BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo Catholic Bishop Richard Malone this week has been making indirect overtures to a group that’s rejected him, The Movement To Restore Trust.

But the efforts by the bishop were dismissed today by John Hurley, one of the founders of the group.

Asked if he would meet with Bishop Malone, Hurley said, “I don’t see any ... any reason to do that.”

After working for months on reform within the diocese to increase accountability of both the bishop and the diocese, Movement To Restore Trust announced it was calling on the Bishop to resign.

Malone has been widely criticized for his handling the clergy sex abuse crisis which has driven Bishop Malone to consider bankruptcy. And New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan is conducting an investigation into both Malone and the diocese.

Nonetheless, Malone this week sent signals he wanted to reconnect with Movement To Restore Trust. The Bishop stated a desire to resume reform work with Movement To Restore Trust in a one-on-one interview Wednesday with 2 On Your Side.

The same desire was communicated in a memo sent to all area priests Monday.

Hurley says “the bishop has become a symbol for all that is wrong.”

What Hurley fears is that if Malone stays as he has insisted he will do, damage the diocese will continue. There have been undisputed reports of attendance down at parish masses and a decline in donations and church collections.

“I think he needs to give us back our church while we still have something to save,” Hurley said.

2 On Your Side did contact the Buffalo Diocese for a response to Hurley’s remarks. We have not heard back.

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