St. Bon­aven­ture pres­i­dent is lat­est to call for Malone’s res­ig­na­tion

The Buffalo News - - WEATHER - By Jay Tokasz NEWS STAFF RE­PORTER

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.

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