denial resumed. It was a pattern that would repeat itself over the years.
And never once did I openly express my feelings. I suppressed everything and buried myself in books or work. I was careful how I talked and behaved. Nothing was allowed slip. I never knew what it was like to live spontaneously, to go with the flow, to trust my instincts . . . I certainly couldn’t trust my instincts.

Repressing my humanity

For years I told no one because I couldn’t even tell myself. It was a place I didn’t want to go. It was too scary; too shameful. I couldn’t cope with it. I buried it.
Emotionally, I have been in a prison since the age of 17; a prison where I lived a half-life, repressing an essential part of my humanity, the expression of my deepest self; my instinct to love.
It’s a part that heterosexual people take for granted, like breathing air. The world is custom-tailored for them. At every turn society assumes and confirms heterosexuality as the norm. This culminates in marriage when the happy couple is showered with an outpouring of overwhelming social approval.
For me, there was no first kiss; no engagement party; no wedding. And up until a short time ago no hope of any of these things. Now, at the age of 54, in a (hopefully) different Ireland, I wish I had broken out of my prison cell a long time ago. I feel a sense of loss and sadness for precious time spent wasted in fear and isolation.
Homophobia was so deeply embedded in my soul, I resisted facing the truth about myself, preferring to live in the safety of my prison. In the privacy of my head, I had become a roaring, self-loathing homophobe, resigned to going to my grave with my shameful secret. And I might well have done that if the referendum hadn’t come along.
Now, I can’t quite believe the pace of change that’s sweeping across the globe in support of gay marriage. I never thought I’d see the day that a Government Minister would come out as gay and encounter almost nothing but praise for his bravery. But that day did come, and the work done down the decades by people like David Norris, Katharine Zappone, Ann-Louise Gilligan and Colm O’Gorman made me realise that possibilities existed that I’d never believed would ever exist.
I told a friend and the world didn’t end. I told my mother, and the world didn’t end.
Then I realised that I could leave the prison completely or stay in the social equivalent of an open prison. The second option would mean telling a handful of people but essentially go on as before, silently colluding with the prejudices that still find expression in casual social moments.
It’s the easier of the two options, particularly for those close to me. Because those who love you can cope with you coming out, but they’re wary of you “making an issue” of it.


The game-changer was the marriage equality referendum. It pointed me toward the first option: telling the truth to anyone who cares. And I knew if I was going to tell the truth, I had to tell the whole truth and reveal my backing for a Yes vote. For me, the two are intrinsically linked.
That means TV3 taking me off referendum coverage. The rules say they must, and when I told them my situation, they reorganised their coverage in half a day.
Twenty years ago or 30 years ago, it would have taken more courage than I had to tell the truth. Today, it’s still difficult but it can be done with hope – hope that most people in modern Ireland embrace diversity and would understand that I’m trying to be helpful to other gay people leading small, frightened, incomplete lives. If my story helps even one 17-year-old school girl, struggling with her sexuality, it will have been worth it.
As a person of faith and a Catholic, I believe a Yes vote is the most Christian thing to do. I believe the glory of God is the human being fully alive and that this includes people who are gay.
If Ireland votes Yes, it will be about much more than marriage. It will end institutional homophobia. It will say to gay people that they belong, that it’s safe to surface and live fully human, loving lives. If it’s true that 10 per cent of any population are gay, then there could be 400,000 gay people out there; many of them still living in emotional prisons. Any of them could be your son, daughter, brother, sister, mother, father or best friend. Set them free. Allow them live full lives.

Ursula Halligan is political editor of TV3

Saturday, 9 May 2015

As a man of faith and a proud dad to a gay son, I urge all Catholics to do the right thing – and vote ‘Yes’

Since my youngest boy came out, I have been on a journey that showed me being a Christian is about loving all equally, writes Tom Curran

I AM a card- carrying, practising Catholic. I go to mass every Sunday. I pray every day. I read spiritual books. I reflect and meditate. My life has been shaped by my faith.
As a young man, I wished to become a priest. I then fell in love with Noeleen and decided to enter the ‘married state’. It turned out to be the best decision I ever made.
The two of us have four children who are infinitely precious to us, and who have provided hundreds of the stories that define a family: the “Will you ever forget the day when...?”
None of us will ever forget October 4, 2011. Our youngest, Finnian, who was going through the Leaving Cert at the time, took time off from revision to compete with his brother Domhnall on PlayStation. It ended badly on this occasion. In fact, it ended in a shouting match with a few punches thrown and Finnian leaving the house at a run. Across the road from where we live are maize fields. Golden, that time of year, and about 10 feet high. Finnian just ran into it and kept on running and running until he was exhausted, dropping where he stood, hidden. He was out there for two or three hours. He could hear his mother and brothers calling for him, but stayed silent.
“When I was out there, I sort of had an epiphany,” he remembers. “The fact that I was gay had been weighing me down for years and years, I had only told a few of my close friends. Sitting there hidden in the maize, I decided it was just best to get it over with. There was some stress on me at the time, especially with the Leaving Cert. I just needed it out of the way and off of my shoulders.”
Finnian came back to the house, sat his mother down and waited for me to come home from work. I sat down, waiting for the worst. Nothing happened. We sat at the table for probably an hour, maybe longer, before he found the words, his big fear that my spirituality and the fact that Noeleen and I are from Donegal, a fairly conservative county, would drive us to reject him.
Now, when the children were born, I remembered something from Isaiah: “You were carved from the palm of my hand.” What that means is that children are there for a reason, that they’re loved by their parents, they’re loved by God. When Finnian told us he was gay, that came back to me, with the deep certainty that I loved him the same as the others, absolutely loved him the same as our other children. As a Catholic, seeing his creation as being born out of love, I couldn’t see how he was different to my two other sons or my daughter. For me, it was fine. I didn’t have an issue; I was more concerned about Finnian.
Noeleen was the same, but filled with sadness, too, because the lovely life she wanted for Finnian, including marriage, seemed to evaporate. Suddenly, she could just see the pain and prejudice that faced Finnian for the rest of his life. We hugged. We held each other. We felt together as a family in a new, stronger way.
It took a while for Finnian to tell his siblings, and when he did, what he encountered was arguably the most welcome anti- climax of his life. Oddly, it was his mother who pushed him, believing it wasn’t fair that they didn’t know. Domhnall was packing to go on holiday when Finnian interrupted him to tell him he was gay. “So what?” Domhnall asked and went on packing. Finnian then rang Conall, who was in Australia at the time, and took 20 minutes to work up to his announcement. “Sure what does that matter?” Conall asked. “You’re not any different than you were last week.” His sister was blow- drying her hair when he told her. She hugged him, told him she would always be there for him and went back to the hairdrying.
The end result of Finnian’s serial coming- out was a family pulling together in a generational way. The younger ones just absorbed it and moved on. Noeleen and I had always known that the greatest love you have is for your own, and we learned you measure it by doing things
for them. Which is why I’m jettisoning the privacy, the anonymity of a lifetime to publicly affirm my son, and more importantly, to affirm his equality as a citizen of Ireland and a member of a loving family.
I’ve come on a journey, in terms of my belief, and I feel comfortable in urging all people of faith to consider the equal marriage referendum seriously and to vote yes. In my view, it’s the right thing – the moral thing – to do.


