Pope Francis wants sex-abuse claims against Brooklyn bishop ‘cleared up quickly’
By Sara Dorn
New York Post
November 23, 2019
|Pope Francis and Nicholas DiMarzio|
This papal visit took an awkward turn.
Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio was with his boss, Pope Francis, when allegations surfaced last week that he abused a New Jersey altar boy in the 1970s.
DiMarzio divulged details of the uncomfortable meeting in a Wednesday op-ed in the Brooklyn Diocese’s Tablet newspaper.
“As we left the meeting, I was amazed that the false accusation made against me was already known to him,” DiMarzio wrote, referring to the pontiff.
DiMarzio, 75, faces claims that he and another priest abused then-11-year-old Mark Matzek at St. Nicholas Church in Jersey City between 1974 and 1975.
In between masses at famed basilicas and meetings with Catholic dignitaries last week in Rome, Pope Francis pulled DiMarzio aside and “expressed his hope that the matter presented against me would be cleared up quickly for the good of the Diocese of Brooklyn,” according to the bishop.
The Church “is preparing to begin an investigation” into the accusations, Brooklyn Diocese spokeswoman Adriana Rodriguez told The Post. DiMarzio is waiting for “further instructions” from the Vatican regarding the investigation, Rodriguez said, noting church rules “do not require that a bishop step aside during the preliminary investigation.”
Ironically, DiMarzio, who is said to enjoy a special “trust” with the Vatican, just concluded his investigation into sex-abuse allegations against several Buffalo priests. The outcome has not been made public.
DiMarzio denies the allegation against him.
“I have never abused anyone in my life. In my nearly 50-year ministry as a priest, I have never done anything illegal or inappropriate and I look forward to my exoneration in this false accusation,” he wrote Wednesday, vowing “continued transparency in a future column.”
Matzek’s lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented dozens of Catholic church accusers and was depicted in the “Spotlight” movie, said, “Given there is a massive cover-up by Bishop DiMarzio’s bosses, including Pope Francis, it is not surprising they have put profit above protection.”
Garabedian is expected to file a lawsuit on Matzek’s behalf sometime next month.