Another Priest Comes Forward Asking for Bishop's Resignation

Elma parishioners were polled on their attitudes toward Malone

WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman

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(WBEN) - A Southtowns Priest has become the latest clergy member to publicly ask for the resignation of Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone.

Rev. Gene Ulrich of the Church of the Annunciation in Elma sent a letter to the Bishop asking him to offer his resignation. 

Ulrich said that he issued both an in person and online survey of parishioners so that he could relay that message to the Bishop. In the letter, he indicated that the majority of people belonging to the church hoped that the Bishop would step aside. 

In the written survey, 13 people indicated continuing support for the Bishop, while 32 said that he should resign or retire. Two others support support the Bishop but want him to resign/retire. An online survey sent to parishioners elicited the following replies: Do you have confidence in Bishop Richard Malone's leadership to restore trust and credibility in the Diocese of Buffalo? 4 Yes 24 No; do you call for Bishop Richard Malone's immediate resignation? 23 Yes 4 No.

You can read the entire letter below:

September 10, 2019

Most Reverend Richard J. Malone
Bishop of Buffalo
795 Main Street
Buffalo, New York 14203


Dear Bishop Malone:

The Church of the Annunciation, Elma prays God’s peace, strength and discernment at this excruciating difficult period of time. You have publicly expressed your intention “to continue the ministry to which the Church has called me as long as I can …I want to be part of the renewal of the diocese of Buffalo.” You added that you can only continue your service as Shepherd with the support of clergy and laity.  

As pastor, I have a responsibility to our faith community and to you as our Bishop, to gauge to some degree the measure of that support and convey it to you. I asked Ms. Deb Keenan, graduate of Christ the King Seminary and our Pastoral Associate for Ministry, to speak at weekend Masses on the occasion of the CKS Appeal. After affirming the quality theological formation/education that she received at the Seminary as an Ecclesial Minister, Deb provided parishioners an opportunity to express their support for you to continue as Bishop or their loss of confidence. Members of the Pastoral Council were present after each Mass to listen to parishioners who chose to express their feeling/opinion. Tom Di Scipio, Chair, Pastoral Council, convened this key consultative body on Monday, September 9 to digest all the responses in order to measure support in our faith community. Our parish trustees Dottie Austin and Mike Skrip were part of the assessment/discussion. Deacon Jim Jaworski, our Pastoral Associate for Administration, sent an e-survey to parish leaders involved in community life (ministry, liturgy, formation, counsel, management, organizations, finance and charity) to elicit their response.    

After Masses people did stop to talk with members of our Pastoral Council. A few were so distraught with news reports that they could not say or write a word. Some expressed themselves in writing: 13 indicate continuing support for you; 32 that you should resign or retire; 2 support you but want you to resign/retire; 1 dissatisfied with bishops. The e-survey elicited the following replies: Do you have confidence in Bishop Richard Malone's leadership to restore trust and credibility in the Diocese of Buffalo? 4 Yes 24 No; do you call for Bishop Richard Malone's immediate resignation? 23 Yes 4 No.  The e-survey has significance because responses come from people very active in parish life. Of the 54 e-surveys that were sent out, 29 were returned, a 54% response rate. 

Our Pastoral Council met on Monday to review comments made by parishioners/visitors after weekend Masses and replies to our e-survey. Discussion was thoughtful and serious. We recognize the enormous task given to you and our responsibility to share the mind and heart of our parish. Our Pastoral Council and Trustees respectfully urge you to weigh the substantial lack of support for you as our Shepherd and the well-being of the diocese in making the decision to offer your resignation or request early retirement at this time. 

Personally I have been supporting you because of your commitment to work closely with the Movement to Restore Trust in bringing healing to those deeply harmed, restoring credibility and making the necessary structural changes to ensure greater lay involvement dealing with clergy abuse of minors and vulnerable adults and adult misconduct cases. MRT has now withdrawn their support and is asking for your resignation. It is difficult to see how, with continuing disclosures, that you can effectively lead the Catholic Church at Buffalo. For the greater good you should offer your resignation to the Holy Father.  

Sincerely,

Rev. Eugene P. Ulrich

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