BUFFALO, N.Y. — Catholic Diocese of Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone spoke exclusively with 2 On Your Side's Steve Brown on Wednesday, a day after the Buffalo News reported a poll it commissioned found 86% of Western New York Catholics surveyed want Malone to resign.
“I was not, of course, happy to see that," Malone told Brown, "but I’ve learned over the years not to give too much credence to polls.”
Malone added that he while he is aware of the results, he relies more on what he hears from groups he has regular contact with and from letters he receives which he says are overwhelmingly positive.
"I really feel calm and confident, believe it or not, about staying on and honoring my commitment I made when I came here," says Malone.
The Bishop also noted the Diocesan Pastoral Council voted 24-4 to back him in a no-confidence vote last Saturday. 2 On-Your-Side was unable to confirm the vote independently and there are questions remaining about whether Malone himself appoints members of this panel.
The only situation Malone described that would change that is if the Pope felt different.
"I think that if in fact the Holy See, if the Vatican, were to do a review of the situation, something I would be very open to by the way,” described Malone. "If the report came back from Rome that the Holy Father thought I should resign, then that’s, of course, something I would, out of obedience, do immediately.”
On the possibility the diocese may be forced in bankruptcy, Bishop Malone says he, lawyers and financial advisors are still reviewing options.
The choices seem to come down to two: either go to court and fight the 130+ Child Victim Act cases against the diocese or seek bankruptcy protection.
During the interview, Malone would not commit to a deadline but says the decision would have to be made before year's end.
And once again, Bishop Malone acknowledged he has made mistakes in his handling the clergy sex abuse scandal, but drew the line at owning only his mistakes.
“I will own errors I have made along the line. But I will not own responsibility for fifty or sixty years of tragic, horrific events of abuse. But I feel like it’s been so piled up that for some people when they think of me, they think of all of that.”