Thursday, 7 May 2015


Not all Catholics are against marriage equality


Jesus proclaimed a vision of an alternative society based on justice, equality and inclusivity'

Normally, when someone declares oneself a person of faith - in my case a Catholic - the public, with justification, will make the presumption that you are a staunch upholder of the status quo in society and in the case of the forthcoming marriage equality referendum, a definite 'No' voter.
However, such a presumption is not justified anymore. Over the past 50 years there has been a significant change occurring, especially within the Irish Catholic Church.
This change is not seen among the hierarchy but is very evident among the non-cleric lay people who have decided to remain in their church to demand reform.
Very many Catholics, especially in the Western world, do not accept the traditional teachings of their church and yet still insist they are true and loyal followers of Jesus Christ.
When the media reports that the Catholic Church, from the Pope down, is against marriage equality, it does not mean that such a view represents the totality of its members.
Modern theology sees the church not as a static, hierarchical power structure but as the people of God in movement through history. There are leaders, of course, but they are out in front exercising true leadership not, as in the past, demanding absolute obedience from their sheep-like followers. Catholics do not leave their self autonomy and freedom of action at the door of their church when they enter it.
At the heart of this new vision of the church is the certainty that Jesus of Nazareth proclaimed a vision of an alternative society based on justice, equality and inclusivity. He welcomed all who were marginalised and treated as outcasts in his society.

As followers of the way of Jesus, we cannot accept an unjust society where between 5pc to 10pc of our citizens are marginalised when it comes to marriage equality while the rest of their sisters and brothers can enjoy the full exercise of their constitutional right to marry.
Catholic sexual morality is based on outdated biology and science and needs to be urgently modernised and integrated with contemporary developments in medicine, biology and the social sciences.
Social justice demands that the rights of all our citizens be upheld and respected. Each person has a right to personal fulfilment and happiness in our society. When civil rights are denied to people in a society for whatever reason, the society becomes corrupted with injustice - violence and scapegoating are its inevitable results.
When gay people are denied marriage equality, it not only perpetuates an unjust society, but it also diminishes the dignity of those who refuse to recognise the constitutional rights of their gay and lesbian sisters and brothers.
Brendan Butler

WE are Church Ireland

Tuesday, 28 April 2015



1. B1. Be Skeptical.
We are a church of skeptics and atheists. Our religion is to doubt religion. We are a non-prophet organization.
Keep learning. Accept scientific consensuses. Promote science and reason.
2. Respect Boundaries.
We accept anyone into the church and you may worship another God besides Bacon.
However, we support separation of church and state. Faith-based arguments from one group of people have no business in government decisions that affect all of the people.
Religious organizations that pressure government to their worldview violate the basic rights of minority religions and non-religious people of the world.

3. Normalize Atheists.
We oppose discrimination against nonbelievers. Religious people are not superior to the rest of us. Skeptics and atheists do not lack a moral compass. We are an important and growing minority. We deserve a normalized, respected place in families, communities, and public discourse.
It’s not enough to notice discrimination. We need speak up when it happens.
4. Normalize Religion.
We oppose special privileges in the law for religious organizations. There is nothing about people of faith and their groups that makes them better than secular non-profits.

5. Have Fun.
We have fun. We mock all beliefs, even our own. At least Bacon is demonstrably real, unlike God, but some skeptics even question this “theory”.
6. Be Good.
Unlike some religions, we don’t get tangled in unproveable supernatural interpretations of goodness that might be manipulated or misinterpreted to justify anything. Just be kind to people while respecting their boundaries.
Baconists love people of all races, backgrounds, sexual orientations, genders, and beliefs. The divine smell of bacon is bestowed equally on all people (except those who have no sense of smell, for whom baconists feel much pity)
7. Be Generous.
Like some religions teach, you should love your neighbor. That’s why we accept no donations.

