Why did Bishop Finn resign? is a question I have been numerous times in the last 12 hours fielding questions from other media outlets and a few local Catholics. I can't answer that question definitively, because of the secrecy that cloaks these proceedings. But I can say why NCR called for his resignation in 2012 immediately after his conviction for failing to report suspected child abuse.
The answer is two-fold: Finn violated civil law, as the Jackson County judge ruled, but also he violated the the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children, the protocols the bishops wrote themselves to govern their actions in case of clergy sex abuse. Here's what NCR said in September 2104:
If Bishop Robert W. Finn wanted today to volunteer at a parish in the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese to teach a religious education class or chaperone a parish youth group to World Youth Day, he couldn't do it. Convicted of a misdemeanor charge of failure to report suspected child abuse, Finn wouldn't pass the background check necessary to work with young people in the Catholic church.
That is, he could not serve in those positions if he were just a layman, deacon or priest. But he is a bishop, and that makes all the difference. And he can, apparently, do anything he wants under church law.
There are two issues at play here: the governance of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese and the integrity of the U.S. bishops as a national conference.
Read the full editorial here: Kansas City's Bishop Finn must resign or be removed.