Bishop Richard Malone is welcoming his Brooklyn counterpart, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, for what he calls a visitation and a review of the Diocese of Buffalo.
Neither Diocese is commenting about this visit, so Spectrum News turned to Rocco Palmo, a Vatican expert who has known DiMarzio for 20 years, for more insight.
Palmo spoke extensively over the phone about the man Pope Francis has sent to Buffalo to conduct what Palmo says is equivalent to an FBI investigation or grand jury into the Diocese handling of the clergy sex abuse crisis and other related issues.
He says Buffalo is now only the fourth Diocese in the last decade to be put under visitation — the third by Pope Francis.
Palmo says DiMarzio will likely be interviewing stakeholders, reviewing documents and files, as well as anything else he wants without interference at the direction of the pope.
He says DiMarzio has the work ethic and troubleshooting mind to put together a detailed report aimed at restoring confidence.
"He's tough, he's thorough. He loves putting together reports. It's just a fact-finding mission, but at the same time, the fact that Rome has taken a drastic, significant step, it signals there is something gravely problematic that needs to be addressed in some way," said Palmo.
Palmo expects DiMarzio's report, which will be sent to the Vatican for review, to be completed before Malone and the state delegation head to Rome for a meeting with the pope the second week of November.
Interesting to note, Palmo says while Malone can survive this, the previous two visitations at other Dioceses under Pope Francis have resulted in the pontiff asking for those bishops to resign.