With the appointment by the Holy See of Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio as the apostolic visitor to the Diocese of Buffalo (N.Y.), two things are apparent: First, it is clear that the Vatican is well aware of the concerns and needs of the church in the United States, and second, it is clear that the Vatican views Bishop DiMarzio as a fair and excellent administrator.
On the first point, the Vatican pays attention to the concerns of the people of God and takes what they
say very seriously. The Diocese of Buffalo is suffering greatly now. Clergy and laity alike are concerned, and Bishop Robert Malone of Buffalo welcomes the visit of Bishop DiMarzio and our diocesan judicial vicar, Msgr. Steven Aguggia. Pope Francis, and the papal ambassador to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, want to know what’s happening in Buffalo.
Their concern isn’t just about the good administration of the temporal needs of a local church, but about what is ultimately the real point of all church law — the salvation of souls. Bishop DiMarzio’s visit to Buffalo is precisely what St. Thomas Aquinas asks us to do in every moral situation: “to see, to judge and to act.”
The visit is done out of love and concern for the people of the church in Buffalo and throughout the United States. As for the second point, we in the Diocese of Brooklyn can take comfort that the Holy See knows that we have a wise and good Shepherd. They recognize that Bishop DiMarzio is a practical man with many years of experience as a priest and as a bishop.
As a sociologist, Bishop DiMarzio is able to read situations and reports with great ease, but it is as a pastor and a man of faith that he is being sent to the Diocese of Buffalo. Note that in his statement concerning his appointment as apostolic visitor, Bishop DiMarzio invoked the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of “Our Lady, Untier of Knots.”
We in the Diocese of Brooklyn need to pray for our brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Buffalo. They, like all of us, are hurt and scandalized by the sin of clerical sexual abuse, and, they, like all of us, need healing and peace. At the same time, we need to pray for our bishop, as well as for Bishop Malone, for insight, prudence and right judgement. May God bless both of our dioceses.