In its Feb. 4 statement, the Buffalo diocese said that Scharfenberger is forming a committee "to 're-imagine' and provide specific recommendations as to how priestly formation will continue for seminarians of the Diocese of Buffalo, while also providing ongoing education in pastoral ministry and theological training for lay women and men, as well as for those seeking ordination to the permanent diaconate."
There are currently 26 seminarians enrolled at the seminary; 15 of whom are studying for the Diocese of Buffalo. The diocese said it will look for other schools for its seminarians.
Bishop Richard Malone, who resigned during December 2019, faced numerous accusations from whistleblowers of mishandling abuse cases during his time as bishop, and was the subject of an apostolic visitation by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn during October 2019.
During Bishop Malone's tenure, the diocese faced charges that Christ the King faculty engaged seminarians in salacious and inappropriate conversation during a party at a parish rectory.
In April 2019, seminarians described the conversation as "pornographic," and described lewd sexual references in a written report, other priests who attended the party told reporters they did not hear all of the salacious talk the seminarians claim to have heard, and say they wonder whether some aspects of the conversation were misinterpreted.
Malone removed the priests from ministry after the allegations of their misconduct was made.
Another seminary-related controversy began in August 2019, when Malone's secretary leaked audio of conversations among himself, Malone, and diocesan lawyers and staff.
In the audio of the conversations, Malone admitted that a seminarian's accusations of grooming and the violation of the seal of confession against a diocesan priest were probably true, but months later the priest remained in active ministry.
"We are in a true crisis situation. True crisis. And everyone in the office is convinced this could be the end for me as bishop," Malone said, noting that if the matter-which could appear to be a "love triangle" between the seminarian and two priests-were leaked to the public, "it could force me to resign."