Could Bishop Richard Malone be resigning?
According to a media report out of Rome, it could be imminent.
Christopher Lamb, the Rome Correspondent for the Catholic journal The Tablet, says sources made him aware that the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo could be resigning at any time.
Lamb says he's learned the papal nuncio to the United States was informed of Malone's resignation decision last week.
Bishops from across New York state are due to meet Pope Francis on Friday, and it is up to the Pope to accept the resignation or not.
Malone has been under fire for his mishandling of sexual abuse in the Buffalo diocese.
The potential development comes just weeks after Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn's apostolic visitation of the diocese.
A spokesperson for Malone did not confirm or deny the report, simply saying she's received no information about any potential resignation.
“Bishop Malone continues to serve as the leader of the Diocese of Buffalo. He is currently engaged with the other bishops of New York State in their Ad Limina visit, discussing with officials of the Holy See and with Pope Francis the areas of challenge and progress of the Catholic Church in New York State and the scope of the vibrant ministries serving the needs of New Yorkers, both Catholic and non-Catholic alike,” according to a statement from the Diocese of Buffalo. “When Bishop Malone returns to Buffalo he will be communicating further about his meeting with the Holy Father and the other participating bishops.”
The Associated Press is also reporting that Bishop Nicholas DeMarzio, who was sent to Buffalo by Pope Francis to investigate Malone's handling of sex abuse accusations made against priests, is now himself facing accusations of abusing a child in the 1970s while serving as a priest in New Jersey.
James Faluszczak, a clergy sex abuse survivor and advocate for victims, said there are a lot of questions that remain.
“We don’t know if Bishop Malone chose this route on his own or if he saw this coming, that the Pope or various congregations in the Vatican offices in the Vatican might be calling for his removal and that it’s possible that they’re offering him the chance to resign on his own rather than for that to be imposed on him,” he said.
Ultimately, Faluszczak wants Malone to leave the ministry sooner rather than later.
“I just think it’s hypocritical that the bishop of a diocese has not taken seriously enough the responsibility to protect the most vulnerable members of his congregation,” he said.
Road to Recovery, a non-profit charity based in New Jersey, that helps victims of sex abuse and their families, along with a former priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, and a survivor of clergy sexual abuse plan to hold a press conference Thursday morning at 11:30 a.m. outside the Diocese of Buffalo. They plan to discuss these latest developments. They say they hope new leadership in the diocese will be more truthful, honest, and transparent.