Catholic leader accepts resignation of American bishop who covered pedophile priest

Reports from the Vatican on Tuesday says that Bishop Robert Finn had offered his resignation under the code of canon law that allows bishops to resign early for illness or some "grave" reason that makes them unfit for office

Bishop Robert Finn

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a U.S. bishop who pleaded guilty to failing to report a suspected child abuser, answering calls by victims to take action against bishops who cover up for pedophile priests.

Reports from the Vatican on Tuesday says that Bishop Robert Finn had offered his resignation under the code of canon law that allows bishops to resign early for illness or some "grave" reason that makes them unfit for office.

The Vatican didn't provide a reason in the one-line announcement. Finn is 62, about 13 years shy of the normal retirement age of 75.

According to AP, Finn who leads the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri, waited six months before notifying police about the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, whose computer contained hundreds of lewd photos of young girls taken in and around churches where he worked.

Ratigan was sentenced to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.

Finn pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failure to report suspected abuse and was sentenced to two years' probation in 2012. Ever since, though, he has faced pressure from local Roman Catholics to step down, with some parishioners petitioning Francis to remove him from the diocese.

No U.S. bishop has been forcibly removed for covering up for guilty clergy. And technically speaking, Finn wasn't removed — he offered to resign, in the same way that Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law did in 2002 after the clergy sex abuse scandal exploded in his archdiocese.

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