8. Praise Bacon!
Bacon is our god, but that’s just a term of endearment. We don’t believe that Bacon is actually spiritual, though smelling it is surely a Divine Experience. We also like donuts because they are Holey.
In the beginning there was the Big Bang, which begat all of time and space. Eventually sacrificial pigs evolved and the God of Bacon came to be.
Praise Bacon! If you don’t like pigs, you may praise Vegetarian Bacon or Turkey Bacon. Or just love the smell.
Bacon is not jealous. You may have other gods or no gods before Bacon.
We are entirely different from those who worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster, for we prefer our pasta on top of our bacon, while they prefer their bacon on top of their pasta. But that’s cool. Again, we accept everyone who loves the smell of bacon. Also, bacon is real.
The Great Mystery of Bacon is whether it is male or female. Bacon Prophet and Founder John Whiteside has listened closely to frying Bacon and has been unable to determine its gender from the sound of sizzle. He found that the more he turned up the heat, the more aggressive Bacon got. We do not need to understand all mysteries about Bacon to love of the smell of Bacon.
9. Pay Taxes
Unlike other churches, the United Church of Bacon does not claim tax exempt status. We pay our taxes just like everyone else, because we do not believe that religions are inherently better than everyone else.
Each year in the United States, $88 billion in revenue is not collected from churches because of religious tax exemptions. This money would feed all Americans on food stamps and leave more than $10 billion for housing the homeless. Religions receive many other unfair privileges, including not needing to report how donations are spent, an oversight that would limit abuse.
We need to take religion off of its pedestal and make it normal, like other non-profits. Unlike the churches of other religions, Baconists pay taxes and do not ask for donations, unless it is to subsidize the pork industry.
Our Mission

Acting on our beliefs gives us a mission!


I think that the Church of Bacon is a funny and satirical way of holding RELIGION (not spirituality) up to ridicule.

Most religions have beliefs that are crazy in the context of the 21st century.

In every modern democratic society there should be freedom of religion - unless a religion espouses activities that break the law.

But NO RELIGION should be allowed to dictate the constitution and laws of any country.

NO RELIGION should be given special treatment in any country.

As the Church of Bacon says: PRAISE THE LARD !

Sunday, 26 April 2015


Black Hermits asked to leave presbytery following controversy over leaflets condemning homosexuality
A group of hermits who have lived in a presbytery in England since 2011 have been given only three months to find a new home.
The Black Hermits, who consist of two Brothers and a Sister and are based in the Diocese of Northampton, were asked to leave following controversy over the leafleting activities of one of their members, Brother Damon Kelly.

Brother Kelly, who has been arrested 10 times, had a bucket of water thrown over him and been pushed over in the street, has travelled the country giving out leaflets condemning homosexuality and abortion.
Despite his arrests he has refused to stop putting leaflets through people’s letterboxes.
He told “At first I agreed to do no more leafleting. But I’ve wrestled with it, I’ve sought spiritual counsel. And I’ve decided I have to obey God’s law and not the state’s law.”
Brother Kelly has now been charged with harassment over two pamphlets he handed out to a particular couple. His court hearing is scheduled for May 18 and if convicted he could be jailed. Other police investigations have been dropped, the leaflets deemed not to incite hatred.
Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton, who invited the hermits to live at the presbytery four years ago, said they had “brought the diocese into disrepute”, according to Fr Stephen Joseph de Kerdrel, the group’s founder.
Fr de Kerdrel said: “[The bishop] invited us into the diocese which was very kind of him. It’s all very sad because it started off so well … The last thing we want to do is make the bishop’s life difficult.”
In an appeal on the Black Hermits’ website Sister Colette writes: “We are having to move from our present diocese (Northampton), but we do not have anywhere to go. Does anyone know of anywhere suitable for three hermits and our cats in the British Isles or Ireland?
“All ideas welcome – we have lived in everything from a Church of Scotland manse, farm cottages, presbytery, holiday huts, wayside ex-cafe, to mobile homes and caravans.”
Fr de Kerdrel, a former Capuchin novice-master, founded the group in 1999 to respond to young men seeking “a more primitive form of [religious] life”. The two Brothers were later joined by Sister Colette, a former A&Econsultant surgeon. They have made personal vows to their bishop.
Bishop Doyle could not be reached for comment

Wednesday, 22 April 2015


HOLY FATHER we are committed Catholics inspired by Vatican II. We believe in the traditions of conscience, respect and inclusion upon which our Catholic faith was founded. 

From Archbishops Alemany, Hanna, Mitty and McGucken, to Quinn, Levada and Niederauer, our Archdiocese has been “an immigrant Church” built on a rich tradition of diversity. The Archdiocese has created a remarkable system of churches, schools, hospitals, homes for the elderly and support services for those in need. 

That is why we now respectfully ask you to replace Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. Archbishop Cordileone has fostered an atmosphere of division and intolerance. 

Upon threat of losing their jobs, he coerces educators and staff in our Catholic high schools to accept a morality code which violates individual consciences as well as California labor laws. 

Teachers, students and parents are overwhelmingly opposed to his divisive proposal. The absolute mean-spiritedness of his required language for the Archdiocesan high school faculty handbook sets a pastoral tone that is closer to persecution than evangelization. 

Students, families and teachers have been deeply wounded by this language, yet the Archbishop refuses to withdraw his demands. Instead of your famous words “Who Am I to Judge,” Archbishop Cordileone repeatedly labels the behavior of our fellow brothers and sisters (and their children) as “gravely evil.”

He has selected and installed a pastor for Star of the Sea parish who marginalizes women’s participation in the church by banning girls from altar service and who has inexplicably distributed to elementary school children an age-inappropriate and potentially abusive, sexually-oriented pamphlet.

This priest was recruited by Archbishop Cordileone in spite of a troubled history of questionable judgement as a pastor outside our diocese. The Archbishop has isolated himself from our community. He disregards advice from his priests and has brushed aside the deep reservations expressed by our Retired Priests regarding his actions. 

He relies instead on a tiny group of advisors recruited from outside of our diocese and estranged from their own religious orders. The Archdiocese of San Francisco is threatened by Archbishop Cordileone’s single-issue agenda and cannot survive, let alone thrive and grow under his supervision. 

The City of Saint Francis deserves an Archbishop true to our values and to your teachings.

