New Catholic Bishop Ordained; Protestors Demand Zero Tolerance For Abuse

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SYRACUSE, NY (WRVO) – The new Catholic bishop of Syracuse was ordained Thursday. Some see it as an opportunity for more transparency from church officials, regarding sexual abuse by clergy.

Bishop Douglas Lucia was ordained in front of about 1,000 people at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Syracuse.

James Faluszczak, left, with Robert Hoatson outside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Syracuse. TOM MAGNARELLI / WRVO PUBLIC MEDIA

Outside the cathedral, former priest James Faluszczak, an advocate for victims of clergy sexual abuse, and a survivor himself, held a sign that read, ‘bishops cannot police themselves.” He said Lucia needs to apply zero tolerance to priests that abuse.

“We expect Lucia to be more transparent and forthcoming, to make it easier for victims to reconstitute their lives and discover what the church has known for all of these decades about their abuse,” Faluszczak said.

Faluszczak is critical of Lucia’s predecessor, Bishop Emeritus of Syracuse Robert Cunningham. Last year, Cunningham released 57 names of priests with credible allegations of child sexual abuse. But Faluszczak said don’t assume that’s the only list of names. He said Cunningham used a dirty playbook to stonewall victims.

“We have yet to receive a full accounting of who the perpetrator priests are in the Diocese of Syracuse,” Faluszczak said.

Faluszczak said Lucia will receive a whole stack of cases when he takes over.

“We’ll know very quickly whether he is sincere or not, about whether he intends to be more transparent,” Faluszczak said.

If there are hidden files and withheld names, then Faluszczak said zero tolerance also needs to be applied to Cunningham.

Next week, survivors of child sexual abuse will have a one year window to file civil suits against their abusers, after a law was passed by the state legislature earlier this year.