Jan. 8, 2020
By Christopher Altieri
Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany, New York, is in a tough spot. Appointed apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Buffalo after the resignation of Bishop Richard Malone, Bishop Scharfenberger is the public face of the Church in a place riddled with scandal and in dire need of urgent repair. But he apparently has little power to effect reform and little information with which to work.
Bishop Malone resigned after 18 months of intense public scrutiny of his leadership, which produced significant evidence of serious mismanagement and attracted the attention of state and federal prosecutors.
“I didn’t know quite what to expect,” Bishop Scharfenberger told Charlie Specht of ABC local affiliate WKBW in a wide-ranging interview that aired earlier this week, “because I really hadn’t been briefed at all.”
The bishop continued: “All I knew is what I read in the papers, to tell you the truth.”
He would have read enough, then, to know that there is a great deal amiss in the diocese, but not always enough to take informed and prudent steps toward remedy.
Observers – the faithful and clergy of Buffalo and beyond, as well as reporters – were surprised to hear Bishop Scharfenberger say that he had not received a copy of the report, which Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn prepared after conducting a fact-finding mission to the diocese late last year.
“I was not given that,” Bishop Scharfenberger told WKBW, “I don’t know what it contains.
“I was not given any documentation or any marching orders that ‘you’re here to clean things up,’ or anything. I was just told to be the administrator of the diocese.”
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