It was American Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr who famously
declared that the Christian teaching on original sin is "the only
empirically verifiable doctrine of the Christian faith."
might be debated that original sin is the "only" empirically verifiable
Christian doctrine, there can be little doubt that there is plenty of
evidence to validate the Church's teaching about the fact and
consequences of original sin. Just read the papers and view the evening
TV news. And, if you dare, look into the mirror of your own conscience.
If we care about addressing poverty, promoting the well-being of
children, building stronger communities—we must at the same time care
about strengthening marriages and families. The social science is clear
on this point.
But a decisive question must be faced in order to move forward: What is marriage?
Pope Francis has given to the Church four major teaching documents - two encyclical letters and two apostolic exhortations. We can add to these his announcement of a Jubilee Year of Mercy. In each of these documents, the pope invites us to deeper, stronger, and more authentic ways of living our faith as friends and followers of Jesus Christ sent on mission to bring the Gospel to the world. Consider a few examples ...
By Bishop Richard J. Malone on
5/4/2016 9:26 AM
Pope Francis' eagerly awaited
apostolic exhortation, fruit of the two Vatican synods on marriage and
family, has arrived. It is titled "Amoris Laetitia," or the "Joy of
Love." The title, as is the custom with major papal documents, is taken
from the text's first line: "The joy of love experienced by families is
also the joy of the Church." (This sentence is reminiscent of the first
line of Vatican II's Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern
World ("Gaudium et Spes") which reads "The joys and the hopes, the
griefs and anxieties of the people of this age ... these too are the
joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ."
While the Holy Father does not avoid the
difficulties and challenges experienced in family life - in fact he
address them candidly and straight on - "The Joy of Love" is from
beginning to end a celebration of the gift of marriage and family to the
Church and, indeed, to the world.
By Bishop Richard J. Malone 3/2/2016
homily this year begins with a question addressed to the confirmands: If
you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence
to convict you? In more direct terms, what is different about my life
because I am a Christian, a Catholic? Can those who know me tell the
difference Jesus makes in my life? Can I?
Lent is the graced season to take an honest look at the authenticity and
quality of our discipleship. How intentional are we in our following
of Christ? How faithful is our living of the Gospel? How grateful are
we for the gift of faith? How eager am I to share the joy of the Gospel
with others? And ... can I admit that, yes, I am a sinner?
By Bishop Richard J. Malone 1/5/2016
The motto for this Jubilee Year of
Mercy is, "Merciful like the Father." What will we allow this to mean in
our lives? With God? With one another?
- Vatican II declared: "Upon the Muslims,
too, the Church looks with esteem." How dare any American suggest that
refugees who profess the faith of Islam be prohibited from entry into
the United States solely on that basis?
- Studies show that teens who practice the faith most often have parents who practice the faith.
- Pray for vocations to the priesthood, consecrated life, diaconate and Christian marriage!
- College and university students: seek out and become active in your school's campus ministry community!
By Bishop Richard J. Malone 12/17/2015
this month from Baltimore, where the bishops of the United States are
gathered for our annual Fall Plenary Meeting. As we concelebrated the
Eucharist early this Sunday morning. I offered Mass for all of you who
constitute the community of faith that is the Diocese of Buffalo. (Did
you know that diocesan bishops offer one Mass each Sunday and holy day
of obligation pro populo, that is, "for the people," just as pastors are
required to do weekly for their parishioners?)
Sunday Mass was different for me. Before I went down to the large hotel
meeting room that serves as our chapel, I was watching continuing TV
coverage of the horrific massacre in Paris perpetrated by ISIS
terrorists and resulting in 129 people killed and 352 injured. Sitting
quietly in the chapel for the half hour before Mass, I struggled to put
aside, at least for that next hour, the emotions of shock, anger,
sadness and, yes, anxiety that were roiling my soul.
By Bishop Richard J. Malone 11/23/2015
all been horrified by the senseless terrorist attacks in Paris. Join
me in fervent prayer for victims of the massacre, for justice for ISIS
leaders and killers, and for world peace.
there have been calls to close our borders to Syrian refugees fleeing
the ravages of civil war, we cannot simply close our doors to refugees
simply because they are from Syria. But we must remain vigilant.
Careful screening of all who wish to enter this country is needed.
Francis' concern for refugees and immigrants is very well known, as we
see in this recent comment: "Facing the tragedy of tens of thousands of
refugees - fleeing death by war and famine, and journeying towards the
hope of life - the Gospel calls, asking of us to be close to the
smallest and forsaken. To give them a concrete hope," he said. "And not
just to tell them, 'Have courage, be patient!'"
Saint Paul concludes his Second Epistle to the Corinthians with the
prayer: "The grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the
fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." (2 Cor.13:13). So often
we begin Mass with the same words. They are literally the first and the
As you know by now, from the announcement on October 20th, our Holy
Father Pope John Paul II has appointed me to the Archdiocese of
Hartford. I did not request the appointment, but I accept it. One does
not refuse an appointment from the Holy Father. I am honored and humbled
by it, and grateful to the Holy Father for the confidence he has
expressed in me.
This year as we approach Respect Life Sunday, October 5th, there is
significant reason for hope on the horizon. It appears that finally a
partial-birth abortion ban act may become law for our country. This
would be a major development. It would be the first federal law since
the Supreme Court Decisions Roe v. Wade and Roe v. Bolton on January 22,
1973, to forbid an abortion procedure.
We all will recall for years where we were on Thursday afternoon,
August 14, when word of the blackout spread. Fortunately, Buffalo for
the most part was spared. But north, south, east, and west of us, from
the Midwest and Canada to the Atlantic seaboard suffered terrible
Two years ago I devoted this column to the problems of casino
gambling. Before that column was published, and since, I have spoken on
television, radio, and at local meetings about casino gambling. Back in
the 1970s, I was involved at the State level in discussions on the same
On Saturday, June 14, in Saint Joseph's Cathedral, I ordained six
excellent men to the Permanent Diaconate: Philip Amantia Sr., Paul
Emerson, Mark Nowak, Thomas Scherr, Paul L. Snyder III, and Stephen
Swinarski. A capacity congregation offered praise and thanksgiving to
God from hearts filled with respect and appreciation for such wonderful
blessings on our Diocese.
Every day presents its own challenges, and no week is immune from
difficulties, but recent weeks and months have been particularly trying.
Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, presented a special gift to the
Church this past Holy Thursday. He published a beautiful encyclical,
Ecclesia de Eucharistia, on the relationship of the Eucharist and the
During the Civil War 140 years ago people would go out from
Washington, D.C. on Sunday afternoon with champagne and sandwiches to
watch the progress of battles in Virginia. In the course of World War I,
when the war of attrition set in, people would gather at sidewalk cafes
in Europe to discuss casually the latest fashions as well as battle
Streaks across the sky filled our television screens and our
consciousness on February 1st, when seven valiant astronauts lost their
lives in the tragic breakup of the space shuttle Columbia. Immediately
our hearts were full of prayers for the magnificent seven, their
families, and all they left behind.
In recent years concerns have been expressed in various parts of the
United States on the need for more collaboration in the policy making
processes and administration of dioceses and religious institutions. As
we begin the New Year, I think it may be helpful to highlight some of
the many structures we have in place in our Diocese which enable
collaboration and promote accountability in our policies and
Christmas brings people together. The exchange of cards conveys ongoing concern for one another.