Signed, Jason Alonzo,Restaurant Proprietor Bill Barulich,CEO, BiRite Foodservice Distributors Jeanne Barulich,Retired Catholic School Teacher, Board Member, Jeanne and William Barulich Family Foundation Caroline Boitano, Board Member, San Domenico School James Boitano, Professor Emeritus, Dominican University Michael P. Bradley, Partner, Murphy Pearson Bradley Feeney Tom Brady Sr., Principal, Thomas Brady and Associates Inc. Carol Brandi, Member of the Board of Directors, Immaculate Conception Academy Thomas J. Brandi,Attorney, SF Catholic School Alumnus, Volunteer John Paul Bruno,Technology company executive, SF Catholic School Alumnus Jim Buick, SF Catholic School Alumnus, CYO Coach, Retired SF Social Services Director Maureen Buick,Catholic School Alumna, Retired UCSF Director Brian Cahill,Retired Executive Director, Catholic Charities CYO Greg Calegari, Principal, Calegari and Morris Certified Public Accountants Julia Campbell, Principal, Gensler, Parent, SHCP and SS Peter & Paul School students Kate Charlton,R.N., B.S.N., P.B.T., Instructor at San Francisco City College, CYO Coach, Parishioner Francis Charlton, M.D., Physician, Alumnus, SF Catholic Schools, Former Chief of Staff, St. Mary’s Medical Center, CYO Coach Louis Cobos, High School Football Coach, Parishioner, Alumnus, SF Catholic Schools Terrence Coleman, Principal, Pillsbury Levinson, Former President, St. Thomas More Society Dennis Corradi, Developer Erika Corradi,Retired Gail Corridan, SF Business Owner, Alumna, SF Catholic Schools, Parent, three graduates of SF Catholic Schools, Star of the Sea Parishioner Robert Corridan, SF Business Owner, Alumnus, SF Catholic Schools, Parent, three graduates of SF Catholic Schools, Star of the Sea Parishioner Gretta D’Acquisto, Alumna , SF Catholic Schools, Parent, three graduates of SF Catholic Schools, Star of the Sea Parishioner Rodney D’Acquisto, Alumnus, SF Catholic Schools, Parent, three graduates of SF Catholic Schools, Star of the Sea Parishioner Kevin L. Domecus, Attorney, Catholic School Alumnus, CYO Volunteer Alicia Donahue Silvia, Partner, Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP, SF Catholic Schools Graduate and Parent Eileen Donohoe,Elementary School Teacher, Parishioner, SF Catholic School Alumna John Kevin Donovan, J.D., Ph.D., Parishioner, Attorney, Doctor of Theology Catherine Driscoll Cannata,Retired College Counselor, Sacred Heart Atherton, Past Board Member, Little Children’s Aid Auxiliary, Past Member, Archdiocese Board of Education Mike & Stephanie L. Dunne John A. Espiritu, Founding Partner of Highland, Ferndale Partners LLC and Laurel Village Realtors, Real Estate Developer, Parishioner, Lector, Emeritus Board Member, St. Mary’s Medical Center Foundation, Current Member of the Boards of The Olympic Club and Mission Dolores Academy MariaR. Espiritu, Parishioner, Volunteer Teacher, St. Ignatius Parish Children’s Faith Formation Charles Geschke, Former Chairman, USF Board of Trustees Louis Giraudo,Alumnus, Parishioner David H. & PatriciaC. Grubb Alice Heard,Catholic Elementary School Teacher Pia Hinkle, Publisher, The FruitGuys, Parent, ARHS and Convent of the Sacred Heart High School Students Marilyn Homitz, Former Department Chair, Mercy HS and Cathedral HS James Horan, Vice President of Reinsurance, SF Catholic School Alumnus, CYO Volunteer Patricia Horan, Parent, Marin Catholic High School, Alumna, SF Catholic Schools John M. Jack, President, The Olympic Club Anne Kearney, Retired Teacher, SFUSD, Parishioner, Volunteer Brian Kearney, Retired, SF District Attorney’s Office, Parishioner Michael A. Kelly, President, Walkup Melodia Kelly & Schoenberger, Catholic School Alumnus, CYO Volunteer, Donor Patricia L. Kelly, Parent and Alumna, SF Catholic Schools Katherine King, Former SF Director of Development, Catholic Charities CYO, Alumna, Convent of the Sacred Heart and University of San Francisco, Parent, Star of the Sea and SHCP graduate Stephen E. Leveroni, Insurance Executive, Parishioner Maryon Davies Lewis Stephen Lovette, Retired Vice President, Saint Ignatius College Preparatory Marie K. Lundwall,Alumna, SF Catholic Schools Judith A. Lynch, R.N., Community Senior Services Leader Eileen Malley, Attorney, SF Catholic School Alumna Phil Marineau,Retired CEO, Levi Strauss and Company Sue Marineau, Emerita Trustee, University of San Francisco Janice & Michael Marovich NiallMcCarthy,Attorney, SF Catholic School Alumnus, Parish Volunteer YvonneMcCarthy,Teacher, SF Catholic School Alumna, Parish Volunteer PauletteMcDevitt,Catholic School Educator William G.McDevitt,Attorney and Counselor EdMcGovern,Alumnus, SF Catholic Schools, Past President, Catholic Elementary and High School Parent Organizations, Former Trustee, SF Catholic High School Mairi S.McKeever,Attorney, Parent, Alumna, St. Brendan & St. Rose Academy ValMcKeever, Past President of the Board of Regents, SHCP DoloresMcKeever Donahue, President, The O’Shea Foundation, SF Catholic Schools Alumna and Parent JosephMcMonigle, Partner, Long & Levitt LLP NancyMcMonigle,Teacher, Parish Volunteer ReedMinuth, Financial Advisor, Former Parish Council Member, Lector, Eucharistic Minister, ConfirmationTeacher Maura Morey JamesMurphy, Partner, Murphy Pearson Bradley and Feeney, Attorneys RickMurphy,Attorney, Alumnus, SF Catholic Schools and Catholic High School Coach Theresa L. 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Sobeck, LCDR US Navy, Ret., Alumnus, SF Catholic Schools, Senior Quality Engineer, Sonic Manufacturing Susie Sobeck, Parishioner, Retired, Headway Technology William G. “Bill” Stewart,Real Estate Professional Brian G. Swift, Former Board of Directors Member, Catholic Charities CYO of the Archdiocese of San Francisco Suzanne B. Swift, Former Board of Directors Member, Catholic Charities CYO of the Archdiocese of San Francisco Jude “Tad” Tassone, Alumnus, SF Catholic Schools Joe Toboni,Chair, The Toboni Group, Past Member, Archdiocesan School Board Mary Toboni, SF Real Estate Professional, Parishioner Gene Valla, Parent, Donor, Volunteer, DeMarillac Academy, ICA, SI, SHCP, Former Member, Archdiocese Finance Council Suzanne Valla,M.F.T., Volunteer Counselor, St. Anthony’s, Good Shepherd School and Catholic Charities A Respectful Appe a l to P ope Fra ncis from the Catholic Community of Sa n Fra ncisco Holy Father, Please Provide Us With a Leader True to Our Values and Your Namesake. 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Tuesday, 21 April 2015


