The Diocese of Jefferson City

A Case Study of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Monday, October 24, 2011

Childproof 22: Bernard Law, Robert Finn, and the League of Extraordinary Confidence Men

Page 22

Dear Bishop Gaydos:

Seminarians are taught that history is linear:  a finite span of time, pre-dating creation and concluding with the end of time; or, as fundamentalists believe, the so-called Rapture.  Accountants learn early in their training about the varying degrees of white-collar crime, such as aiding and abetting “controlled fraud” schemes.  Criminologists understand the “criminogenic environment” that contributes to and supports the formation of predatory morality, thinking and behavior so that illegal activity is subsumed in a condition of normlessness and the participants not only do not guard against or thwart criminal activity but are rewarded for it.

Bishop Robert W. Finn seems to be well-versed in each of these disciplines.  He believes that history of childhood sexual abuse is linear even though a grand jury in Kansas City, Mo., has informed him that the pedophile priest scandal is a recurring cycle of violence in the Roman Catholic Church with
no end in sight.  And, yet, this Opus Dei Groupie seems to have no trouble in perpetuating this controlled fraud, despite pledging to cultivate a conscience and dismantle the lethal moral crisis fueled by the Roman Catholic bishops operating in America.

The League of Extraordinary Confidence Men:  The leadership
of the Roman Catholic Church in Missouri has maintained an
unbroken record of protecting child molesters for more than
60 years: a tragedy that spans multiple generations of children
and their families.  This controlled fraud has fostered recurrent
and intensified crises, the most recent now unfolding in the
diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph under the direction of Bishop
Robert W. Finn (top, far right).  The chain of command for this
confidence  game can be traced to John J. Cardinal Carberry
(top, far left), implemented during his tenure as 
of St. Louis (1968-1979) to control church management in the
Midwest.  Carberry’s policies continue through his successors
(top, left to right):  Justin Cardinal Rigali (1994-2003), who
retired in 2011 as archbishop of Philadelphia and is the focus of
a special
grand jury  investigation there; followed by Raymond L.
Cardinal Burke (2003-2008), today a well-placed Vatican 
powerbroker; and  now Archbishop Robert Carlson, who managed
the  crisis in the archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis (1984-1994). 
Finn, a  St. Louis native and the subject of multiple grand jury
investigations in Kansas City, Mo., is Burke’s special protégé. 

The Carberry methodology  was extended to Bernard Cardinal
Law (bottom, far left) during his first assignment as bishop of
Springfield-Cape Girardeau (1973-1984);  and Law implemented
these policies in the archdiocese of Boston.  The influence of
Carberry and Law merged with the appointment of  Bishop
Michael F. McAuliffe in Jefferson  City (bottom, second from
left); and his successor, Bishop John R. Gaydos. Gaydos was
Carberry’s  secretary and vocation director when Finn and
I were seminarians at  Kenrick Seminary.  Gaydos, in turn,
backed Law in the promotion of  their mutual friend, Anthony J.
O’Connell, first as bishop of Knoxville  and, then, Palm Beach. 
And now we come full circle with Bishop James Vann Johnston
(bottom, far right), who was recruited and ordained by
O’Connell for Knoxville in 1990 (promoted to  chancellor
in 1996 by O’Connell) and assumed Law’s old job as bishop
of Springfield-Cape Girardeau in 2008.

Like American banks, Finn and his colleagues maintain the attitude that
they are too big to fail. And even though they preach that nobody can
engage in illicit conduct with impunity, they ignore the individual
dishonesty and morality of their cronies in order to aid and abet sexual
predators as a matter of policy. The end result is anomie among believers: the breakdown of institutional standards and values that once were the
hallmarks of shared ideals and the commonweal.

With this in mind, we are reminded of St. Paul:

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you.  Consider
the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” (Hebrews 13:7)

Kicking the Traces: Bernard Cardinal Law saddled to ride in 1984 as
bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau (top, center and right). Prior
to hisfirst job as a bishop in Missouri, he was editor of the Catholic
newspaper for the diocese of Natchez-Jackson, Miss. (top, left).
Like the picture of Dorian Grey, the color photography highlights

the last 10 years of the Law’s career in decline as a disgraced
expatriate American in Rome: a prisoner of the Vatican.

