Buffalo Diocese, lay people reveal plans to help restore trust in Catholic church


Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone is working to restore trust in the Catholic Church. A group of lay people hope their suggestions will help after the sex abuse scandal rocked the Buffalo Diocese.

The Movement to Restore Trust and the Buffalo Diocese met Thursday to give suggestions for the Diocese aimed at restoring faith in Catholic leaders.

John Hurley, president of Canisius College and a member of the Movement to Restore Trust talked about those suggestion on WBEN radio Monday afternoon.

“We put nine, basic, kind of foundational, recommendations in front of the Bishop and we said this is what needs to happen to begin the process of restoring trust in the diocese and he said, I can do those,” said John Hurley.

Together, they’re trying to figure out how to implement change within the Catholic Church, after the sex abuse scandal rocked the Buffalo Diocese last year.

Some of the changes include reviewing the Diocese’s intake process for sex abuse claims and looking at the diocese’s approach when releasing the names of clergy who’ve been credibly accused. The group would also establish a new process for allegations and any claims against a bishop would be referred to a different agency.

“It’s not 100%, none of these things are 100%,” said Hurley.

Fr. Paul Seil, pastor of St Bernadette Church in Orchard Park, says he’s concerned about how the crisis has affected all catholics.

“It’s not just about the committees, or the organizations or the panels that get together, you know that’s all wonderful and good, but how is it going to filter to the actual person in the pew,” said Fr. Seil.

Fr. Seil says there’s been a lack of communication.

Under the new list of suggestions, Bishop Richard Malone will create a process for meeting with victims of sexual abuse by setting aside regular hours on his schedule.

“If that comes to fruition I think that’s going to be very helpful and go a long way to healing,” said Fr. Seil.

Bishop Malone says he will also hold diocesan-wide listening sessions to hear directly from all catholics.

“We got to start with prayer and after the prayer, we’ve got to start listening,” said Fr. Seil.

The Diocese is expected to give those dates and times of the listening sessions by the end of the month. The first session could be held as early as May.

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