Robert Finn is shown in a Kansas City, Missouri, court in September 2012.

Story highlights

  • Robert Finn remained a bishop after a 2012 conviction for failure to report abuse
  • A watchdog group calls the Pope's decision "a good step but just the beginning"
  • Pope taps Kansas Archbishop Joseph Naumann to assume control of diocese
(CNN)Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn, who remained on the job for years after becoming the highest-ranking U.S. Catholic official convicted in the church's long-running sex abuse scandal, the Vatican announced Tuesday.
Finn, who led the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, was found guilty in 2012 of failure to report suspected child abuse.
The case was tried by a judge instead of by jury because prosecutors wanted to protect the young victims' anonymity.
Finn was convicted of one count but not a misdemeanor charge he'd also faced. He was put on two years of probation but was not forced to spend time in jail or pay a fine, according to the Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. Two charges against his diocese were dropped.
At the time of his conviction, Finn said, according to CNN affiliate KCTV: "I truly regret and am sorry for the hurt these events have caused."
    Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said the conviction and penalty, which included starting a $10,000 fund for sexual abuse counseling and mandatory training for church officials on how to report abuse, would have positive ramifications.
    "We can be assured now that if an allegation of child abuse comes to the attention of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, there will be no hesitation to report it immediately to the proper authorities," Baker said.

    Prosecutors: Diocese didn't tell police about child porn for months

    The case against Finn revolved around how his diocese dealt with Shawn Ratigan, an Independence, Missouri, priest who pleaded guilty in August 2012 to five child pornography charges.
    Church officials found disturbing images on Ratigan's computer but didn't notify police until nearly five months later, prosecutors said.
    In those interceding months, the priest kept on working.
    And Finn kept his job as bishop, even after his 2012 conviction. The official website of the Catholic diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph still listed him as its bishop Tuesday morning.
    Cardinal Sean O'Malley, who took over the abuse-shaken Boston archdiocese and has become one of the Pope's point men in the United States, has acknowledged the inconsistency that someone who wouldn't be allowed to teach Sunday school was still running an American diocese.
    "It's a question that the Holy See needs to address urgently," O'Malley said in a "60 Minutes" interview in November. "There's a recognition of that ... from Pope Francis."

    Watchdog group: 'A good step,' but more needed

    Now that the case has been addressed, the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese has a new leader: Kansas Archbishop Joseph Naumann.
    Under the Pope's directive, Naumann will be the Kansas City diocese's apostolic administrator, in addition to his regular responsibilities in Kansas, until a permanent bishop is appointed, according to an announcement on the diocese's website.
    "I pray that the coming weeks and months will be a time of grace and healing for the Diocese," Naumann said in an open letter to parishioners. "All of us, who are privileged to serve in leadership for the Church, do so for only a season. It is not our Church, but Christ's Church."
    Anne Doyle, co-director of, a watchdog group that documents the church's abuse crisis, called Finn's removal "a good step but just the beginning." Specifically, she asked for more elaboration than the Vatican's one-line announcement that Francis accepted the resignation "in accordance with ... Canon Law."
    "The pope must show that this decision represents a meaningful shift in papal practice -- that it signals a new era in bishop accountability," the group said. "... What no pope has done to date is publicly confirm that he removed a culpable bishop because of his failure to make children's safety his first priority. We urge Pope Francis to issue such a statement immediately."

