New Policies Are Not the Solution that Buffalo Needs

In response to the growing scandal in the Diocese of Buffalo, church officials have rolled out their latest solution – updated policies and procedures for priests who abuse others. We have no faith whatsoever that this latest move will have any real impact in the diocese.

It is laughable that Bishop Richard Malone is touting yet another new, internal, soon-to-be-ignored and virtually-never-to-be enforced abuse policy, this one involving adults.

It is church law - not a mere policy - that priests must be celibate. Yet it is clear that this law has been widely violated, in Buffalo and elsewhere. New policies and updated codes of conduct are not the answers that parishioners and the public in Buffalo need. It is time for solutions to come from outside the church hierarchy, instead of inside.

A real solution would be if more state legislatures made clergy sexual assaults on and misconduct with adults illegal. A real solution would be if more state lawmakers passed tough RICO laws to pursue those who ignore or enable clergy sex crimes against children and adults. 

We just cannot get enthusiastic about yet another internal staff policy that is very likely to have no impact whatsoever in real life.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is

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