Rorate Caeli

"Two men and a dog": The definition of a happy couple, or of a bishop's residence in a former convent?

"Two men and a dog." That is how Siobhan O’Connor, the former secretary to the extreme-liberal (Francis-style) Bishop of Buffalo, New York, Richard J. Malone, defined the new inhabitants of the gigantic former convent converted, at parishioners' expense, into the new home for retired bishops. He gave the first house tour to a very controversial figure, Fr. Paul Miceli, formerly of Boston Law fame, and the bishop's housemate during his Cape Code vacations.

The pair living in the house will be a site to behold.

From local station WKBW (excerpts):

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - In April, Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone announced he would sell the palatial bishop’s mansion on Oakland Place to help pay settlements to victims of clergy sexual abuse.

[The] payouts will likely cost the diocese millions, and the bishop has since moved to a former convent at St. Stanislaus Church on Buffalo’s East Side.

But internal documents obtained by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team show parishioners are already footing the bill for costly renovations to the bishop’s new home on Buffalo’s East Side, leading some to question how much of a sacrifice it will really be for the shepherd of Buffalo’s Catholics -- and whether he actually plans to live among his flock.

“He’s moving from a very large home to an even larger home that’s being set up to his specific tastes,” said Siobhan O’Connor, the bishop’s former secretary.

She called the convent at St. Stan’s a “gargantuan building.”

“It used to house 35 nuns, and there’s gonna be two men and a dog in there,” O'Connor said.

Internal budget documents show the diocese earlier this year planned to spend more than $200,000 to fix up the convent — and that was before the bishop decided he needed hardwood floors in his living quarters.

The largest expense was a $46,000 bill for an addition to the garage and a parking spot for staff — even though a large, publicly accessible parking lot sits adjacent to the complex.


During Holy Week of this year — as the diocese was in the throes of the sexual abuse crisis — Bishop Malone wrote an email to Steven Timmel, head of diocesan finances, informing him that he gave his friend and Cape Cod housemate, Fr. Paul Miceli, a tour of what would be the new bishop’s residence.

Miceli is a controversial figure in the Boston Archdiocese, where he served as disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law’s personnel secretary and has been criticized for allegedly shuffling predator priests around the archdiocese.

“My good friend Fr. Miceli arrived from Boston today for Holy Week,” Malone wrote to Timmel on March 28. “I drove him by St. Stan’s. He is alarmed about my living in such a run down neighborhood, and said he is appalled that the diocese can’t find a better option for its Bishop’s residence.”

“I wasn’t surprised by his reaction,” Malone added. “He was kind of in shock! He told me no successor of mine would want to go there!”