Archdiocese of NY "very aware" of Situation in Buffalo Diocese

Extensive consultations occurring

Susan Rose
September 09, 2019 - 11:04 am

USA Today

New York, N.Y. (WBEN) -  The Director of the Office of Communications for the Archdiocese of New York told WBEN Monday that Cardinal Timothy Dolan is keeping close watch on situation with the Diocese of Buffalo.  

Joseph Zwilling said "Cardinal Dolan is very aware of the situation in Buffalo and consulting extensively."  Zwilling added, "I would expect to hear something in the near future."

Zwilling said Cardinal Dolan has been in regular contact with Bishop Richard Malone, the Nuncio and the Holy See. 

Chris Altieri is with the Catholic Herald and says that Bishop Malone is not aware of any consultations with regard to canonical proceedings against him at this point, and he attributed that information to Kathy Spangler, who serves as Malone's spokesperson.

"This is not something that Cardinal Dolan woke up about and found out because he read the Catholic Herald this morning," said Altieri. "This is on his radar for sure."

The leader of the New York Archdiocese is said to be considering options for the Buffalo Diocese. 

There is a new Vatican document which allows Cardinal Dolan to take action. The document is titled "Vos Estis Lux Mundi."  Pope Francis enacted the law earlier this year, following a meeting of Bishops in February. It streamlines investigations into clerical abuse and remove obstacles to investigations of abuse coverup.  When there is an allegation of misbehavior or the mishandling of an allegation, it falls to the Metropolitan Archbishop.

"There is a new and largely untested church law in play, as well as a very complicated and difficult situation involving a relationship of the institution of the Catholic Church in New York State with civil authorities, both state and federal authorities," added Altieri, as he explained why this is such a complex matter. "Specifically, there's a civil RICO action in New York State court involving the Diocese of Buffalo, so it's an extraordinarily complex and fraught situation, and I don't know what fast enough means, and I don't know that anybody does except to say that it's pretty obvious that folks in Buffalo are sorely tried and fairly impatient."

While Altieri doesn't know what action, if any, will be taken, and he says he's unsure of a clear timeline, he believes that people shouldn't expect anything too soon.

"Bureaucratic gears tend to grind slowly," he said. "These are going to turn probably slower than usual, and I know people probably won't like to hear that, but it's the way of things, and the reason is that church authorities want to make sure that they have their ducks in a row before taking action."

Bishop Richard Malone is under increasing pressure to resign for his handling of the sex abuse crisis in the Diocese. 

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