Speaking truth to power “will likely come at a cost to me personally,” Deacon Paul Snyder wrote to his bishop in 2018. “However, my first loyalty is to my Catholic faith and my Community,” [not the bishop]. That was the gist of his letter calling for Bishop Richard Malone’s resignation 29 months ago. It was one of the first significant shots over the bow that led to today’s (January 15, 2021) installation of Buffalo’s new bishop, Most Rev. Michael W. Fisher, “to begin the long and painful process of healing,” as Deacon Snyder put it.
His letter to Bishop Malone is copied below along with the CBS news video covering his 2018 60 Minutes interview in which he stated:
I don’t have faith right now that any particular bishops have the courage to do the right thing. We all praise our martyrs on Sunday, and we praise and we sing. But boy it sure as Hell is hard being a saint when it’s your ass on the line. And I want these cardinals and these bishops to put their ass on the line, and start protecting their people.”
These frank words are an important reminder today that merely changing out a single leadership position won’t eradicate the corrupt culture that allowed the clergy sexual abuse crisis to flourish in the Diocese of Buffalo. We need leaders willing to make decisions “at great cost to them personally,” putting their Catholic faith and their Community ahead of their career.
Let us pray fervently for our new bishop. May we suggest a Rosary a day? Or 33 Days Consecration to St. Joseph?