KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Less than a week after Pope Francis accepted Bishop Robert Finn's resignation, Archbishop Joseph Naumann is learning all the ins and outs of being an Apostolic Administrator or interim Bishop. He says leading two regions' Catholic communities at once isn't easy, but he's willing to do what needs to be done.
On the Friday before Bishop Finn's resignation was made public, Archbishop Joseph Naumann heard from the Apostolic Nuncio, or the ambassador of the Vatican to the United States. He was told Bishop Finn was resigning, and he'd have to take over the administrative duties of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese.
"It's one community. We share the plight of the church on both sides of State Line Road, affects one another, so I felt if I can do anything to assist the church at this time of transition, I want to do that," said Archbishop Naumann.
As the Apostolic Administrator of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese, Archbishop Naumann will maintain his responsibilities in Kansas City, Kan., and take care of day-to-day administrative responsibilities to keep the diocese on the Missouri side operating smoothly.
"It's not a time for innovation or to start new projects, it wouldn't be right for me to obligate the next bishop with something I might start, but it is a time to make sure that the normal life of the church continues," the Archbishop said.
Naumann says he's saddened by what's happened with Bishop Finn, but he says that sadness doesn't overshadow the hurt he feels for the victims of child sex crimes in the church. Looking ahead, Naumann expects the next Bishop to be from an area outside of Kansas City, someone who's a leader who can unite a diocese that's divided by several issues, and perhaps someone who may remind you of the Pope.
"I think each Pope puts his stamp on the church, and I think one way he does that is by those that are appointed to serve as Bishops, and I think Pope Francis has energized a lot of people within the church," said Naumann.