Underwear in a Planter

The head of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, Genoa Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco on sex abuse by clergy:

a wicked emergency not yet overcome

Nothing in the Zenit bit about bishops.

More ugly revelations in the heartland, too:

The principal of a Catholic elementary school warned the Kansas City-St. Joseph chancery office that a local priest “fit the profile of a child predator” six months before the diocese took any action to remove him from ministries dealing with children.

Will Kansas City-St Joseph be the next Boston, the next Philadelphia? NCR has a copy of the hand-delivered letter to the diocese.

Girl’s underwear in a planter? Good grief. The list of Fr Shawn’s misbehaviors is almost unbelievable. I’m glad so many teachers and parents were alert to this “wicked emergency.” Clearly a lot of harm was avoided. But the December computer discovery should have been the last straw for this priest, if nothing else before it was.

The shame seems to have spread appropriately at the chancery: nothing on the diocesan organ nor its blog. I feel badly for another priest I consider a friend, Msgr Murphy, who was in residence for awhile at my previous parish when he shouldered the duty of vicar general. The VG should have taken action, even against a bishop’s objection. It was that serious. Vicars general might end up doing prison time, at least in another diocese. Murphy is too good a man to take a fall like that for his incompetent bishop.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to Underwear in a Planter

  1. I feel sick to my stomach and I am so deeply angry. What on earth? What in the name of God was going on there?

  2. Therese says:


    You are going to have to do better than this.

    The article indicates that your friend and ally Murphy was the gatekeeper here. The principal’s letter was addressed to him not to the bishop. There is no indication that Murphy ever told the bishop anything about the principal’s concerns.

    You are going to have to directly address the fact that two priests you considered friends were complicit in abusive and perverted behavior and covering it up and enabling it.

    There is clearly a connection between the two.

    To take a story in which the Vicar General received news of this and evidently did nothing to inform the bishop and somehow make it the bishop’s fault.

    I’m sorry – but that’s despicable. Man up Todd. Really.

    • Todd says:

      Well, I know from a source other than the VG that the bishop allowed a seminarian to transfer to KCSJ after being rejected by two other dioceses. In this instance, another VG said the guy was “poison.” Bishop Finn keeps his own counsel about clergy and is not dissuaded by advice.

      I agree with you: Msgr Murphy should have taken action on this. He’s an experienced parish pastor, and he’s no dummy. I suspect (though I don’t know) that he would have brought this letter to the bishop. I can see him being rebuffed.

      That said, it is also possible he fumbled it. And if so, they yes, he is an accessory to endangering the welfare of children.

      Were I in this situation, I would have resigned as VG if my bishop insisted on keeping Fr Shawn in place. I would have taken Julie Hess’ letter to police authorities directly. Adults have to make hard choices. And for much of our hierarchy, we can question either their adulthood, their fortitude, or both.

    • Harry says:

      Well, actually Murphy did inform Finn. And he informed him that the situation had been handled.

      Finn, to his credit, hasn’t thrown anyone to the wolves except himself. He is taking full responsibility for everything that was and wasn’t done, even to the point of saying that HE, not Murphy, should have investigated fully and immediately.

      All the “should have dones” people are saying, Finn has already said. About himself. And about no one else but himself.

      And let’s hope that this two-by-four between the eyes has finally gotten the mule’s attention.

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