Coadjutor for Kansas City-St Joseph

Daniel White, Clay County Prosecutor, is the de facto coadjutor for my former diocese, at least in the area of child protection.

Mr White:

This will be a learning experience for the bishop. The diocese and the bishop acknowledge past reporting systems have flaws. (This agreement) gives parents and children in our community confidence that if anything were to happen it will be promptly and effectively addressed.

In the 1980’s, the Temple Police were able to manipulate the curia into watchdog coadjutors here and there in the Church. Is it a good day that the secular judiciary will monitor a bishop? Nobody seems to be pleased with this development. SNAP is ticked off. Peter Isely:

Finn has now done here what bishops have almost always done — make any promises, payment or plea deal to avoid having to face tough questions in open court about their disgraceful and irresponsible deception. Catholics, citizens and children need and deserve the truth. The truth surfaces in court. That’s what bishops work overtime to avoid. And that’s what Finn has achieved here — he’s taken the cheap, easy, convenient way out, avoiding real scrutiny and concealing damaging misdeeds.

Scanning a few commentariats around the Catholic blogosphere, some conservatives are miffed at a bishop turning over a portion of his authority. Does this mean if everybody is bothered on some level by this diversion agreement that a proper bargain has been struck? I suppose if Bishop Finn really does learn from this that protection of victims and potential victims will be improved in northwest Missouri. Still, this has to be a humiliating pill to swallow, a sort of ideological flagellation.

I wonder what Rome will make of this. Will canonists accept that a bishop can turn over part of his authority to .. a non-Catholic? We still have Jackson County with an active indictment. Buchanan County, where Fr Ratigan served a few years: I wonder if something turns up there.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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7 Responses to Coadjutor for Kansas City-St Joseph

  1. John Drake says:

    How is it that he is turning over his authority to anyone? He is simply meeting with the prosecutor each month, and reviewing any situations that might warrant further investigation. i’d certainly prefer that such a monthly review were held with in-house counsel rather than the prosecutor, but it does seem to me that the Bishop is giving up any authority.

  2. Liam says:


    How much does this resemble the plea bargain/state supervision settlement that Bishop McCormack of Manchester NH was lucky to get instead of going to trial?

  3. David D. says:

    Your take on the deal seems to assume that the Clay County DA, or however the prosecutor’s office is styled in those parts, could prevail at trial. I don’t know much of the law or facts of the case but outside of Law & Order, plea bargaining is motivated by a variety of factors, not just a guilty party’s desire to minimize his or her penalty.

    • Liam says:

      A lot of it is cost management. For public prosecutors, who do not have unlimited purses to draw from, and for institutional private parties, who might have a better chance at having liability insurance pick up some of the tab if the case does not go forward to trial. Insurance rules much of what we see without knowing it.

  4. David D. says:

    Just wondering out loud but do you think the diocese’s liability coverage includes criminal acts of the bishop? Am I correct in recalling that some of the diocesan bankruptcies immediately followed determinations that their polices did not ocver costs and damages from abuse claims?

    • Liam says:

      Not if your convicted of a felony. But plea deals may fall short if there is no admission of wrongdoing or the cop is to a misdemeanor. Depends on the deal negotiated at the time of shopping for insurance….

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