Bishop Malone Resigns: Former Executive Assistant Warns Future Bishop

Tags: Currents, Bishop Malone, Bishop Scharfenberger, Bishops, New York News, New York State

By Tim Harfmann

For over a year, many people publicly demanded that Buffalo’s Bishop Richard Malone resign.

One day after doing so, a protest leader is putting his eventual replacement on notice. 

“Any bishop who comes in here should be on his guard,” said Siobhan O’Connor, who used to work for Bishop Malone as his executive assistant. She leaked documents to the press accusing him of mishandling abuse cases — a move that sparked the crisis in Buffalo. 

In the wake of Bishop Malone’s resignation, she said Catholics in Buffalo will be watching the next bishop closely.

“He should be perhaps a little trepidatious to come here, because he knows that we are laity that’s informed. We stand with survivors, and I would hope that whoever is assigned here will know that he has to be at his best and certainly not following Malone’s playbook,” O’Conner added.

The Vatican has appointed Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of the Diocese of Albany as the apostolic administrator of Buffalo until a permanent replacement is named.

He’s said he’s planning on making weekly visits to Buffalo.

“I would like every parish to be an oasis of security where people can come home and nobody feels left out,” Bishop Scharfenberger said. 

The Brooklyn-born bishop was appointed by the Holy Father to lead the Diocese of Albany five-and-a-half years ago, and has become a national leader in responding to clergy abuse in Albany.

He established a confidential reporting line, created a victim assistance coordinator and setup a predominately lay task force on sexual abuse, among many other initiatives.

Bishop Scharfenberger is promising similar action in Buffalo.

“If it means clarifying our lists, you know, putting names up, putting up more information, whatever can be done in a way that is transparent and responsible – absolutely,” he said. 

O’Connor says she’s happy with the departure of Bishop Malone, but is also reportedly disappointed that the Holy See didn’t release the report prepared by Brooklyn’s Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of his Vatican appointed visitation to Buffalo.