Pope Francis has now appointed Bishop Edward Scharfenberger Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Buffalo following the resignation of Bishop Richard Malone on Wednesday.
This appointment is effective immediately, according to the Diocese of Albany.
As you've probably been reading, my family just got a little bit bigger. Our Holy Father has asked me to help out the people of the @BuffaloDiocese as Apostolic Administrator.https://t.co/f88QquxmxI— Bishop Ed (@AlbBishopEd) December 4, 2019
According to a news release issued Wednesday morning, Bishop Scharfenberger will continue to lead and serve the Diocese of Albany simultaneously.
Scharfenberger has been leading the Albany's Diocese since 2014. And he has taken a strong stance publicly about how the church deals with cases of abuse.
83-priests and clerics in the Albany Diocese have also been accused of child sexual abuse.
This past August, when the Child Victims Act rolled out, Bishop Scharfenberger said quote "the truth is the only way through this.”
“We seek to encourage swift reporting. No one must fear speaking truth to power,” Bishop Scharfenberger stated in a YouTube video.
Earlier this week, Bishop Malone's former secretary and diocesan whistle blower Siobhan O’Connor said she was pleased to learn Scharfenberger will serve temporarily in Buffalo.
“And so I actually always thought that he seemed like a really great guy and i was thrilled when I heard that it might be him. I can't think of any other New York State bishop that I would want to come in here except for him,” remarked O’Connor
In 2018 Bishop Scharfenberger boldly stated the church's sexual abuse scandal has quote
"reached a point where bishops alone investigating bishops is not the answer”, saying lay people should investigate misconduct.
Attorney Steve Boyd is representing more than 100-alleged victims suing the Buffalo Diocese.
“The hope, I think, for most of our clients is that if someone new comes in, this will not just be a new name and a new face, but a complete sea change and how the catholic diocese of buffalo does business,” Boyd said.
Boyd's message for the next leader of the Buffalo Diocese is clear.
“Release the secret, transparency, speak truthfully whenever you're speaking about abuse, but the survivors and the catholic community ahead of the administration and the priests,” Boyd replied.
Buffalo's Movement to Restore Trust has emerged once again after calling for Malone's resignation a few months ago.
The group will lead a discussion this Saturday, December 7 Canisius College's Montante Center about what qualities the laity would like to see in the next bishop. A bankruptcy attorney will discuss what could happen if the diocese files for bankruptcy.