    • Bishop Robert Finn in his office in 2007 (CNS/Catholic Key/Kevin Kelly)
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    U.S. Bishop Robert Finn, the Catholic prelate in the U.S. heartland who became a symbol internationally of the church's failures in addressing the sexual abuse crisis, has resigned. He was the first bishop criminally convicted of mishandling an abusive priest yet remained in office for another two and a half years.
    The Vatican announced Finn's resignation as head of the diocese of St. Joseph-Kansas City, Mo., in a note in its daily news bulletin Tuesday.
    While the note did not provide any reason for the move, it is rare for bishops in the Catholic church to resign without cause before they reach the traditional retirement age of 75.
    Finn, who is 62 and had led the diocese since 2005, was neither assigned a new diocese nor as yet given a new leadership role in the church.
    Other than for reasons of health, only one other bishop among the some 200 U.S. Catholic dioceses and eparchies has resigned his role in such a manner in at least the past decade.
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    Tuesday's Vatican note read: "The Holy Father Francis has accepted the resignation from the pastoral government of the diocese of St. Joseph-Kansas City, Mo. (U.S.A.) presented by His Excellency Msgr. Robert W. Finn."
    The announcement cites the portion in the Code of Canon Law that states that a bishop who "has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office."
    Francis has not named a replacement as bishop of the diocese.
    While the Vatican bulletin does not indicate whether the pope appointed an apostolic administrator for the diocese, Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocesan director of communications Jack Smith said in a statement that Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., was named as the diocese's administrator.
    In a letter to addressed to the people of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese, Naumann asked for prayers, acknowledging the "vitality and beauty" of the community but also stating "I am also keenly conscious of some of challenges and difficulties this Diocese has suffered in recent years." He added that the role of an administrator, by its definition, "is for a very short season."
    "This will not be a time for innovation or change, but a time to sustain the ordinary and essential activities of the Church and where possible to advance the initiatives that already are under way," Naumann said. 
    Naumann said he hoped the coming months would be "a time of grace and healing for the Diocese."
    Finn's resignation will have significance beyond the borders of Missouri. The issue of holding bishops accountable has long been the largest and most provocative unresolved element in the church's handling of sexual abuse cases.
    In diocese after diocese and country after country, abuse victims, parents and advocacy groups have asked why bishops who inappropriately handle dangerous priests are rarely, if ever, held accountable.
    Finn's leadership has long been under question in the Missouri diocese, at least since his September 2012 conviction of a misdemeanor count of failing to report suspected child abuse in the case of a now-former diocesan priest who was producing child pornography.
    Because of that incident, Finn served a two-year suspended sentence in Jackson County, Mo., and struck a deal later that year with a Clay County, Mo., judge to avoid a similar charge by entering a diversion compliance agreement that included regular meetings with the county prosecutor for five years.
    Local Catholics began calling for Finn's resignation in May 2011. An online petition asking for the Vatican to remove Finn was opened in 2012 and gathered more than 260,000 signatures.
    In February 2014, Kansas City Catholics engaged a canon lawyer and made a formal request that the Vatican initiate a penal process to determine whether Finn violated church law in the case of Shawn Ratigan, a then-priest of the diocese convicted of child pornography charges, whom Finn failed to report to civil authorities.
    In September 2014, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa, Ontario, came to Kansas City for a Vatican investigation known as an apostolic visitation to interview more than a dozen people as part of an investigation into Finn's leadership.
    Prendergast told those he interviewed from Sept. 22-26 that he was there on behalf of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops.
    Smith said in a brief interview Tuesday that Finn had met with Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops, April 14 in Rome. The bishop, Smith said, then spoke with U.S. apostolic nuncio Archbishop Carlo Vigano on Monday, at which final details of the resignation were determined.
    There "probably were conversations that went on all the way up to yesterday about when or how this transition would take place," Smith said.
    The overlap of Finn's Rome visit with a meeting of the new Vatican commission on clergy sexual abuse on April 12 was a "kind of coincidence," Smith said.
    Members of that commission, known formally as the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, met April 12 with Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the president of the commission and a member of Francis' Council of Cardinals.
    Commission member Peter Saunders said in an interview Tuesday that the members discussed Finn's case at the meeting.
    "I believe that there was already some movement on the Finn case, from what Cardinal O'Malley said, so I think this was going to happen," Saunders said. "But maybe we were in some small way instrumental in ensuring that it did."
    While the Vatican bulletin does not say Finn was removed from office (instead, it says the pope accepted his resignation), such moves are still rare in the church.
    The last Catholic prelate to be removed from diocesan office was Paraguayan Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano, whom Francis removed in September mainly over accusations that he had not adequately managed his diocese and had caused strife with other prelates.