We have learned that it is never too late to look back, particularly at the recurrent intensified crises perpetrated on the public by these confidence men.And if the American bishops are unable to cultivate a conscience in the matter of child protection, we can move beyond their cynicism and enforce the rule of law. We can thank the Jackson County prosecutor, Jean Peters-Baker, for pursuing this course, seeking the indictment of Finn; and we await the outcome of another grand jury in Clay County.

Bishop Finn’s Credibility
We do have a concern about Bishop Finn’s credibility with regard to curriculum vitae. His on-line biography states that he received a master's degree in 1979 from the Angelicum as a student at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.  We find this information confusing, because Finn was enrolled at Kenrick Seminary at that time and we attended some of the some classes together, sharing the same teacher.

As you know, Bishop Gaydos, Finn is a link the chain that strangles the religious community and the public-at-large in Missouri.  You promoted his career as his former vocation director.  He was moulded to protect, promote, and expand a corrupt system.  We have experienced crisis upon crisis, for more than 40 years now, involving the sexual molestation of children by Roman Catholic priests in Missouri with a rehearsed response of stone-cold silence and the attitude that the church is eternal and these moments will pass from time and fade in the twilight of our memories. 

“For a bishop to be indicted is absolutely extraordinary,” according the Rev. Thomas J. Reese, senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University and author of “Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church.”

Opus Dei Groupie: Like his mentor, Raymond Cardinal Burke (top, left), Bishop
Robert W.
Finn of Kansas City, Mo. (bottom, right, second from right), likes to
dress up in antique
garb as a means of avoiding responsibility for his actions. He
believes that clerical
costumes such as the flowing Cappa Magna cape and the
hocus pocus myth-making of
the past will mask the criminal aspects of his regime
and the American bishops’
failure to protect children from pedophile priests.
After hours, of course, it’s the
high life with midnight al fresco suppers and
Veuve-Clicquot (Burke is wearing the
purple zucchetto).

Bishop Finn, nonetheless, exhibits all the signs of a temperamental, cruel, and unreliable dandy.  He professes innocence under indictment, having previously outraged the public by acknowledging that he knew of the Rev. Sean Ratigan photos last December but did not turn them over to the police until May.  This occurred despite the requirements of state law.

Bishop Finn:  A Temperamental Bully
Bishop Finn has reacted to the crimes against children as if he is the subject
of bullying:

“We will persevere in the many good works that are the hallmark of [our] heritage,” according to the mealy-mouthed statement issued by his office,
absent of apology, sadness, or humility.   “With deep faith, we will weather this storm and never cease to fulfill our mission, even in moments of adversity.”

We have documentation of this arc in time in the archives of the Diocese
of Jefferson City and St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary.

Ego-meister: O’Connell was adept at ego massage. He catered to Law whenever the-then
bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau visited St. Thomas and duly recorded each encounter
with his camera. Law enrolled his own seminarians at the high school seminary. Court
documents indicate that O’Connell molested at least of Law’s Springfield students.
Source: The Anchor, 1984, pp. 19, 106, and 107.

In fact, we can document one the most infamous players in the pedophile priest scandal, who honed his skills right here in the foothills of Ozarks:  Bernard Cardinal Law.  What emerges is a multi-generational management system across the spectrum that spans from Law and John Cardinal Carberry of St. Louis directly to Finn.  Finn’s motto for this timeline of events seems to be:  “Ainsi sera, groigne qui groigne” (Let them grumble.).

Bishops usually think that they are permitted to do whatever pleases them, because of the magnitude with which they view the last vestiges of absolute power. Therefore it is good for these bishops, in our opinion, to submit themselves to the decrees of government and the courts from time to time, lest otherwise they kick over the traces (to use an equestrian analogy) and continue to do as they please.


