National News

Brooklyn Bishop Concludes Vatican-Ordered Investigation Into Buffalo Diocese

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Bishop Thomas Deenihan of Meath, Ireland, pray during the 42nd annual Columbus Day Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City Oct. 14, 2019. (Photo: CNS)

By Christopher White, The Tablet’s National Correspondent

NEW YORK —  Brooklyn’s Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has completed his investigation into the troubled diocese of Buffalo, New York, where Bishop Richard Malone faces accusations of covering up sexual abuse by priests.

A statement released on Thursday by the diocese of Brooklyn said that Bishop DiMarzio had made three trips to Buffalo over the past month where he met with nearly 80 individuals during a total period of seven days.

Among those interviewed, the statement said, were “clergy and laypeople, including members of the Presbyteral Council, Diocesan Consultors, Diocesan Finance Council, Diocesan Pastoral Council, Territorial Vicars, and Senior Priests.”

Bishop DiMarzio was appointed by the Holy See Oct. 3 to lead what is known as an Apostolic Visitation after months of speculation that the Vatican would intervene in the diocese, which has been roiled by controversies for over a year.

He will now draft a formal report of his findings to be sent to officials in the Holy See for a review and determination of facts.

When the investigation was first announced, a communiqué from the papal embassy to the United States said the investigation would not be subject to the recent papal decree ‘Vos estis lux mundi,’ which established new legal norms to hold bishops and other superiors accountable for their handling of abuse complaints, but would be broader in scope.

For over a year, numerous clergy and lay Catholics in Buffalo have called for Malone’s resignation, which he has repeatedly resisted, and a September poll by the Buffalo News claimed that 86 percent of the residents wanted him to leave. According to a report from WKBW180 clergy and religious leaders in the diocese have been accused of sexual misconduct.

While Bishop Malone has kept a relatively low profile over the last month during Bishop DiMarzio’s investigation, last week he presided over the installation Mass for the new director of Buffalo’s seminary and was met with protesters outside.

Later this month the U.S. bishops will meet in Baltimore for their annual assembly where among the topics for discussion will be the Church’s efforts to further enact procedures for reporting complaints against bishops accused of abuse, misconduct, or cover-up. It remains unknown whether Bishop Malone will be in attendance.