    The last U.S. bishop who resigned at such an early age was former Scranton, Pa., Bishop Joseph Martino, who resigned in 2009 at age 63 mainly over concerns that he was mismanaging and was divisive in his diocese.
    Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the former archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland, who resigned in 2013 after admitting to sexual misconduct, on March 20 resigned "the rights and privileges of a cardinal." Those include advising the pope, holding membership in Vatican congregations and councils, and electing a new pope.
    The news of Finn's resignation was met with relief in Kansas City.
    "It has been a hard time, a painful time for our diocese," said Fr. Michael Roach, a priest of more than 30 years in the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese.
    "In this Easter time, a time of new life, we are grateful that our diocese will be able to begin a time of healing and coming together," Roach told NCR.
    The diocese's struggles had caused discontent and concern even among some of Finn's highest-ranking officials, with one saying in an interview recently that after the bishop's departure, the diocese would need concerted efforts focused on healing.
    Jude Huntz, who served as the diocese's second-in-command from 2011 until August 2014, said Finn's successor would have to "take on the task to bring healing for everybody involved."
    "I think that's what everybody needs the most," Huntz said. "It's been painful for everybody. I don't think anybody has been exempt. It's been a hard thing for everybody to endure."
    The former chancellor of the diocese also said healing efforts could not be led by just one individual.
    "Everybody has got to kind of come together in some sort of a liturgical and communal way just to bring healing," he said. "This isn't just about sex abuse. This is about a whole lot of other things that are ideological."
    May would have marked Finn's 10th anniversary as bishop in Kansas City.
    Pressure on Finn to resign began in the spring of 2011, when it became public that diocesan officials had months before found suspect photographs of children on a computer owned by Ratigan, then the pastor of St. Patrick Parish in North Kansas City, Mo., but had not contacted civil authorities.
    In January 2011, Finn removed Ratigan as pastor and sent him for evaluation and counseling. But by late winter, Ratigan was assigned as a chaplain to a sisters' convent and to live with a group of Vincentian priests in a suburb east of Kansas City.
    There was no known supervision of Ratigan, and he remained in contact with families from his former parishes, attending family gatherings and meals. It was later learned that Ratigan used these occasions to take images of children using his cellphone, some of them questionable.
    Ratigan was found guilty in federal court in September 2013 of producing child pornography and sentenced to 50 years in jail. He was laicized in January 2014.
    Questions about Finn's handling of the Ratigan case emerged during the Prendergast investigation, according to Fr. Pat Rush, pastor at Visitation Parish in Kansas City.
    Rush, who was interviewed as part of the apostolic visitation in September, told NCR that the Canadian archbishop asked how the accusations against Ratigan were handled, what legal advice was given, and the fallout from the conviction.
    The costs of Finn's legal defense totaled $1.39 million, the diocesan paper reported in 2012. At that time, the diocese had spent nearly $4 million for other clergy sexual abuse claims.
    In March 2014, an arbiter ruled the diocese had violated five of 19 child safety measures it agreed to as part of a 2008 settlement that awarded $10 million to 47 plaintiffs. In August of that year, a Jackson County circuit judge upheld the arbiter's decision that the diocese pay $1.1 million for breaching the terms.
    "There can be no doubt that the diocese, through its leadership and higher-level personnel, failed in numerous respects to abide by the terms," Jackson County Circuit Judge Bryan E. Round said in his decision then.
    In October, the diocese resolved all its outstanding historical sexual abuse claims through a $9.95 million global settlement of 30 cases -- including one which had progressed to final statements in trial.
    At the time, the diocese said only one case related to Ratigan was still pending.
    The cumulative amount spent by the diocese on sexual abuse claims and defense is a "staggering figure," Huntz, the former diocesan chancellor, told NCR in September. "[The Vatican] needs to see those numbers and recognize it for what it is."
    Huntz also said that to offset expenses, the diocese had raised parish assessments -- the money the diocese collects from parishes -- with some "going up 33 percent." Huntz attributed higher operating costs to increased insurance payments.
    "A parish can't afford those things," he said. "It's really hurting a lot of the parishes from a financial point of view."
    While the pope is considered the supreme earthly authority in the Catholic church, canon law does not specify by name his ability to fire or remove diocesan bishops. It instead says that "privation" of office can be "made known to the bishop."
    Highlighting that sensitive area of law, the Vatican bulletin announcing Livieres Plano's removal said Francis had "provided for the alternation of the bishop" of the Paraguayan diocese.
    An Australian bishop removed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011, William Morris, was not said to have been removed from or have resigned his office, but instead to have accepted retirement.
    News of the $1.1 million judgment against the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese prompted another letter to Pope Francis requesting an investigation of Finn.
    Fr. James Connell, a Milwaukee canon lawyer who had helped local Catholics write to the Vatican in February 2014, wrote again in August of that year.
    "It just struck me that it would be wise to get it documented that further court actions confirmed Finn being wrong with the way he handled things and the church really ought to be doing something about that," Connell told NCR then.

