Bishop Malone denies report claiming resignation "imminent"

Malone on report: "Absolutely false."

WBEN Newsroom
November 13, 2019 - 12:11 pm

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A report from Rome indicates that Bishop Richard Malone's resignation as head of the Diocese of Buffalo may be imminent, but the Bishop is disputing that claim. 

Christopher Lamb, Rome correspondent for The Tablet, is reporting reliable sources have told him Malone's resignation may be close.

However, Catholic Herald reporter Chris Altieri said that Malone himself told him on Thursday that report was false.


 

"Bishop Malone continues to serve as the leader of the Diocese of Buffalo.  He is currently engaged with the other bishops of New York State in their Ad Limina visit, discussing with officials of the Holy See and with Pope Francis the areas of challenge and progress of the Catholic Church in New York State and the scope of the vibrant ministries serving the needs of New Yorkers, both Catholic and non-Catholic alike," the Diocese of Buffalo said in a prepared statement.

"When Bishop Malone returns to Buffalo he will be communicating further about his meeting with the Holy Father and the other participating bishops."

Malone was in Rome on Wednesday and said Mass in Vatican City at St. Paul's Basilica. An investigation into Malone and the Diocese conducted by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio from the Diocese of Brooklyn concluded on October 31. Any resignation would need to be accepted by The Pope. Lamb said that the papal nuncio to the United States first learned of the bishop's resignation last week.

"The wheels of the Vatican bureaucracy can run very slow at times," Lamb said. "Sometimes things can be held up that can be a slip between cup and lip. "From what I'm hearing it's in the days zone (for his resignation)."

Abuse survivor James Faluszak says a Malone resignation won't complete the healing process. "I think it will be a relief for many survivors around the country. We certainly need to see a change in the leaderhip in the diocese. More importantly, we need to see a change of heart in the diocese," says Faluszak. "The resignation doesn't automatically change the culture within the body of the clergy that allowed these things to happen in the first place or be covered up subsequently."

"I am rejoicing in it, it's been too long in coming," says Robert Hoatson of Road to Recovery. "Evidently, the apostolic visit unveiled new accusations against Bishop Malone. It's clear most of the Diocese don't want him as bishop, and hopefully he hs now seen the light." Hoatson says Malone lied about the abuse too many times. "When we asked for his resignation, it was because there were 42 credibly accused priests, but the number kept going up, now to 180. We know the cases of Fr. Art Smith and Fr. Jeffrey Nowak proved Bishop Malone was not being transparent. 

Malone has been under fire for allegations of mishandling the sexual abuse crisis in the Diocese of Buffalo. The scandal caught fire in early 2018 after Michael Whalen came forward with claims of clergy sex abuse, leading to dozens of more victims to come forward. Malone has refused to resign despite multiple protests and pushes for him to do so.

The diocese issued the following statement late Wednesday afternoon: "Bishop Malone continues to serve as the leader of the Diocese of Buffalo.  He is currently engaged with the other bishops of New York State in their Ad Limina visit, discussing with officials of the Holy See and with Pope Francis the areas of challenge and progress of the Catholic Church in New York State and the scope of the vibrant ministries serving the needs of New Yorkers, both Catholic and non-Catholic alike. When Bishop Malone returns to Buffalo he will be communicating further about his meeting with the Holy Father and the other participating bishops."

AUDIO EXTRAS

In an exclusive  September interview with Tom Bauerle on WBEN, Bishop Malone said, "I intend to continue with the ministry to which the church has called me for as long as I can do it," said Malone. "I really want to be able to be a part, with the lay folks, and my priests and deacons, as part of leading us out of this terrible storm that has had such a profound and painful impact on so many victims for decades."

Bauerle asked if there would be any circumstance in which Malone would change his mind, including a petition from diocesan priests that asks him to step down.

"Not necessarily - I would pay close attention to that; I would consult with others about that, including perhaps some of the priests who theoretically signed the letter and other priests whom I'd know would never sign the letter because they express their support every single day to me," he said. "I would probably consult with Cardinal Dolan, who is the metropolitan archbishop responsible for New York, but I wouldn't do it automatically."

However, Bauerle pressed the bishop even further, asking how it would be possible for him to lead the diocese out of this turmoil especially when there have been so many calls for his resignation such as the Movement to Restore Trust.

"I hope people see it as a deep commitment on my part to be a part of the solution and part of the renewal of the diocese," Malone began. "If I didn't know, and I can't give you numbers, but if I didn't know I had many other lay leaders and clergy leaders with me in this, then it'd be a different story, but I know that I do. Will they challenge me as MRT did? Yes, they will. Do I need to hear that challenge? Yes, I do. But, I believe we can do it.

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