KANSAS CITY, Missouri - The first U.S. catholic bishop ever indicted is back taking confessions and leading mass in Kansas City. One furious parishioner is leading a push for change within the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese.
At dinner Wednesday night, David Biersmith talked about service and religion.
“My faith is my whole life,” Biersmith said. “It’s what I base everything I do on.”
He spent 16 years in religious schools, seminary and wanted to become a catholic priest. However, nine years ago, within his local diocese, something painful changed Biersmith’s life.
“A man doesn’t have a mechanism to handle something like that,” Biersmith said.
That something involves diocese leadership.
Last week, Robert Finn became the first catholic bishop indicted by a federal grand jury. Prosecutors said he failed to report abuse. Finn pleaded not guilty. A spokesperson said the Vatican will not get involved. So, Saturday afternoon Finn was back hearing confessions inside Kansas City’s cathedral. The local diocese is allowing him full pastoral duties.
“It’s going to ruin the local catholic church here,” Biersmith said.
He is angry. Nine years ago, his two sons told him they were molested by a priest. Ever since, Biersmith has been active with Voice of the Faithful, a group pushing for diocese reform. In the Finn case, Biersmith’s group wants one of two things.
“(Finn) needs to resign and we need to try to get somebody else in,” Biersmith. “Whoever comes in will certainly be cognizant of what’s going on. Secondly, the lawyers are talking about putting the diocese in receivership, which is not a bad idea.”
However, it is up to the diocese to make that decision.
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