On Film: In the St. Thomas yearbook, O’Connell documented the 25th anniversary
celebrations of the establishment of both the diocese of Jefferson City and
Springfield-Cape Girardeau. Bishops Michael F. McAuliffe and Bernard Law are
focal points
of each montage with John Cardinal Carberry (center spread, lower
Source: The Anchor, 1982, pp. 117, 118, and 119.

The Insidious Consequences of Pedophile Crimes
We would like to remind Finn of Law’s remarks regarding the pedophile
priest scandal:

“One of the insidious consequences of the sexual abuse of a child by a priest is the rupturing of that sacred trust.  For some victim-survivors, not only is it difficult to trust priests again, but the Church herself is mistrusted.  Many victim-survivors and their family members find it impossible to continue to live out their lives as Catholics, or even to enter a Catholic church building.

“Once again I want to acknowledge publicly my responsibility for decisions which I now see were clearly wrong.

Convivial: Bernard Law joined Michael McAuliffe at St. Thomas graduations. O’Connell
recorded the 1982 ceremony by including the conviviality of the moment, and,
surprisingly, advising students that alcohol consumption is an elixir for stress.
Source: The Anchor, 1982, pp. 91, 92, and 118.

“While I would hope that it would be understood that I never intended
to place a priest in a position where I felt he would be a risk to children,
the fact of the matter remains that I did assign priests who had committed
sexual abuse.

“Our policy does not allow this now, and I am convinced that this is the only correct policy.  Yet in the past, however well intentioned, I made assignments which I now recognize were wrong. With all my heart I apologize for this, once again.

“Apology in and of itself is not sufficient.  I hope that the efforts that have already been made and which are in process in this Archdiocese to insure the protection of children as we move forward will serve as a motive to accept my apology.”

Keystone: Bernard Cardinal Law helped O’Connell expand the base of St. Thomas Aquinas
Seminary by sending his Springfield-Cape Girardeau seminarian to the Hannibal high school
prior to his move to Boston. He presented diplomas to the Graduation Class of 1982; and

worked closely with O’Connell and Bishop McAuliffe to make the education program
attractive to parents. Source: The Anchor, 1982, p. 91.

A Montage of Abuse
And so, based on the archival content found in The Anchor, the collection
of St. Thomas Aquinas yearbooks record the history of collusion by the confidence men who worked with Anthony J. O’Connell throughout his tenure as rector and faculty member at the high school seminary in Hannibal.  The leadership of the Diocese of Jefferson City is complicit in the hucksterism used to protect predatory clergymen; and we now fully realize the extent to which you and Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe to protect these ordained sexual predators and the secrecy of events that destroyed an institution and those who cherished it.

We have a rogue’s gallery of bad actors with the images captured on film by O’Connell and his camera. The number of players, who bounced to national and international infamy as result of the scandal and those lurking in the shadows locally, willing harbor the story, is significant.

Questionable Behavior: At the reception following the 1982
exercises at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, Bernard
Cardinal Law
relaxed with the faculty and students. Bishop
McAuliffe shared a
joke with the Rev. James P. McNally early
in his career as O’Connell’s
assistant vocation director and
who soon would be implicated as a
sexual predator. Note the
caption promoting alcohol as a stress
reliever for teenagers.
Source: The Anchor, 1982, p. 92.

But this photo archive is only the gloss and ephemera of the crimes perpetrated by a gang of recalcitrant priests who controlled and operated a bait-and-switch scheme: the education of youth and the development of their spiritual lives in exchange for private titillations and access to youngsters for depraved gratification.

The most notorious member of this pedophile network is none other than Bernard Cardinal Law, who still wields power from the Vatican despite his disgrace as the archbishop of Boston.  Law’s affiliation with St. Thomas Seminary and O’Connell commenced shortly after he was named the bishop
of Springfield-Cape Girardeau (1973-1984).

