Buffalo Diocese bishop responds to criticism from parishioners

Spectrum News 1 [Buffalo, NY]

April 12, 2024

By Brianne Roesser

A group of Western New York parishioners sent a letter to Pope Francis about concerns with the Buffalo Diocese under Bishop Michael Fisher’s leadership.

What You Need To Know

 Five WNY parishioners wrote a letter to Pope Francis with concerns about Buffalo Diocese Bishop Michael Fisher
 They cited a decline in attendance and fewer services
 Fisher said this is all part of a restructuring after the Diocese declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2020, before he became Bishop in 2021
Fisher said he is open to any investigation that may come of the letter

“He’s failed miserably, both at the spiritual level and at the secular level,” said parishioner Michael Taheri. “It’s just a train wreck in this community.”

Taheri and four others wrote a letter to Pope Francis calling for Fisher’s removal and an investigation into operations, citing the closure and sale of parishes, a decline in attendance and fewer services.

All this while the Diocese pays out settlements to sexual abuse victims.

Fisher said the changes are part of restructuring in an attempt to navigate Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed in 2020, before his time in Buffalo. Fisher became bishop in 2021.

“If they want to send in people to investigate or see how we’re doing things, I’m certainly open to that,” said Fisher. “I’m open to [see] how we can do things better.”

“I’d like to see Bishop Fisher have an Easter conversion, recognize the shortcomings and say, ‘I’ve got to be a better communicator,'” said Taheri.

“I recognize the passion [of parishioners] and that’s what I guess impressed me about being bishop here,” said Fisher. “That the people of this Diocese have a long legacy of their Catholic faith. They love their parishes. They love their church. As you know, we’re going through an awful lot of things.”