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Critics renew calls for Malone to resign: 'A disappointing day in the history of our diocese.'

Too little, too late.

That was the view of two leading critics of Bishop Richard J. Malone's handling of the sex abuse scandal after he refused to resign Sunday and put forward remedies for the diocese to move forward.

"I believe the only appropriate course of action in light of the investigation, and the facts that have been revealed, is for the bishop to resign and allow a new leader to commence the reforms that need to be done," said Paul L. Snyder III, chief executive officer of the Snyder Corp., echoing an earlier call.

"It's an extraordinarily disappointing day in the history of our diocese," he said.

Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, also reiterated that Malone needs to resign.

"The Bishop has lost the confidence of the Catholic community and the larger community of Western New York," the congressman said. "He should have stepped down. That would have been the right thing to do."

Higgins said establishing a task force fell far short of what the moment called for.

Bishop Malone not resigning, will start sex abuse task force

"Abuse is a sin and a crime. You don't need a task force to tell you that," Higgins said. "Covering it up is a sin and a crime. Reassigning a priest is a sin and a crime. You don't need a task force to tell you that."

Malone asked people to pray for the victims and for him on Sunday, as the sex abuse scandal that has gained momentum over the past six months also ensnared him after allegations that he was directly involved in covering up a priest who sexually harassed men.

Snyder said there is no longer any reason to trust that the diocese is willing or even capable of addressing the scandal. Malone's actions, he said, "do not ring with sincerity or truth."

He called for an independent, law enforcement-based investigation with professionals who understand the law and can hold the diocese accountable.

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result," Snyder said. "That is what we are hearing from these bishops. We've already seen it has not worked, and I believe will not work."

Snyder, a church deacon, has received "hundreds of texts, emails and phone calls" in recent days from people who have suffered abuse at the hands of the church.

Snyder said he went public with his criticisms to help give voice to others, and after Malone rebuked repeated attempts to meet with him.

Higgins said he is deeply concerned about sex abuse scandals that are engulfing the church all over the world.

"From Buffalo, New York, to the most Catholic country in the world, Ireland, these are not isolated incidents," Higgins said.

"It's in every diocese. The Catholic hierarchy is totally detached from reality about this. What we needed was decisive action, not expressions of sympathy, not acts of contrition.

"The Catholic diocese has lost its moral clarity and its moral authority," Higgins said. "You don't need a task force, you need a strike force."

Also reaffirming their call for Malone to resign were Buffalo councilmember Christopher P. Scanlon and Erie County Legislator Pat Burke.

"Bishop Malone has been instrumental in the cover-up of abuse in the church," Scanlon, of the South District, said in a statement. "While I appreciate his willingness to better address sexual misconduct involving adults, his silence on his mishandling of the abuse of children and his enabling of these predators is deafening. I echo my earlier sentiments: He should resign immediately."

Said Burke, of South Buffalo's District 7, in a statement: "His refusal to step down just adds to my belief that leaders in the church are more concerned with their image and their political future within the church, rather than helping those who have suffered because of their negligence. I do not believe Bishop Malone appreciates the gravity of this situation. His association with child predators makes him unfit to lead the Buffalo Diocese."

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