St. Bonaventure president is latest to call for Malone’s resignation
St. Bonaventure University President Dennis R. DePerro is the latest high-profile Catholic in Western New York urging Bishop Richard J. Malone to resign over his handling of clergy sexual abuse allegations.
DePerro released a statement on Friday saying that Malone “hasn’t been transparent enough along the way for Catholics in Western New York to continue to have confidence in his leadership” and asking the bishop to step down.
He joins other prominent Catholics such as Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, Rep. Brian Higgins and Paul Snyder, a deacon and businessman, in calling for Malone’s resignation. Hochul, Higgins and Snyder made public statements last August urging the bishop to step aside and let someone else lead the diocese.
“No organization in today’s world – including the Catholic Church – is exempt from accountability,” DePerro said. “I believe that a good leader would recognize that moment and step down.”
The Buffalo Diocese has been in the grips of a clergy sex abuse scandal for more than a year, sparked by a retired priest’s 2018 admission to The Buffalo News that he had molested “probably dozens” of boys in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
DePerro said he believes Malone is a “good person spiritually.”
“But the reality is that we’re not healing. We’re not restoring trust,” he said. “I admire his unflinching desire to repair the damage this crisis has caused, but sometimes, the most courageous thing a man can do is to step aside and recognize that his voice is no longer being heard and that he’s standing in the way of creating true resolution.”
Malone has repeatedly said he will not step down until he submits his resignation to the Vatican on his 75th birthday in March 2021.
Malone recently told WBEN radio that he made a commitment to lead the Buffalo diocese when he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.
“I said yes to that and I need to say yes to that in good times and in bad,” he said.
He also said a change in leadership now could cause a “period of disruption” that would be harmful to the diocese. It can take months, and sometimes more than a year, for the pope to name a new bishop for a diocese.
“I don’t think we need that kind of a gap right now in leadership,” said Malone. The bishop also said the diocese was digging its way out of the sex abuse crisis and trying to be more transparent.