The majority of Catholic churchgoers in Brooklyn we spoke to disagree with Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio’s edict to ban politicians who voted for same-sex marriage from making official appearances at church events and to decline donations from any politician who approves of gay marriage.
The borough’s top Catholic grabbed headlines last week when he made the proclamation following the state legislature’s historic vote to allow same-sex couples to marry.
But not all members of his flock agree with the bishop stance that the law is a “nail in the coffin” of traditional marriage that would destroy “the single most important institution in human history.”
“I take what I need from my religion and ignore what I don’t agree with,” said Carroll Gardens resident Amy Cacciola, who attends mass at Sacred Hearts & St. Stephen Church on Summit Street at Carroll Street. “He’s a bit out of touch.”
Other critics said DiMarzio should not have thrust the church into the center of a debate that engulfed lawmakers — and captivated the public- for much of last month.
“I don’t think that the [bishop] should be saying these things,” said Humberto Chavez, a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Sunset Park. “I don’t think the church should be involved in politics.”
DiMarzio announced his edict two days after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill legalizing same-sex marriage. It advised parishes and schools to refuse any awards or honors from state officials who supported the measure, and barred them from appearing at special events such as graduations, though not from attending religious services.
Shortly after his proclamation was released, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel’s parish school in Williamsburg returned a $50 scholarship check from Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Williamsburg), a gay nups supporter.
The controversial position also sparked an outcry from marriage equality advocates, many of whom are planning a celebration at Borough Hall on July 25, the day gay couples can wed.
But it did win praise from some rank-and-file Catholics.
“The bishop has to take a stand for what we believe in,” said Bob Amling, after leaving Sunday mass at the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church in Marine Park.
Maureen Cantone, of Carroll Gardens, said DiMarzio’s response was “perfect.”
“I’m proud of him,” Cantone said, who also goes to Sacred Hearts. “I hope every single donation [pro-gay marriage pols] give to the church is thrown out.”
Still, some thought the bishop’s decision could hit the church in its pocketbook.
“My church is losing money,” Sheila Pisciotta, who attends mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help. “He’s losing out.”
— with Dan MacLeod and Haru Coryne