BUFFALO, N.Y. -- With more allegations of priest sex abuse being reported, what is it really going to take to restore trust in the Catholic church here? That was the mission of a symposium organized by The Movement to Restore Trust held at Canisius College Wednesday night.
Hundreds of Western New York Catholics showed up, as a first step, to begin trying to figure out what needs to be done moving forward.
"I'm not from this diocese, all I can suggest is that a commitment to accountability, transparency, competency, the utilization of the talents and the expertise of laity who yearn for a church to be holy and ethical and really a gold standard for best managerial practices is the way to go," said Kerry Robinson from the group Leadership Roundtable.
"I do believe that people are shaken to the point perhaps of departing from their practice or from their church, but hopefully we can create the sort of companionship and relationships with people who are feeling those concerns," said Sr. Margaret Carney, President Emeritus of St. Bonaventure University.
Robinson, who works for a group that promotes best practices and accountability concerning management issues in the Catholic church, and Sister Margaret Carney, President Emeritus of St. Bonaventure, are just two of the people who shared the stage with Canisius College President John Hurley to talk about how to strengthen faith during the sex abuse scandal.
The second half of the symposium focused on focused on answering questions sent in ahead of time and during the presentation.
"How do we balance transparency and confidentiality to protect both victims and accused from injustice done to their reputations?" asked Hurley.
"Tell us where cases are. Are cases going? How many cases have gone to Rome? How many cases are on trial? You don't have to give details, you don't have to give names, you know, because obviously you've got victims or accusers, you've got trauma survivors, victims, survivors, try to respect all that stuff, but at least tell us exactly what's going on," said Father Robert Zilliox.
"What gives you cause for hope?" asked Hurley.
“Along with the synagogue, this is the only institution that survived the fall of the Roman Empire. We'll probably get through this," said Father Matt Malone.
So now the big question is what happens next? There's a workshop on December 8. That's when the focus will really be on forming six work groups to address issues ranging from transparency to holding Bishops accountable. Recommendations will be created that will then be shared with church leadership.