Toast: Anthony J. O’Connell photographed Bernard Cardinal Law
visits to St. Thomas during the 1983-1984 term. During his
farewell visit
to the seminary before relocating to Boston, Law
concelebrated Mass
with Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe and the
Rev. Manus P. Daly. The caption
for the photograph of Law with
Daly (lower, right) states that the Cardinal
advised the priest
to “always keep his options open.” We also wonder
about the
contents of the file cabinet that Law is protecting (upper, left).

Source: The Anchor, 1984, p. 108.

Cardinal Law, Bishop Finn, and Culpability
Just as Finn has declined all culpability in the ensuing scandal in his diocese, Law has declined responsibility for the clergy abuse scandal in Boston time and again: in 1993 during the James R. Porter scandal; in 2002 as the cover-up festered anew; and, then, after he was transferred to Rome where was named by the Vatican as Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome and where he continues to serve as one of seven members of the powerful of the Congregation of Bishops, which promotes church leaders worldwide.

We can assume he denies all knowledge of events at St. Thomas and the young boys molested by O’Connell and other faculty members, including his own students educated at the high school seminary.

Friend: Throughout Bernard Cardinal Law’s tenure as bishop of
Cape Girardeau, Mo., Anthony J. O’Connell his visits
to St. Thomas Seminary.
In 1984, he was frequent guest, offering
homiletic reflections to the students.
The yearbook commentary
accompanying these photographs noted Law as
a “good friend,”
“wise counselor,” and “loyal supporter.” 
Source: The Anchor,
1984, p. 108.

But for our purposes today, we would like to publish the photographic
record of Law’s relationship with O’Connell, Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe,
and St. Thomas.  These personal connections are part of the core foundation of his career.

Cardinal Law and St. Thomas Seminary
Law was a frequent visitor to St. Thomas (just as he exerted a powerful influence on the Pontifical College Josephinum as a member of its board of trustees).  As a result, these data are key factors in and of themselves.

Graduation: Anthony J. O’Connell photographed Bernard Cardinal Law with the
St. Thomas
Aquinas Graduation Class of 1982. Posing with the students are the Rev.
James P. McNally,
the Rev. Gary Pool, the Rev. Nacho Medina, the Rev. David Cox,
the Rev. Louis W. McCorkle,
the Rev. Manus P. Daly, and Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe.
We will not identify any of the
victims of pedophile priests in this photograph.
Source: The Anchor, 1982, p. 93.

O’Connell recorded Law in action with students and included these images
in the St. Thomas yearbook, The Anchor, along with his compromising photography of seminarians.  The amalgam of snapshots in The Anchor,
of course, is designed to mask the reality of the situation:  a wink and
a nod for the insiders.

Law appears with the same frequency in the pages of this high school chronicle as the predatory priests befriended, protected, and promoted
by the local church powerbrokers:  Manus P. Daly, John H. Fischer,
David G. Buescher, John Whiteley, James P. McNally, Gary Pool, Hugh
Behan, and more.

Law also is shown in the same pages as the Rev. Henry Willenborg, former rector of Our Lady of the Angels Seminary in Quincy, Ill.  Wollenberg, a Franciscan priest, was exposed in 2010 as a deadbeat dad, someone who refused to provide medical for his terminally ill son.

Anniversary: Cardinal Law joined Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe to
mark the 25th Anniversary of the establishement of the Diocese
of Jefferson City. O'Connell duly recorded the event.
Source: The Anchor, 1982, p. 119.

Willenborg, of course, was well-known to St. Thomas students and faculty in the 1980’s. O’Connell hired Willenborg to conduct spiritual retreats for the students in his care.

We know that Law also mixed with known predators at St. Thomas.  Fischer, for example, shared victims with O’Connell.  O’Connell’s record of Fischer’s activities is particularly macabre, especially the images of Fischer embracing students.

Daly, too, shared victims with Fischer, according to public records.

