BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)– People gathered together this morning in support of seminary whistleblower Stephen Parisi across from St. Stanislaus Church, near the Bishop’s residence.
Other whistleblowers, James Faluszczak and Siobhan O’Connor were there as well standing in solidarity with him.
They say seminarian Stephen Parisi of the Diocese of Buffalo announced he would not return for studies next week at Christ the King Seminary.
Parisi says the seminary is “sickly dysfunctional.”
There’s been retaliation against seminarians by seminary officials.
The diocese says Bishop Malone has never allowed any priest with a credible allegation of abusing a minor to remain in ministry. They also say there has never been an accusation that Malone violated the seal of the confessional.
A statement released by the diocese on Sunday says:
Earlier today, while many Catholics were attending Sunday Mass, three individuals chose to gather in front of St. Stanislaus Church and Bishop Malone’s residence. These individuals were within their rights, and displayed various poster signs. The Diocese of Buffalo, has responded to these topics previously and it is unfortunate that some have not received or understood the responses. It is necessary that the truth, even if not accepted by some, be shared again:Kathy Spangler, Director of Diocese of Buffalo
Bishop Malone has never allowed any priest with a credible allegation of abusing a minor to remain in ministry. He has stated it is his responsibility to lead the Diocese of Buffalo and he will continue to do so by continuing to offer opportunities to bring healing to victim-survivors of abuse and renewed trust to the people of the Diocese.
Mr. Parisi has very publicly announced his withdrawal from the Program of Priestly Formation and educational studies at Christ the King Seminary. Mr. Parisi was under investigation for academic dishonesty at Christ the King Seminary and his departure hinders any further inquiry.
In addition, there has never been an accusation that Bishop Malone violated the seal of the confessional. Mr. Parisi and others make the outrageous and unsupported claim that Bishop Malone has not honored the seal and ignored a complaint that Fr. Jeffrey Nowak violated the seal of the confessional. Bishop Malone has never ignored this complaint. To the contrary, Bishop Malone has initiated an investigation of the complaint. When the individual who made the complaint was first questioned, his response was vague and needed follow up. Fr. Nowak has been removed from ministry while the investigation continues. The Office of Professional Responsibility has tried to contact the individual making this complaint but he has yet to respond. The Diocese will continue to pursue this claim and take additional action if necessary.
Finally, in reference to Mr. Parisi’s recent interview statements regarding seminarian personal finances, students accepted in the Program of Priestly Formation (PPF) for the Diocese of Buffalo sign promissory notes for 0 (zero) percent interest loans for tuition, room and board expenses. Upon ordination to the priesthood, these loans are forgiven. For those without medical insurance, a policy for students is provided. Men discerning the call to enter the PPF are informed of these provisions. Some candidates have chosen to delay their entry into the program so they can be adequately prepared for their time of discernment and study. Seminarians who graduate from Christ the King Seminary graduate with a Master’s Degree and, like their counterparts in the secular world, it is not unimaginable that they will incur student debt which focusing on their studies. The Diocese of Buffalo and Christ the King Seminary has assisted seminarians with emergency funding when possible.