Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese Bishop Finn resigns

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Bishop Robert Finn has resigned as leader of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Roman Catholic Diocese.

The Vatican announced Finn's resignation early Tuesday. Finn became the highest-ranking U.S. church official convicted of a crime related to the church's child sexual abuse scandal after he waited six months to report a diocese priest suspected of abuse.

The Vatican appointed Kansas City, Kansas Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann as Apostolic Administrator of the Missouri diocese until a replacement for Finn is appointed. Naumann will retain his duties in the Kansas diocese.

"I pray that the coming weeks and months will be a time of grace and healing for the Diocese," Naumann said. "It is my desire to do all that I can to prepare this Diocese to welcome well its new bishop."

Finn was convicted in September 2012 of one misdemeanor for failing to report child abuse suspicions. A diocese priest, Rev. Shawn Ratigan, was sentenced to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.

"It has been an honor and joy for me to serve here among so many good people of faith," Bishop Finn said.  "Please begin already to pray for whomever God may call to be the next Bishop of Kansas City - St. Joseph.”

Sister Jeanne Christensen, a member of the Sisters of Mercy who has been a vocal critic of Finn, says "it's sad" that it's taken this long for Finn to step down. And Rebecca Randles -- an attorney for several plaintiffs in abuse lawsuits -- says the resignation is an important step for abuse victims and the diocese.

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