Deadbeat Dad: O’Connell hired the Rev. Henry Willenborg as a retreat master for
St. Thomas
students.  At the time, Willenborg was rector of Our Lady of the Angels
Seminary at Quincy
College in Quincy, Ill., across the Mississippi River from Hannibal.
Willenborg was identified
in 2009 court documents and the New York Times as the
father of a young man dying of
cancer.  Willenborg, protected by his Franciscan
superiors, refused to acknowledge the
child and would not provide healthcare
(although he baptized his son in 1987).  An appeal
to Willenborg’s superiors for
assistance was ignored. The scandal only heightens the
damage that remains
unresolved in the Diocese of Jefferson City.

O’Connell’s photographic record is a wretched commentary, especially
as we see these pedophile priests age badly, turn gray, and going to fat
in the pages of The Anchor.  The longevity of their careers is remarkable.  Your own reckless collusion with McAuliffe is damning.

O’Connell’s record of Daly harassing the Rev. Patrick Shortt is an unseemly piece of evidence of the state of affairs at St. Thomas.  Clearly, Shortt is inebriated in these photographs.  How they met yearbook publication standards remains a mystery.  But, then, in a graduation event attended by Law in May1984, we have a photograph that announces that “Booze” is the only elixir needed for a teaching job or the priesthood.

Strange Bedfellows: O’Connell’s photographic record of the
Rev. Henry Willenborg and one of the retreats of he conducted
for St. Thomas students. Willenborg and Cardinal Law appear
in the same edition of the St. Thomas yearbook. Source: The
, 1984, p. 23.

The message of cult also creeps into the pages of The Anchor as O’Connell’s tenure continued.  Bishop McAuliffe became “Mac.”  And “Mac” was referred to as the “father of our family.”  It follows the line of enculturation established by Msgr. Louis W. McCorkle and the Rev. Gerald Kaiser in the late 1960s to separate children from their families as they became “Little Gods” protected by the faculty, the clergy, and the Church.

O’Connell transformed himself over time from teacher, guide, and mentor into a straw-boss and godfather.  Photographs of O’Connell in trucker guise and farmyard gear demonstrate his cavalier attitude of the adults toward the children.  His photographs of Daly with students reveal the attitude that boys are animals to be wrangled.

Teacher Profile: O’Connell was amused to capture the Rev. Patrick Shortt on film in
compromising situations. Clearly, Father Shortt is inebriated (top, right) at the 1974
Priests Day party (the image was good enough to republished on p. 139 of the 1982
yearbook); and the Rev. Manus Daly seems to have taken advantage of a similar
situation in 1971 (bottom, left). Also Shortt assumed some of Daly’s rough-housing
activity with students during his tenure as a faculty member. Source: The Anchor,
1971, p. 54; 1974, p. 45; 1980, p. 7; and 1980, p. 12.

Around these core leaders the fringe players include priests from around
the diocese (including Lou Dorn, John Whiteley, Frank Westhoff, and Charles Patterson) and students (such as McNally, Pool, and Cox) who were moulded as successors.  And we would like to know how someone like the Rev. Patrick Dolan arrived as a faculty member.

How and why outsiders were allowed such close proximity to the students
is a question that remains unanswered.  Most of these priests had no connection of the students:  they were not their pastors; they had no affiliation with the seminary.  Nor do we know why they were to relinquish parish duties to hang out with the seminary students.  Obviously, they had not business at St. Thomas, and, yet, they became fixtures with O’Connell’s support and approval.

This stained-glass collage is camouflage for O’Connell’s
sexualized images of young boys. Source: The Anchor,
1982, p. 19.

Embedded in the montage below are these images of students that
O’Connell collected as trophies and/or mementos.
Source: The Anchor, 1982, p. 18.


At the center of the montage
are these images of
students at play.
The Anchor, 1982, p. 18.

Crafting a montage to resemble a stained-glass window is a clever
attempt at hiding O’Connell’s trophy photographs of half-clothed
boys and embracing students. Source: The Anchor, 1982, p. 18.

What appears to be the record of Halloween party is a montage
designed to conceal some of O’Connell’s trophy images.  Source:
The Anchor, 1982, p. 34.

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