Legislator Burke hosted the first conversation on Priest Abuse in early August. The first installment had two speakers, a former priest who had been abused as a child and another who is an advocate for the abused who has dedicated his life to finding justice for victimized children. This conversation allowed Burke and guests to identify actions that they and the community could take to address these crimes and protect victims and the community. The most important identified goal was demanding the passage of the Child Victims Act. Legislator Burke promptly created and began circulating a petition aimed at informing people of the Child Victims Act and pressuring lawmakers to pass the bill.
Since Legislator Burke’s August conversation on Priest Abuse, a report has been released showing evidence that Bishop Malone had knowingly placed a priest with a history of “grooming” children back into ministry. Upon reviewing the report, Burke called for the resignation of Bishop Malone. Shortly thereafter, other leaders joined the call; first, City Councilman Chris Scanlon, then Congressman Brian Higgins, and then Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul.
In response to Burke’s demand, the Bishop has refused to step down. His refusal is another example that leaders of the Catholic Church are more concerned with their image and their political future within the church, rather than helping those who have suffered because of the negligence.
With this second installment, Burke hopes to get significant public feedback and calls for reform as was achieved with the first. Trusting the Diocese of Buffalo to take proper action to right their wrongs is not a solution. These are not isolated mistakes, they are systematic and must be confronted. Legislator Burke is asking the residents, professionals, advocates and all other to come together as a community to identify the next steps this community can put into action.
Legislator Burke’s next “important Conversation” will be a second installment on the topic of Priest Abuse, taking place Tuesday September 18th at 12:00pm in the Legislative Chambers of Old County Hall, 92 Franklin Street 4th floor.