    The Ratigan case
    The day after Ratigan's arrest May 19, 2011, Finn held a meeting with parents of St. Patrick's parish to address the situation and hear their concerns. It was an event that pointed to the ongoing feeling of many parents in the diocese, who expressed anger at the bishop's inaction.
    Standing alone at the lectern next to the parish altar for just under three hours, Finn fielded questions as mother after mother, father after father, lined up to ask why the priest was not brought to the police when the diocese first knew of his troubles the December before.
    Several parishioners asked how they could ever trust Finn, or even the Catholic church, again.
    One, a woman who identified herself as a member of the parish for over 10 years, recounted how she had seen Ratigan tickling young children at the school's daycare program.
    "As soon as you knew what was going on, why the hell didn't you tell me something?" she asked, her voice shaking.
    "When a priest becomes our priest, he becomes a part of our family. And this family deserves to know what is going on in this church."
    The full details of how Finn and the Kansas City diocese responded to reports about Ratigan's behavior became part of the public record in 2012.
    As part of the nonjury trial at which Finn was found guilty of failing to report suspected child abuse, both the prosecutors and defense lawyers submitted a set of 69 mutually agreed-upon facts that formed a timeline of the diocese's handling of the Ratigan case.
    Many of the facts are graphic. Key points among them included:
    • The diocese had received a memo in May 2010 concerning Ratigan from Julie Hess, the principal of the school attached to the parish Ratigan was serving. That memo outlined several concerns about the priest and stated teachers at the school thought "Father Shawn's actions fit the profile of a child predator."
    • Following examination by a computer technician, the diocese became aware of a number of lewd photos on Ratigan's laptop on Dec. 16, 2010. Among those photos were those of a "little girl's naked vagina." Included in those who saw those photos was Msgr. Robert Murphy, then the diocese's vicar general.
    • Ratigan attempted suicide on Dec. 17, 2010, leaving behind a note that said, "I am sorry for the harm caused to the children."
    • In early January 2011, Finn sent Ratigan to Pennsylvania for psychiatric evaluation from Rick Fitzgibbons, who told Finn in an email that Hess "may have orchestrated false accusations" against Ratigan.
    • Following Ratigan's return from Pennsylvania, Finn assigned Ratigan to live at a community of religious priests and assigned him to say daily Mass for a community of women religious.
    • Finn received an email from Ratigan on Feb. 7, 2011, that began: "I am going to give you a brief summary of how I got to where I am with my addiction to pornography."
    • Finn emailed Ratigan in response Feb. 9, 2011, giving the priest seven restrictions, including to "avoid all contact with children."
    • Finn was informed March 31, 2011, that Ratigan had attended a St. Patrick's Day parade and a birthday party for a sixth-grade girl.
    • On May 11, 2011, Murphy reported the existence of "hundreds of photographs" of children on Ratigan's computer to police.
    • Ratigan was arrested for possession of child pornography May 18, 2011.
    The stipulated facts also state that in testimony, Murphy reported the incident to police because he thought the diocese's response to Ratigan was "moving along with no direction, and I thought, 'I have got to do something.' "
    According to the facts, Murphy also testified that Finn was "upset" upon hearing Murphy had reported Ratigan. According to the testimony, Murphy told his sister at the time, "I think I made a decision that will not make the bishop happy."
    Finn has rarely addressed the Ratigan situation in public after the May 2011 meeting with parents. He has not given an interview in years.
    Seen walking near the Vatican in Rome April 14, the bishop shook hands pleasantly -- but quickly walked away once introductions had been made.
    Beginning with a clean sweep
    Finn came to the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese as a coadjutor bishop in March 2004.
    He was then a 53-year-old St. Louis priest and member of the conservative Opus Dei movement. He had served as a high school principal and oversaw the St. Louis archdiocesan newspaper.
    Finn succeeded Bishop Raymond Boland as the diocese's leader on May 24, 2005. Within a week of his appointment, he:
    • Dismissed the chancellor, a layman with 21 years of experience in the diocese; the vice chancellor, a religious woman stationed in the diocese for nearly 40 years; and the chief of pastoral planning for the diocese since 1990. He replaced them with a priest chancellor.
    • Canceled the diocese's nationally renowned lay formation programs and a master's degree program in pastoral ministry.
    • Halved the budget of the Center for Pastoral Life and Ministry, effectively forcing the almost immediate resignation of half the seven-member team. Within 10 months, all seven would be gone and the center shuttered.
    • Ordered a "zero-based study" of adult catechesis in the diocese and appointed as vice chancellor to oversee adult catechesis, lay formation and the catechesis study a layman with no formal training in theology or religious studies.
    • Ordered the editor of the diocesan newspaper to immediately cease publishing columns by Notre Dame theologian Fr. Richard McBrien and announced he would review all front-page stories, opinion pieces, columns and editorials before publication.
    By most accounts, Finn reached these decisions without consulting any of the senior leadership of the diocese or the people in the programs affected. Virtually no staff at the diocesan headquarters knew of the changes until they were announced at a news conference two days after his appointment.
    Many parish staff members and priests would first learn of the changes when they read about them in the local or diocesan newspaper.
    As his first year in office unfolded and as budgets were prepared for a new fiscal year, the new bishop's priorities emerged.
    Budgets for the peace and justice office and Bolivian missions were cut in half and more. A diocesan-sponsored master's program was transferred from the Aquinas Institute of Theology, a Dominican school affiliated with Jesuit-run St. Louis University, to the Institute for Pastoral Theology at Florida-based Ave Maria University.
    A Latin Mass community, which had been using a city parish for liturgies, was given a parish in its own right, and Finn appointed himself pastor. Later, he asked the parish that the Latin Mass community would be leaving to donate $250,000 of the estimated $1.5 million the Latin group needed to renovate the old church Finn gave them.
    NCR documented Finn's first year in office in a 2006 cover story titled "Extreme makeover."
    The new bishop "came with an agenda," Fr. Richard Carney told NCR in 2006. Carney was then a priest of more than 50 years and a respected leader in the diocese. He died in 2008.
    "[Finn] didn't ask us who we are and what we are about," Carney told NCR. "He looked at it from the vantage point of a coadjutor bishop and made decisions of what he was going to do about us."
    "Well, we're not used to that kind of authoritarianism," the priest continued. "It didn't show much respect for prior bishops who established it that way. We feel beaten up."
    Unhappiness had reached such a level by the fall of 2005 that Finn had his new chancellor and vice chancellor host a series of town hall meetings in various regions of the diocese.
    NCR described these meetings as "the first and only chance [lay parishioners had] to confront officials regarding the changes they had only heard about. Much of the discussion focused on that. Much was passionate, some of it heated."
    Fr. Norman Rotert, another highly respected priest and leader in the diocese who had also retired by 2006, told NCR about the listening sessions.
    "[Finn] is the king. I heard [vice chancellor Claude] Sasso said that at one of the listening sessions," said Rotert, who died in 2014. "Jesus is a king and the bishop is king in his diocese. That hardly works as a leadership style today. People demand a voice. The people know as much about things today as the bishop does and sometimes more."
    Rotert told NCR then that his great fear was that "instead of speaking up and holding bishops accountable, people will just gradually fade away," a development he said would be "terribly, terribly unfortunate."
    According to Huntz, the former chancellor, in September 2014: "Ten years ago ... when Bishop Finn came to Kansas City, the diocese had 165,000 Catholics. This past year, I submitted our official statistics to Rome, and we only had 128,000 Catholics. That's a 25 percent decline."
    Finn was popular among area Catholics, especially those who appreciated his traditional approach to ecclesiology and liturgy. He also attracted a good number of men to the seminary. This year, the diocese has 32 men in various stages of formation. Seven are to be ordained priests by the end of 2015.
    Other projects have not gone as well. Finn announced in 2010 an ambitious plan to build a new $30 million high school in an eastern suburb of Kansas City. With this came the launch of a $15 million capital campaign.
    The campaign struggled to take off, and fundraising is reportedly far behind projections. Though a name for the school has been chosen -- Michael the Archangel High School -- and a mascot -- the Guardians -- opening of the new school has been moved back from fall 2015 to fall 2016.
    Another long-term dream of Finn's was to build a dormitory for Catholic college students. He hoped to build a dorm on the site of the closed school of St. Francis Xavier Parish, which is located between the campuses of Jesuit-run Rockhurst University and the University of Missouri, Kansas City.
    The parishioners and neighborhood groups had other dreams for the property. Each side had feasibility studies conducted and hosted meetings and shared ideas, but never reached a consensus.
    "We met several times [to discuss proposals], and the bishop clearly said he was only interested in the Catholic student housing project," parishioner Ken Spare said.
    Finn's last chance was a March 17 meeting of the City Plan Commission of Kansas City.
    Finn wrote to his priests and deacons before the hearing, inviting them "to be present at the meeting and support the Diocese's plan. If you attend it would certainly be appropriate for you to wear your collar."
    Eleven women religious and one priest attended alongside Finn. The City Plan Commission unanimously voted against the project.