Updated 8:44 AM EDT, Wed, Aug 18, 2021

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Pope Accepts Robert Finn's Resignation After Conviction of Shielding Pedophile Priest

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of U.S. Bishop Robert Finn, who was convicted of failing to report a suspected child abuse case by a member of a clergy.

Finn, who led the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri for nearly a decade, resigned without stating any reason. Under the canon law, bishops are allowed to quit earlier than their retirement age of 75, due to illness or "grave" reason that will make them unfit for office. Finn is only 62. 

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The U.S. bishop was convicted in 2012 of one misdemeanor count of failure to report suspected child abuse in connection with Fr. Shawn Ratigan's child pornography case. Finn was sentenced to two years of probation. 

Prosecutors said Finn had let five months pass before informing authorities that Ratigan had been storing lewd photos of children in his computer. 

Documents showed that the diocese had been aware of the photos on Ratigan's computer since December 2010. However, instead of informing the police, Finn merely sent Ratigan to a convent, maintain no contact with children and undergo psychiatric evaluation.

Church officials informed the police of Ratigan's acts in May 2011 after finding out that he had been continuously taking lewd photos of children. Since then, there had been widespread calls for Finn's resignation. 

Marie Collins, an active member of Pope Francis' own sex abuse advisory board welcomed Finn's resignation.

"Things are moving slowly, as I have said many times, but they are moving in the right direction!" Collins said in a tweet.

Sister Jeanne Christensen of the Sisters of Mercy --- a staunch critic of Finn --- said while Finn's resignation took some time to happen, it opens up the door for healing. 

"We have suffered a lot under him, and justice has finally been done," Christensen said. "Let's just wish him well. And now we need to get moving on to healing the diocese."

However, Anne Barrett Doyle, an advocate against abuses by members of the clergy wants something more. While the Pope had accepted Finn's resignation Doyle now urges Francis to issue a statement saying the bishop was removed for mismanaging the Ratigan case and failing to protect children.

That way, she says, bishops will again be warned that the vow of "zero-tolerance" on abuses is still in effect under Francis leadership.

Finn had earlier apologized for Ratigan's behavior and abusive acts. As he leaves his diocese, Finn urged his supporters to pray for his successor.

Francis had appointed Archbishop Joseph Naumann, head of the Kansas City, Kansas, diocese, to oversee the Missouri diocese until Finn's successor is named. Naumann, who will still perform his duties in Kansas hoped the coming days will be "a time of grace and healing".

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