Bishop Robert Finn is urging followers to pray for his successor.
The priest who led the Diocese of Kansas City-St Joseph in Missouri for nearly 10 years has resigned under a church law that allows bishops to leave early for illness or some "grave" reason that makes them unfit for office. But the resignation does not provide a specific reason.
In 2012, Finn pleaded guilty to failing to report a suspected child abuser, becoming the highest-ranking church official in the U.S. to be convicted of not taking action in response to abuse allegations.
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.