BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Pressure is mounting against Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone to resign and this time it’s coming from more priests. A letter is now circulating among clergy demanding the bishop’s resignation.
The letter was written by Father Bob Zilliox of St. Mary's of Swormville calling for both Bishop Richard Malone and auxiliary Bishop Edward Grosz to resign immediately.
“It took a lot of courage for him to stand up and come forward. We haven't really been seeing that among our priests and it's long overdue and I applaud for it,” responded Mary Ellen Sanflilippo, St. Mary’s parishioner.
Sanflilippo calls the letter “fantastic.”
The letter states in part quote "as priests and deacons we are deeply saddened and seriously concerned about the future of the Roman Catholic Diocese at Buffalo". Father Zilliox is hoping other clergy will sign it.
“Yes, I would support it. Yes, I will sign the letter,” stated Father Paul Seil, pastor, St. Bernadette's Church in Orchard Park. "The Movement to Restore Trust – I think the turning point for me was when they withdrew their support from Bishop Grosz and from Bishop Malone and when they said we are not going to work with you until there is a new leader of the Diocese of Buffalo that was a real turning point for me,” remarked Seil.
And yet another priest made a bold move by reading a statement to his parishioners Sunday.
Pastor Jack Ledwon of St. Joseph's University Church in Buffalo encouraged his congregation to demand answers by contacting bishop Malone, Cardinal Dolan and the Papal Nuncio in Washington. Father Ledwon declined an on-camera interview, but said he’ll be signing a petition calling for Malone to resign.
Last week Malone said he believes only a “minority” of priests want him to leave.
"So, if I felt like a majority of my clergy felt I could no longer properly lead the diocese with them. Because a bishop does not lead by himself. Or he's a poor leader. Then I’d have to rethink my commitment,” Malone said.
“Some of us priests believe this is going to be at least a generation before we can recover from the massive nature of the revelation of this crisis that go back decades before Bishop Malone, but still his handling of it has not helped the situation,” Seil replied.
We asked Father Seil if he has noticed a decline in parishioner attendance at his church in the midst of the crisis.
“I’ve seen a slight decline, definitely in our church. We have seen people go to other denominations and some people walk away from church for the time being,” said Seil.
Meanwhile, a petition posted on change.org is gaining movement. At last check it has generated more than 10,000 signatures