ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — While many priests have supported Bishop Richard Malone, some have been very vocal in calling for him to resign. Those who spoke to News 4 call this announcement a step forward.
“It’s a new day in the Diocese of Buffalo and western New York,” said Fr. Paul Seil, of Saint Bernadette Church.
A new day and soon a new leader of the Catholic Diocese in Buffalo. Father Paul Seil, a priest who’s been vocal about Bishop Malone and the sex abuse scandal, says he learned of Malone’s resignation Wednesday morning.
“There was not any direct notice except from the chancery,” said Fr. Seil.
Father Seil, pastor of Saint Bernadette Church, says this email was the only notice Buffalo priests received from the Diocese.
“And that were we to drop the name of Bishop Malone from what we call the Eucharistic prayer, the prayer at the mass that it should just be left blank at this time,” said Fr. Seil.
Seil says it’s been a tough time for priests and parishioners. Many priests have struggled in the last year. Some even starting petitions for Malone to step down.
“It’s almost like that we’ve all exhaled very deeply saying oh, that part’s over now let’s see what we can do together,” said Seil.
Seil says he believes Malone’s resignation brings hope to those who may have lost their faith.
“For those who have stayed with the church through this terrible terrible time, you know hopefully it’ll bolster their faith and help them to reach out to those who have kind of gone in another direction,” said Seil.
Seil says this end to Malone’s time as bishop is a new start for the Catholic community across western New York.
“You can’t blame people for going in another direction when sometimes there seems to not be a great deal of hope, now we have hope, it is a new day,” said Seil.
Seil says he’s never met Albany Bishop Scharfenberger, who’s been appointed the Apostolic administrator, in person. Seil tells News 4 it’s not clear when or if priests will have a physical meeting with him.