Priests say Brooklyn pol meddled in parish closings
From time to time I’ve posted on the political relationship between Brooklyn’s Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and Vito Lopez, the Brooklyn Democratic boss and a New York state assemblyman who helped the bishop defeat a proposed bill to lift the statute of limitations on sex-abuse lawsuits.
The bishop made robo-calls for Lopez last year. More recently, the bishop’s office published an article in the diocesan newspaper that praised Lopez effusively (but did not mention that he is pro-choice on abortion) on the weekend before the Democratic primary in September.
The discontent that many clergy and religious in the Brooklyn diocese have with this burst out today on the front page of today’s New York Daily News, which featured an article in which two prominent priests asserted that their parishes were targeted for closure because they had tangled with Lopez.
The bishop’s spokesman denies it. So does a spokesperson for Lopez. The article doesn’t offer any evidence for the priests’ assertion.
Both priests are widely respected for long-time devotion to Brooklyn’s poor. Monsignor John Powis helped the late Bishop Francis Mugavero to create the nationally known Nehemiah Program, model for much inner-city housing and renewal.
It’s not surprising that these two priests would be suspicious of their bishop’s relationship with Lopez – who is currently the focus of two federal investigations and one city investigation. What is newsworthy, to me, is that the discontent many clergy feel is being voiced on the record for all to see.