Editor Emeritus - Ed Wilkinson

Cathedral Club Is a Sign of Catholic Maturity

Cathedral Club 115th Annual Dinner
At the Cathedral Club Dinner were, from left, guest speaker Congressman Peter King; Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio; Sean Crowley, guest of honor; Christopher
Hannan, president; Michael Long, chairman of the N.Y.S. Conservative Party; and State Sen. Martin Golden of Brooklyn. (Photo by Robert M. Longo)
Photos and Related Article

One of the reasons that the Cathedral Club of Brooklyn was established in 1900 was to assist Catholics with moving into the public arena. It was a time when Catholics were not always welcomed. They were the outcasts in a Protestant country that was suspect of the papacy having too much influence over American life.

Father George Mundelein, who went on to become the Cardinal-Archbishop of Chicago, was the founder of the Club, which operated out of space at 94 Greene Ave. until it bought the former Carleton Club on the corner of Sixth and St. Mark’s avenues in Park Slope. The Sixth Ave. clubhouse was sold in the 1970s when it became financially unfeasible for the membership to maintain a building of its own.

To take a look at the attendees of the recent 115th Cathedral Club Anniversary Dinner, you would have to say that the Club has been successful. The audience of almost 500 people at the Marriott Marquis was full of prominent Catholic politicians, judges and businessmen, all of whom are active voices in the public arena.

The dais seating alone was enough to prove the point. State Supreme Court Judge Dineen Riviezzo, State Court of Claims Justices Matthew D’Emic, John Ingram and Vincent DelGiudice were prominent in black tie.

Also among the dais guests was Mayor Joseph Sack of Rye, N.Y.; City Councilman Eric Ulrich; Dean Michael Simons of St. John’s Law School; Craig Eaton, Kings County Chairman of the Republican Party; Michael Long, N.Y.S. Chairman of the Conservative Party; Gerard Kassar, Kings County Chairman of the Conservative Party; and Raymond Teatum, Lieutenant of the Eastern Lieutenancy of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.

In the audience there was a large table consisting of NYPD chiefs and officers who help make the city safe. Several times during the evening, their contributions to public safety were mentioned, in light of the troubling atmosphere that had led to the murders of police officers on our streets.

Congressman Joseph Crowley of Queens was supposed to be present but he was under the weather. He sent a beautiful letter of tribute to his brother, Sean, who was the evening’s guest of honor. He told about how Sean had been born with a hole in his heart but today he is healthy and probably has the biggest heart in the Crowley family.

Congressman Peter King, another native of Queens, became the first person to be the keynote speaker for the second time. He rallied the assembly with a stirring speech about the place of values learned in Catholic schools.

Catholic schools, as you can read in this week’s centerfold, was a big topic for the Cathedral Club. Its members are fully supporting passage of an Education Tax Credit proposal in Gov. Cuomo’s budget. State Sen. Martin Golden, a Cathedral Club member, has been the prime mover of the bill in the State Senate.

An historical note. In 1903, the president of the Club was Claude M. Becker, who later became the business manager of The Tablet. Next year’s president will be Vincent LeVien, director of external affairs for DeSales Media Group, parent company of The Tablet.

No one could leave the dinner without being impressed by how far Catholics have come in their participation in the dialogue in the country. The Cathedral Club of Brooklyn not only reflects the growth of Catholic thought but it also is one of the reasons it has taken place.

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