The Vatican announced Thursday that a Brooklyn bishop will lead its Apostolic Visitation for the Diocese of Buffalo "in the near future." Bishop Richard Malone, who has been under intense scrutiny for how he has led the diocese through a sex abuse crisis and pending litigation related to it, says he welcomes the investigation.
In a written announcement released Thursday, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Diocese of Brooklyn was named to lead the investigation.
"An Apostolic Visitation is a fact-finding mission which reports directly to the Holy See, specifically the Congregation for Bishops, to evaluate situations in dioceses," it was explained by the Apostolic Nunciature of the United States, which released the announcement.
Bishop Richard Malone issued his own written statement Thursday afternoon, welcoming the investigation.
"I welcome & need the support of the priests & deacons, religious and lay ecclesial ministers, & all concerned people of our Church in this effort to restore credibility and confidence. I ask you to hold me accountable for these priorities as we move forward.” @BishopRJMalone https://t.co/oZWXIEO1zX
— Diocese of Buffalo (@BuffaloDiocese) October 3, 2019
More than 150 lawsuits are pending against the Diocese of Buffalo, as well as current, retired and deceased clergy. Bishop Malone has faced criticism for moves including the return of accused priests to active ministry and allegedly covering up dozens of accused priests' names while releasing 42 in March 2018.
As DiMarzio continued in his prepared written remarks, "This is a difficult period in the life of the church in Buffalo. I pledge I will keep an open mind throughout the process and do my best to learn the facts and gain a thorough understanding of the situation in order to fulfill the mandate of this Apostolic Visitation."