In a stunning set of recent communications to clergy sexual abuse survivors, a Diocese of Buffalo priest reveals a disturbing culture Jesus warned us about in his parable of the Good Samaritan. Diocesan whistleblower, Siobhan O’Connor, weighs in.
Two years after whistleblower Rev. Ryszard Biernat’s removal from active ministry, survivors of clergy sexual abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo sent a stern message to every single bishop, priest, deacon, and most lay advisors and nuns in the diocese: “Renewal” is a farce if diocesan officials who covered up clergy sexual abuse reports are not held accountable while they hold Father Biernat accountable for exposing such “foul deeds.”
The NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks recently fired top-tier officials for ignoring a rookie hockey player’s report of sexual assault by a coach years ago. This man’s heartbreaking story is no different from Rev. Ryszard Biernat’s in the Diocese of Buffalo, where STILL no official has been held accountable for ignoring his 2004 report of sexual assault by a priest. Bishop Michael Fisher maintains this particular expression of clericalism by refusing to hold his officials accountable for botching clergy sexual abuse reports.
Notice people missing from the pews? In many cases, you’re witnessing evidence of the silent collateral damage of the clergy sex abuse crisis, and it points to the absurdity of the Church Synod going on now. That’s the pope’s assembly of officials and other constituents to figure out how to make a better Church WITHOUT considering their own officials’ part in the clergy sexual abuse crisis. The Diocese of Buffalo holds NO official accountable for fostering abuse by protecting abusers. Be like this woman and call for their accountability anyway.
Jennifer Kane is the featured guest in this podcast. In the midst of this catastrophic situation of the Diocese of Buffalo–brought on by our bishops who botched clergy sexual abuse reports–you’d think the very laity specifically chosen by our bishops to advise them would be open to humbly reassess their ministry, challenge their previous assumptions about these men, knock off their obsequious deference to those guys and hold them accountable. Such laity are not above scrutiny, especially when our safety is at stake and lives and souls have been destroyed. Time to have that adult conversation. That's what this national podcast attempts.
Clericalism- a form of elitism. A sense of belonging to a separate class of persons marked by privilege, deference and power. Bishop Michael Fisher continues to do nothing about the credible allegation that this auxiliary bishop threatened a seminarian to keep him from reporting sex abuse suffered at the hands of a priest. There's been NO investigation into that allegation made by the victim back in 2019. Want to know why? Keep reading.
We look at three women who held influential positions in diocesan chanceries--two in Buffalo. They are living proof that women are not the silver bullet to keeping us safe. Reduced to two choices in their positions, they can play the game and stay, or they can act on their moral conscience and leave. A bishop is not necessarily going to be persuaded by whatever they bring to the table. It sure didn't work in Buffalo. (Click title above to read more...)
St. Bonaventure University's president, Dr. Dennis DePerro, was an exceptional, heroic Catholic lay leader. So why was he ignored by the very lay organization designed to help heal and restore trust in the wake of the diocesan sexual abuse scandal? On the day of Dr. DePerro's untimely death, WKBW reporter Charlie Specht revealed a disturbing backstory which gives us a clue as to why he was deliberately shunned by entrenched Buffalo-area lay leaders (most of them hand-chosen by our bishops).
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]. 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.
This pulled quote from today's Buffalo News front-page article accurately quotes me. But...Let me further smash the bubble of deference to a Catholic bishop. Most laity are unified on this point: If diocesan officials cited in the AG report covered up clergy sex abuse, they need to be relieved of duty, NOT promoted. We don't trust them.