From the Deacon’s Bench, a barely believable story about a priest suspected of pedophile behaviour and, subsequently, the object of a letter written by the school’s principal to the bishop.
Apparently, Bishop Finn never read the letter. Instead, he appears to have received a “brief verbal summary” about it from his vicar general.
Following questions arise:
1) How can the vicar general have given the bishop a “brief verbal summary” without mentioning words related to the word a bishop must dread most: pedophilia. The details mentioned on the letters are from alarming to sickening (and certainly so in the big picture that emerges from all of them together) and would have put every sensible man, let alone a priest (or a bishop, see below) in a state of maximum alert.
2) Who is this vicar general: a priest (in this case, appointed by the bishop himself) or an auxiliary bishop (possibly not appointed by the bishop; at least not freely so). In the first case, bishop Finn must still be considered accountable in certain measure for the people he puts in position of great responsibility; in the second, we still have a bishop – though not bishop Finn – directly responsible for the blunder.
3) How can a clergyman (whether bishop, or not) not have all alarms bell ringing when he reads or hears something even remotely similar to the word mentioned above. We are in 2011, not 1951.
This seems to me a history of extraordinary incompetence, or laziness, or bad faith at some – not yet entirely clear – level. Which is a double pity, as bishop Finn seems to have his theology in order and not to be one of the progressive and cowardly shepherds. A short google search has given this, the like of which I have never read from any English bishop, (whether reading his letters or not) and will probably not read in my lifetime.
Still and as much as it pains me to say this, it beggars belief that in 2011 we must still read such stories of utter failure of most elementary control mechanisms.