Scandal and the Vatican: Let’s Not Talk About Kansas City

Time has published my story on the Vatican’s non-response to the Kansas City sex scandal:

The news that an American bishop had been charged with failing to report child abuse should have been colossal news in the Vatican. But the response has been as if the case is far away and far removed from the Holy See — and the papacy that is so quick to come down on questions of celibacy, women priests and the rights of gay Catholics appears to regard the American scandal, involving a priest and what seems to be child pornography, as a matter for local jurisprudence.

On Friday, prosecutors in Kansas City, Mo., secured an indictment from a grand jury that alleges Bishop Robert Finn neglected to inform the police for months after discovering “hundreds of disturbing images of children” on a priest’s laptop in December 2010, including photographs focused on the crotch, up-skirt pictures and at least one image of a child’s naked vagina. The offending priest — Shawn Ratigan — was relieved of his position as a church pastor and transferred to a convent, but neither the police, his parishioners nor parents of students at a nearby Catholic school were informed of the pictures until May 2011. In the interim, Ratigan continued to attend events involving children, including birthday parties and a first communion, and allegedly attempted to take lewd pictures of a 12-year-old girl. Finn and Ratigan have both pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

Read the rest.