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Niagara University cancels listening session with Bishop Malone

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Posted at 8:55 PM, Sep 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-05 21:38:13-04

BUFFALO (WKBW) — Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone was scheduled to host a "listening session" with students at Niagara University later this month. Plans have apparently changed.

The Diocese of Buffalo announced on Thursday night that the event has now been canceled. The announcement came following renewed calls for Bishop Malone to resign.

"The Diocese of Buffalo has learned that after internal discussions, Niagara University has decided not to host the Listening Session originally scheduled for September 11. Therefore, the event has been canceled", the diocese said in a release. "It is our hope to reschedule sometime in the future."

The "listening session" was promoted only days ago by the Movement to Restore Trust, which was co-hosting the event at Niagara University. The announcement of the cancellation came only hours after the Movement to Restore Trust called on Bishop Malone to resign immediately.

The "listening session" was advertised as a student-only event to discuss the clergy sexual abuse crisis which would include "Bishop Malone praying with students, hearing their thoughts and comments, inviting discussion, and offering summary remarks as well".

A spokesperson for Niagara University issued this statement:
"As a leading Catholic university in Western New York, we fully supported the Movement to Restore Trust, and commend the work they have completed. However, with the news of the recent weeks, we notified the diocese this morning that hosting this discussion on our campus would not be productive or appropriate.
Now is the time for all leaders of the Catholic Church to focus less on the institution of the church, and more on the people it serves, particularly the most vulnerable among us. It is a time of accountability and action. We must ensure that we create a healthy and safe environment for the people in our community, and to engage in advocacy and to give a voice to survivors of any claim of sexual misconduct in the church or in our society."

Renewed calls for Bishop Malone's resignation began on Wednesday morning following this report from I-Team Chief Investigator Charlie Specht.