Letter to Pope Francis

By Gary Astridge, Kevin Koscielniak, Chris Szuflita, Michael Whalen, And Angelo Ervolina
Buffalo Survivors Group
September 17, 2020

[with pdf]

We are the five founding members of the Buffalo Survivors Group, all Survivors of sexual abuse by the hands of clergy and religious in the Diocese of Buffalo, New York.

As you know, the Diocese of Buffalo has filed for bankruptcy because of the numerous lawsuits filed against them. This legal process has now become a battle between lawyers, the ones who will reap massive financial compensation.

As Survivors, we know that no matter what financial restitution we may receive, it will be miniscule in comparison to what is rightfully deserved. Because of our legal system, money is the compensation for lives ruined and we will never be made whole by this process. It appears that the root cause is not being properly addressed and corrected, and many perpetrators are essentially going unpunished.

From the time the apostolic administrator, Edward Scharfenberger, came to Buffalo, he stated on numerous occasions his willingness to meet with any Survivor and offered the opportunity to see the files of our offenders. To this date, even with our reaching out to him, he has never personally followed through to contact any of us, making his words as a representative of the Catholic Church ring hollow. As Survivors, we are forced to relive our past experiences of sexual abuse and being ignored retraumatizes us.

For many of us, our souls were tom out as children and our worlds went dark. Ever since, we have been going through life as the walking dead. Do you have any idea what that is like, Your Holiness?



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