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Picketers say protests will continue unless Malone steps down

Nick Lippa

Every year many judges, attorneys and public officials gather for the Red Mass of the St. Thomas More Guild—a celebration to bless the legal community. This year was a little different. Protesters lined up outside of St. Joseph Cathedral late Tuesday morning asking those who entered to call for Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone’s resignation.

Ronald Cinelli is a Senior Attorney for the Children’s Legal Center in Buffalo. He said he is protesting the continuing cover-up of abuse.

“I think more lawyers should be out here protesting. I think by their presence in mass, they’re implicitly giving an ok to Bishop Malone’s handling of this scandal and that’s just wrong. He’s continuing to lie,” Cinelli said.

Malone and the Diocese of Buffalo were named as defendants in a lawsuit filed last month. The plaintiff alleges the bishop and diocese continue to withhold information on dozens of past child sexual abuse claims.

Cinelli and his wife have done more than just hold picket signs.

“We felt we had to do something. We stopped our donations at our local church, Holy Trinity in Dunkirk,” he said. “We love our local church, but most Catholics don’t realize 20 percent of collections go right to the diocese. We thought it was against our conscious to even indirectly support Bishop Malone in this regime of secrecy.”

Cinelli said his faith in the Catholic church is as strong as ever, but he wants to see some accountability for the current allegations. That sentiment is shared with fellow protestor and victims advocate Judith Burns-Quinn.

“It’s not the Catholic church. It’s a group of despicable men who have done despicable things and they have been able to get away with it,” she said.

As long as Malone remains the bishop, protestors said they will keep finding ways to make their voices heard.

“It’s up to the laity to do it because the clergy is not going to do it. It’s an old boy’s network,” said Cinelli.

Nick Lippa leads our Arts & Culture Coverage, and is also the lead reporter for the station's Mental Health Initiative, profiling the struggles and triumphs of those who battle mental health issues and the related stigma that can come from it.