O'Malley: Pope recognizes need to address Bishop Finn situation

by Joshua J. McElwee

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Boston Cardinal Seán O'Malley, a key advisor to Pope Francis, has said the pontiff recognizes the need to address the situation in Kansas City, Mo., where Bishop Robert Finn was found guilty in 2012 of a criminal misdemeanor count of shielding a priest who was a threat to children. 

Speaking in a forthcoming interview with the U.S. television program 60 Minutes, O'Malley says the situation surrounding Finn is "a question that the Holy See needs to address urgently."

"There's a recognition of that -- from Pope Francis," O'Malley continues during the interview, which is to air Sunday evening.

CBS made a preview of the interview available online Friday.

During the interview, O'Malley is apparently speaking of his work on both the Council of Cardinals and the pope's new commission on the sexual abuse of minors. After interviewer Norah O'Donnell says one of the "biggest scandals" of the church in recent years is the way bishops handled priests accused of abuse, O'Malley says that is something he is working on.

"One of the first things that we came up was the importance of accountability and we're looking at how the church can have protocols and how to respond when a bishop has not been responsible for protection of children in his diocese," O'Malley states.

Finn, who has served as the bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., since 2005 was found guilty over his handling of sexual misconduct by Shawn Ratigan, a former priest who was found guilty in federal court in September 2013 of producing child pornography and sentenced to 50 years in jail.

A Canadian archbishop visited the Kansas City diocese on behalf of the Vatican in September to investigate Finn's leadership, a rare move that normally only occurs in dioceses where the pope or one of the Vatican's congregations have concerns about the leadership of the diocese.

[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. His email address is jmcelwee@ncronline.org. Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]

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