Secretary to the Bishop Takes Leave of Absence

Cites personal reasons

Tom Puckett
August 20, 2019 - 3:11 pm


Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - Another surprising development from within the hierarchy of the Diocese of Buffalo Tuesday as Rev. Ryszard Biernat consented to take a leave of absence from his position as Secretary to the Bishop and Vice-Chancellor for personal reasons. This leave is for an undetermined length of time.

The diocese says the release of this statement today "was out of respect for Fr. Biernat’s request to delay this announcement until he had the opportunity to confer with his legal counsel".

Last year, Biernat told a congregation at St. John The Baptist Church he was a victim of sexual abuse by a priest himself, but gave no details.

Whistleblower Siobhan O'Connor says, “It was a privilege to work with Father Ryszard Biernat for three years. I am a better person and a stronger Catholic because of him. Since I am no longer privy to the inner workings of the Chancery, I can only note that the Diocese’s cryptic statement makes it clear that this is a highly unusual situation. Whatever is going on in there, I can tell you one thing: I have total trust in Father Ryszard’s selfless commitment to the priesthood, our diocese and Our Lord. Father Ryszard’s name is Polish for “Richard,” which means that I worked closely with two Richards during my time in the Chancery. One of them I trust with my whole heart. The other is Bishop Malone.”

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O'Connor told Tom Bauerle she was stunned to read the diocese's statement regarding Fr. Biernat. "He was always one who wanted to bring forth the truth, not to cover it up, so I cannot imagine that would be the case, that he would have failed to report abuse taking place," says O'Connor. 

She believes the diocese is in turmoil. "So much of what they say is either cryptic, confusing or unrelated. I was speaking with a correspondent from Rome, I told him the diocese was bleeding to death. I wish we had a leader who would take care of the problem," says O'Connor. "There's more confusion amongst the people. I told the corresponded we need help from Rome and we need an investigation on the diocese, because we don't know who to trust."

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