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Statement from Bishop Richard J. Malone to '60 Minutes'

Sat, Oct 27th 2018 08:00 am

The following is the statement Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo released to "60 Minutes" in advance of their upcoming story on the Diocese of Buffalo. We are also releasing it to the public.

I appreciate the invitation to interview with 60 Minutes.  Regrettably, I must decline for two reasons.

First, the Church is in the eye of a storm largely as a result of wrong decisions made decades ago and even some made recently, as I have acknowledged.  But, our efforts and our focus have always remained steadfast:  protect the children and reconcile with the victims.

  • To that end, we have strengthened our policies and protections against abuse and we plan to extend those protections for adults as well.
  • We have instituted an Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program to bring some measure of justice to those who have been abused. 
  • We have hired a former Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to monitor our professional responsibilities and obligations. 
  • We continue to reach out to victims, remove clergy with substantiated allegations from ministry and cooperate with Federal and State investigations. 

These activities occupy most of my days, but as St. Francis of Assisi instructed us:  start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.

Second, while 60 Minutes is free to interview whomever they wish for this story, it is clear to me and my staff that your roster of interviews did not include those who are aware of the full extent of the efforts of our Diocese to combat child abuse.  Nor does it include those who urge me every day to stay the course and restore the confidence of our faithful.

Sometimes, it feels like the weight of this scandal will never pass, but by doing what is necessary and what is possible, one day we will restore confidence and earn the support of the faithful of our diocese.

Finally, although I have respectfully declined your invitation, I have sat for hours of interviews with highly regarded local journalists -- a newscaster and a reporter for our daily paper -- so that our message can be distributed locally.

For more information about the diocesan Protecting God's Children program, click here.

For updated information about ongoing diocesan sexual abuse news, visit the Western New York Catholic special section online.