It’s been whispered that a bishop will resign in Buffalo the day after tomorrow. With western NY Catholics polling six-to-one in favor of Bishop Malone vacating the see, this must be a relief. Even among the bishop’s supporters.
We had friends in Kansas City during the end days of their last bishop. It was excruciating there, too: an apostolic investigation followed by weeks of wondering what was to come of it.
I certainly have no glee about bad bishops bowing out. In Missouri, I thought Bishop Finn was an improvement over his predecessor in many ways. But from the start, he was in over his head as an administrator of a diocese. It’s been over three decades since I moved out of upstate New York, and I have no sense of Bishop Malone outside of what is reported in the mainstream press and Catholic social media.
Bad bishops cause grave harm. Those who persist in office become a pillar of antigospel: chasing people away from the Church, spreading discouragement among clergy and other ministers. I wonder why more bishops haven’t resigned. They certainly have it in their power to vacate a diocese even if Rome doesn’t accept the resignation. What can the pope do? Excommunicate them? Can’t be worse than twisting in the wind with a few hundred-thousand other Catholics.