By Jorge I. Dominguez-Lopez
CARROLL GARDENS — Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the papal nuncio to the United States, said that Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio was selected to lead an apostolic visitation to the troubled Diocese of Buffalo because of the “trust” the Vatican has in him.
“The Holy Father said, ‘We need to do a total investigation to go to the roots of the problem,’ and Bishop DiMarzio, because of who he is, was given this task […] Certainly, it is a sign of trust toward Bishop DiMarzio,” Archbishop Pierre said.
The Diocese of Buffalo has been under a cloud because of cases of sexual abuse and cover-up. On Oct. 3, Archbishop Pierre announced that Pope Francis had decided Bishop DiMarzio will make an apostolic visitation to the diocese to conduct a fact-finding mission.
On Oct. 6, Archbishop Pierre celebrated the French-language Mass as St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church, Carroll Gardens, where he spoke to The Tablet.
Archbishop Pierre explained that Bishop DiMarzio’s mission was to listen to the people in the Diocese of Buffalo, collect the facts and send the results of his investigation to the Vatican.
“It is not a judgment, it is an investigation,” Archbishop Pierre said. “It is a service that the Holy Father has asked [Bishop DiMarzio] to do, to examine what is really going on.”
Asked about the Pan-Amazonian Synod that was starting at the Vatican that day, Archbishop Pierre explained that ecology has been an important topic for Pope Francis from the beginning of his papacy. He said that the pope made clear in his encyclical, “Laudato si” that caring for our “common house” is an important issue for the church.
Pope Francis decided to put the environment at the center of this synod, according to Archbishop Pierre, “because of its importance for the future of humanity.”
The synod fathers will also discuss the possibility of having married men ordained as priests to serve in remote areas of the Amazon region. Archbishop Pierre said that “the pope listens to the needs of the church today.” But he also pointed out that the synod doesn’t decide on the issues. The proposals of the synod are presented to the pope for his approval.
Archbishop Pierre was visiting St. Agnes for a second time. He said that two years ago Bishop DiMarzio had invited him to visit the parish and meet its French-speaking community. This time around, the nuncio was also visiting his nephew, who is French and lives in Brooklyn, where he is a member of the St. Paul & St. Agnes parish.