Bishop Richard Malone gathered all the priests in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo for a meeting to discuss the clergy sex abuse scandal Monday afternoon. This, is the wake of explosive reporting by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team in recent months that has shed light on the extent of Bishop Malone's involvement in the crisis.
“It’s going to be a long road," Father Jack Ledwon of St. Joseph University Parish in Buffalo said. "This is a marathon. This crisis developed over decades and it’s not going to be healed with a week or a new program or a new hire or something like that. It’s going to take a lot of effort on a lot of people’s parts and it’s going to be a long road back.”
Father Ledwon spoke to reporters after exiting the meeting with Bishop Malone at Infant of Prague Parish in Cheektowaga. Reverend Paul Seil of St. Bernadette's Church in Orchard Park also shared his thoughts on the meeting.
"I would call the mood somber," Reverend Seil said. "I would say that you could hear a pin drop for most of the parts. We got a lot of information. But, there were also some wonderful priests who spoke up about their own personal feelings about the crisis and how it's being handled."
According to priests in attendance, one member of the clergy called on Bishop Malone to resign and was met with applause from some fellow priests. However, the majority of priests still seem to support Bishop Malone, according to Reverend Seil.
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While the priests gathered inside the church, a small group of devout Catholics gathered outside in prayer. Members of Buffalo Remnant wanted to show clergy members they still have support from members of the Catholic Church.
"We want to let them know that they have parishioners behind them, praying for them and supporting them," Michele Hoff of Hamburg said. "I think right now where we are as a church, the biggest thing we can do is really pray."
"That's what we really need," Nicole Wright of Clarence said. "We really need that unity between the clergy and the laity. We're not against them. We're not against our church. We're for our church and that's why we're standing out here today."