Bishop DiMarzio of Brooklyn concludes apostolic visitation in Buffalo

by Catholic News Service

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Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn has concluded an apostolic visitation of the Diocese of Buffalo.

The news DiMarzio was assigned by the Vatican to make the visitation came via a communique released in early October by the apostolic nunciature in Washington, which coordinated it.

An Oct. 31 news release from the Brooklyn Diocese said the bishop made three trips to the Buffalo diocese, spending a total of seven days there.

DiMarzio met with and interviewed close to 80 individuals; both clergy and laypeople, including members of the priests' council, Diocesan Finance Council and Diocesan Pastoral Council, as well as diocesan consultors, territorial vicars and senior priests, the diocese said.

He also spoke with representatives of outside groups such as the Movement to Restore Trust, college presidents, and other interested parties.

"Now that Bishop DiMarzio has finished his interviews, he will compile the information and prepare a report which will be submitted to the Holy See," it said. "No additional information will be shared beyond this statement at this time."

For more than a year, Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo has faced questions about how he has handled allegations of abuse against diocesan priests. When the visitation became public, the diocese said Malone welcome it.

"Bishop Malone has committed to cooperate fully and stated that this visitation is for the good of the church in Buffalo," it said in an Oct. 3 statement. "The purpose of an apostolic visitation is to assist the diocese and improve the local church's ability to minister to the people it serves."

It added: "The mission of the church in Buffalo continues to be to seek justice and compassion for the victim-survivors of sexual abuse and their families and to continue the good works of the church, fulfilled on a daily basis, by faithful men and women who serve a wide spectrum of our diocese."

In a statement issued the same day, DiMarzio said: "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."

Msgr. Steven Aguggia, judicial vicar of the Brooklyn Diocese, was named to serve as secretary during the visitation.

The nunciature's communique said the visitation was "a nonjudicial and nonadministrative process that requires confidentiality." It also noted that it is "not subject" to the "motu proprio" "Vos Estis Lux Mundi" ("You are the light of the world") issued in May by Pope Francis to help the Catholic Church safeguard its members from abuse and hold its leaders accountable.

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