From the In My Backyard Desk …
DiMarzio … demanded “all pastors and principals to not invite any state legislator to speak or be present at any parish or school celebration.”
The ban was for the “foreseeable future,” and is already having an impact.
Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Williamsburg) told us the $50 check he sent for a student at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel’s parish school on Withers Street in Williamsburg was returned — along with a copy of the bishop’s statement.
“I’m disappointed,” said Lentol, a Catholic who voted for the bill, and often attends services at the church. “They’ve always accepted my checks.”
Mt. Carmel’s pastor, Joseph Calise, said he was following orders from DiMarzio.
“It couldn’t be done in Joe’s name,” Calise said of the annual award from Lentol. Calise added that a parishioner provided a matching award.
Lawmakers in the bishop’s dog house bristled at his hard stance.
They pointed to the exception in the law, secured by Republican leaders in exchange for their vote, that exempts religious institutions from accepting same-sex marriage.“We would never force a Catholic priest to marry anyone they do not approve of,” said state Sen. Diane Savino (D–Bensonhurst).
And anger from the church shouldn’t stop Borough President Markowitz from following through on his plan to open Borough Hall for a slew of gay nuptials on July 25, the first day they’re legal.
“Whatever your convictions, love is love,” Markowitz said.
In an indication of how the ban will be enforced, Calise said state lawmakers were still welcome to attend regular church services and special events, such as Mt. Carmel’s beloved Feast of the Giglio.
“We wouldn’t stop them from coming” to pray, he said.