Editor Emeritus - Ed Wilkinson

Bishop Listed Among the Power Elite of Brooklyn

New Yorkers are discovering something that Catholics always have known – the Bishop of Brooklyn is an important person.

City and State New York has published its list of the 50 most powerful people in Brooklyn. Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio made the list at No. 15.

While we agree that the Bishop belongs on the list, our reasons don’t exactly coincide with the publication’s stated rationale.

“Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio keeps a lower profile than his Manhattan counterpart Cardinal Timothy Dolan, but the Brooklynite has been just as forceful critiquing congressional policies on immigration,” writes City and State.

“Recognizing that many of his parishioners are Mexican and Central American immigrants, DiMarzio slammed President Donald Trump’s proposals as ‘restrictionism, somewhat based on racism.’ And he wrote an editorial in the Daily News decrying the Trump administration’s policies that separated children from their parents at the border and use of migrants as ‘bargaining chips.’”

Readers of The Tablet know well that Bishop DiMarzio is a champion of immigrants’ rights and that he has spoken out loudly on the plight of people trying to seek asylum in this country, but is that all that makes him such an influential person?

Our Bishop certainly deserves the recognition that City and State provides, but we would like to point out further evidence that the journal fails to mention.

Aside from being the moral leader of 1.5 million Catholics in Brooklyn and Queens, our Bishop is also the CEO of the Diocese of Brooklyn, one of the largest corporate entities in Kings County.

As such, he sets overall policy for almost 200 parishes, each of which is a separate legal entity in itself.  While not directly responsible, he also oversees a system that contains 18 Catholic high schools, 84 Catholic elementary schools, three colleges and a social service organization that serves anyone in the community regardless of religious belief.

That’s a lot of jobs and health benefits to thousands of people in Brooklyn.

The list also includes the usual college presidents, hospital CEOs and businessmen and women.  Number 1 on the list is Jed Walentas, CEO of Two Trees Management, that has transformed DUMBO and South Williamsburg into two of the most desireable places to live and play.

Second on the list are Jonathan Rosen and Valerie Berlin, principals of BerlinRosen, who helped Brooklynite Bill de Blasio vault his way into being Mayor of New York City.

“Since we cover politicians on a day-to-day basis, we limited this list to those who are not strictly in government but instead influence it from the outside,” wrote City and State.

The only other leader of a Catholic-related organization to make the list was Donald Boomgaarden, the president of St. Joseph’s College, Clinton Hill.  The authors misidentify the school as a Jesuit institution instead of being in the tradition of the Sisters of St. Joseph, who founded and continue to guide the college.

Other clergy among the Brooklyn Power 50 included Pastor A.J. Bernard of the Christian Cultural Center, No. 14; Rabbi David Niederman, United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn, No. 34; and Pastor Clinton Miller of the Brown Memorial Baptist Church, No. 40.

Also see: Bishop DiMarzio Named to The ‘Brooklyn Power 50’ List