Thursday, August 21, 2008


Statement of the Most Reverend Robert W. Finn Bishop of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph:

"We apologize for the fully unacceptable behavior that prompted these lawsuits to be brought against the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. With compassion for the victims of this behavior and with sadness over any failure by the diocese to serve as a proper steward of safety and security for our young people and our parishioners, I am here as an individual leader of the diocese to demonstrate institutional accountability for these sad events. I pray that with the settlement of this matter, the healing for all may truly begin.

In reaching a settlement with lawyers representing the families involved in this case, we took painstaking steps to fully vet all issues enabling thoroughness to be the hallmark of this process. Assured that we have met that standard, we have agreed to fund $10 million in payments to the victims and to adhere to a number of nonmonetary stipulations that should assure our community, our congregation and these families that the diocese will continue in its exercise of vigilance and in its devotion to training and education so that we may be confident there will never, ever be a repeat of the behaviors, the offenses, or the claims that have been associated with this matter.

A priest is ordained with the privilege of celebrating the Church's sacraments by nothing less than a holy order. The behaviors attributable to certain priests involved in this matter not only betray those holy orders, but diminish the stature of the faithful and responsible priests who dispatch their ministry effectively and faithfully day in, day out. For that reason, although the statute of limitations prevents man's law from moving forward with any criminal proceedings here, I-as bishop of this diocese-will present to the Diocesan Tribunal and ultimately to the Vatican the recommendation that these priests see their holy orders removed from them. In the church's vernacular, this is called laicization.

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