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.
Here's a sample of recent news media interviews Jennifer Kane, editor of LayDOB.com, has given as an advocate for not only survivors of clergy sexual abuse, but for common sense in reforming the Diocese of Buffalo.
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.
The “Diocese” didn’t betray us. People did. Until we recognize--by name and face--the true agents of betrayal, we won't be able to begin to restore trust in this diocese. Thanks to whistleblowers, we know names, faces and their horrendous professional misconduct that exacerbated the clergy sexual abuse crisis.
We aren’t talking about being nice to a guy who made mistakes, bishops. We are talking about holding officials accountable for their gross dereliction of duty, concealing child rapists, wasting millions of donor dollars, and putting people at risk.Check out 44:44 on the timeline of this first media conference with “Bishop Mike, " as he… Continue reading Buffalo Bishops throw soft bombs at clergy sex abuse survivors and their advocates who call for accountability following AG report
(AUDIO read by author) This final post details concrete reform recommendations for laity to regain relevancy in their advisory roles in this diocese. Long-time Buffalo-area advisors working for their FIFTH or SIXTH bishop are not appropriate for this task, as demonstrated throughout this series. Included is a practical action guide for laity to get involved in the battle for the soul of our diocese.
(AUDIO read by author) Sexually abusive clergy and their abuse-facilitators in chancery offices operate off principles. Throughout this series, we saw their chief principle in action: Keeping a lid on the exchange of information and squashing dissent at every opportunity. We laity have principles we work off of too. In this post we look at ten guiding principles foundational to any diocesan reform recommendations.
(AUDIO read by author) We explore indications that the Diocese of Buffalo, over the course of many years, groomed a tight-knit circle of lay advisors in a system that effectively compromised their objectivity. Lose that, and you can easily get duped.
(AUDIO read by author) To combat the clergy sexual abuse crisis, it is not enough to address the abusers. We have to change the look-the-other-way culture that allowed the abusers to flourish. We examine more dark corners of the diocese to watch how this enabling culture plays out and what laity can do to root it out.