EDITORIAL: Catholic diocese needs a new leader

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

September 8, 2019

In recent months, Richard Malone, the embattled bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, continued to receive support from members of the Movement to Restore Trust, an advisory group of local Catholics that was formed in response to a recent rash of sexual abuse allegations facing members of the clergy.

On Thursday, that all changed.

The group of lay Catholics who had been working with Malone to develop reforms in hopes of moving the diocese forward joined a chorus of critics who have been calling on the bishop to resign. In a statement issued to the media this week, members of the Movement to Restore Trust members determined that Malone’s actions in response to the sex abuse scandal threaten to set the diocese “back several decades.” In the opinion of the group, Malone has failed to handle the situation in such a manner as to pose “substantial risk of harm to the diocese and the good works that the church does in this region.”

The Movement to Restore Trust’s position amounts to a vote of no confidence in Bishop Malone and it is one Catholics across Western New York should seriously consider as they form opinions on diocesan leadership.

This select group of Catholics was chosen to assist in the process of developing much-needed reforms within the diocese. For them to conclude Malone has mishandled diocesan affairs should be proof enough that new leadership is needed.

As has now been widely reported, Malone’s latest round of missteps were laid bare for the public to hear when a once-trusted secretary released secretly recorded audio tapes on which Malone can be heard talking about his fear of losing his position amid the crisis and his thoughts on potentially embarrassing matters, including a priest’s alleged sexual harassment of a seminarian.

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