BUFFALO, N.Y. - With the priest abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo now receiving national attention, an organization of concerned lay Catholics has announced an initiative designed to rebuild trust in the church.
Canisius College President John Hurley is following up on his letter from August which called for more transparency in the priest sex abuse scandal affecting the Buffalo Diocese and Bishop Richard Malone.
On Thursday, he organized a news conference with members of his newly formed group to address the crisis.
"We are committed to the church but also to truth and justice," Hurley told members of the media.
The group announced a plan with six points as they try to restore trust in the church:
- Justice for survivors
"There is a culture that has to change," said Dr. Nancy Nielsen as she announced the effort.
"It troubled me to no end what this scandal has done to our beloved church," said Carl Montante. "We have to hold Bishops accountable."
On Sunday, "60 Minutes" highlighted the scandal in an extensive report.
Earlier this year, Bishop Malone released the names of 42 priests accused of sexual abuse. His former executive assistant, Siobhan O'Connor, in an interview with 60 Minutes, says the number of priests accused is 117. Father Robert Zilliox, a priest who has spoken to 2 On Your Side off camera, says several of those priests are still working in Buffalo.
This week, the Diocese responded and denied both claims.
- Diocese responds to '60 Minutes' active priest claim
- Buffalo Catholic Diocese responds to whistleblower
Hurley told reporters that Bishop Malone was made aware of this effort and said he was grateful for the effort.
The group plans on hosting a symposium to address the crisis and the effort to move forward. It will take place on November 28 at 7 p.m. at the Montante Cultural Center on the Canisius College campus.