Bishop Malone has been effective leader for WNY Catholics and shouldn’t resign
The last National Catholic Reporter said that Bishop Richard Malone will not resign. That’s good news to us, and I believe for the Buffalo Diocese and the Catholic Church overall.
If there were compelling action reasons for calling for Bishop Malone’s resignation, fine. But so far, from published reports, we haven’t seen justification for singling out this Buffalo Bishop, late to this likely 100-year-old-plus problem. He’s been most forthcoming with admitting the problem, seeking and activating hopeful solutions and revealing suspects.
A priest, who’s revealed himself as a victim of clergy abuse, acted as the Bishop’s secretary. This aggrieved priest stated publicly, “Bishop Malone does not like victims.” “He should resign.”
We find that assumption hard to believe.
More importantly, it’s not about liking victims and disliking perpetrators. It’s about doing justice for victims and to perpetrators. Having sex with pre-adolescent children and with adolescents under their charge or responsibility are severely criminal, severely evil and need to be punished severely.
Covering up such evil, especially in a fashion that endangers other children, is also grievous evil, crime and sin.
Bishop Malone is charged with none of these.
What he is, is compassionate, energetic, highly intelligent and educated, a Bible scholar, an outstanding public speaker and educator, and a faithful and good priest. (Our belief is based on hearing him speak as main speaker on Refugees and Immigrants at Christ the King Seminary, in a panel discussion with nationally known authority on immigrants Atty. Michael Marszalkowski, in an hour-long meeting with the Bishop and Congressional representatives, brief personal conversations and faithfully reading his published utterances.)
If he didn’t perform perfectly in this sexual abuse crisis, who did?
We can’t afford to lose this man as Bishop or as a priest or for that matter any priest, based on personal preference.
Most of us Catholics have been incredulous and reluctant to acknowledge the depth of this problem. Rather we saw it more as an individual tragic fall from grace (literally) by a priest, we’ve known and loved. We, unfortunately focused on each single tragedy, rather than the tragedy to so many young children, high school altar servers and students and seminarians.
We didn’t accept that priests among us could behave so cruelly, so destructively, so selfishly. Their behavior is compounded by the fact that they had graces, beyond the rest of us. Instead they utilized their special position to seduce children. But, remember, according to various estimates and the extensive research of John Jay University in 2004, 96% of priests are not sexual abusers of children/adolescents. On the other hand, no priest (nor anyone) should abuse children.
It’s against everything we Catholics profess. We profess concern about the life of all children, born and unborn. Yet, a significant number of our priests, whom we revered and supported, have victimized and damaged the lives of many, many children.
Unfortunately, victims’ plight has been contaminated by a lawsuit-happy world, where multiple lawyers advertise getting rich in these matters. This naturally makes us suspicious. Further the false accusations and then recantations by some, hurts the just claims of the multitude of victims.
However and finally, we Catholics can’t allow ourselves to be divided and ready to react against our own interests in this time of crisis. It’s fair to raise criticism, but it should be done constructively, with charity, forthrightly, and not played out in the media, some of which tends to seek controversy.
Margaret and Robert Golden