The decision was communicated in an April 23 letter to the 23 priests from Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, temporary administrator of the diocese, and in a conference call.
Scharfenberger told the priests that while sustenance payments and health care coverage will cease, the changes will not affect existing pension payments.
Some priests, however, are concerned those payments will not be enough, and it is not clear whether all those affected by the change qualify for a pension.
Michael Taheri, a lawyer for one affected priest, told Buffalo News that the diocese's behavior is "unconscionable."
"As a Catholic, I'm ashamed," Taheri said.
His client, Fr. Samuel Venne, was removed from ministry in 2018 after an allegation of sexual abuse dating back decades. Venne told Buffalo News he was a cancer survivor with no other income beyond $500 per month from Social Security.
"How am I going to pay for my medicines? Where am I going to live?" Venne asked Scharfenberger.
The priest also said that he has consistently maintained his innocence, and passed a polygraph test as part of the diocese's investigation into the allegation against him.
The announcement by Buffalo comes as the diocese has had to make staffing cuts and filed for bankruptcy in recent months.
In February, the diocese filed for Chapter 11 reorganization after being named in hundreds of new sexual abuse lawsuits filed in New York state courts. Another RICO lawsuit was filed in August alleging a "pattern of racketeering activity" by the diocese.
The state's Child Victims Act had set up a one-year lookback window for such lawsuits, as many cases of child sex abuse have long-expired statutes of limitations.
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Earlier in the month, the diocese closed its Christ the King seminary which had been running a $500,000 average annual deficit for a decade.
On March 19, the diocese said it would be accelerating cuts to staffing for its Catholic Center, eliminating 21 positions and moving three more from full-time to part-time.
As other Catholic dioceses and parishes applied for, and received, emergency loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, the dioceses of Buffalo and Rochester filed a lawsuit against the Small Business Administration saying they were wrongfully excluded from the program because of their bankruptcy debtor status.
Scharfenberger, who is Bishop of Albany, was appointed temporary apostolic administrator of the diocese in December. The last bishop of the diocese, Bishop Richard Malone, resigned after a Vatican-ordered apostolic visitation, or investigation, of the diocese under his leadership.
Matt Hadro was the political editor at Catholic News Agency through October 2021. He previously worked as CNA senior D.C. correspondent and as a press secretary for U.S. Congressman Chris Smith.