New interim leader named to lead Buffalo diocese

Bishop Richard Malone, Bishop of Buffalo, speaks during a news conference Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, in Cheektowaga, N.Y. Malone has resisted calls to step down amid reports that he left accused priests in ministry and excluded others from a list of problematic priests released to the public in March. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Buffalo following the resignation of Bishop Richard J. Malone, effective today.

Scharfenberger will continue to lead and serve the Diocese of Albany simultaneously. Scharfenberger, who will serve until a new bishop of Buffalo is named at a later date, will oversee all aspects of the eight-county diocese in Western New York and plans to visit the Diocese of Buffalo weekly.

As Apostolic Administrator, he maintains all the rights, offices and faculties that belong to a diocesan bishop. “I am honored to serve as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Buffalo during these challenging times, and I am humbled by the task put before me. I ask for your prayers as we begin this journey together, and I look forward to getting toknow the people of this great diocese,” Scharfenberger said.

“I will be doing a lot of listening and learning,” he added, expressing a desire for openness and transparency in his new diocesan appointment, as has been his model in the Diocese of Albany.

In his five and a half years as Bishop of Albany, Scharfenberger has been a national leader in responding to the clergy abuse crisis. He published a list of offenders in the diocese four years ago, was among the first bishops in the country to call for an independent lay-led investigation of the scandal involving former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, revamped the diocesan review board and established a predominantly lay task force on sexual abuse last year to make recommendations to the diocese on its response to survivors and its internal policies.