If you haven't been reading Rod Dreher's posts on the ugly situation involving Bishop Finn, Fr. Shawn Ratigan, and the diocese's mishandling of child porn found on Fr. Ratigan's computer, you really should be. Here are some of the posts so far:
Why Bishop Finn deserves indictment
Forgiveness as enabling behavior
What I wish every bishop would get
I left a lengthy comment beneath the first post. It had to do with this situation. Essentially, I learned a long time ago that many pastors (to say nothing of bishops) have an "us vs. them" mentality when it comes to the laity, and that even when the laity are completely right about something, some in the clergy--some, not all--will batten down the hatches and build a wall of resentment that their judgment was ever challenged. Failing to understand the clergy sex-abuse scandal in the light of that truth will make many scratch their heads and wonder how any human being could fail to react with outrage over child-porn photos on a priest's computer; but for far too long, bishops, pastors, and others went into "us vs. them" mode in these situations and saw their primary duty as the duty to protect the accused priest, not to protect the laity or the innocent children.
I can't say whether that was Bishop Finn's motive or mentality here, of course. But what I can say is that there is something deeply, drastically, horrifically wrong when in this day and age a diocese finds pornographic pictures of young girls on a priest's computer in December and doesn't get around to making any official notification of same to the police until May. Yes, others saw the pictures, and there are questions about why some of them didn't also notify police, and why they're not mentioned in the indictment. Fair questions, all of them. But either bishops are in charge of their priests and have the ultimate responsibility for them, or they don't. If the first is true, then we need to stop making excuses when bishops fail to act against clergy sex abusers. If the second is true, then there's no real need for a hierarchy at all.
I, of course, think the first is true. I think these situations involve, especially in the present age when the past realities about not knowing much about pedophilia, etc., no longer apply, a serious and grave dereliction of duty on the part of bishops. Christ appointed them to be the spiritual fathers of their dioceses, not enablers and protectors of those handful of priests who get up to criminal activities including the sexual abuse of children. By focusing on the latter, bishops are abandoning not only the laity, but every good and faithful priest as well, to the status of spiritual orphans.