Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio [photo], the Catholic bishop of Brooklyn, seems to have broken one of Brooklyn's unwritten rules by agreeing to set up a "Catholic Community Relations Council" with the Manhattan-based Archdiocese of New York.
The rule he broke, of course, is that the leaders of Brooklyn organizations must be vigilant about protecting their organizations against incursions from their Manhattan counterparts. It applies to everything from district attorney's offices to museums to theaters, news bureaus, schools, hospitals, non-profit groups and, yes, major religious organizations.
This new community relations council will "examine, promote, and participate in informed discussion of public policy issues, such as education, human services, housing and real property, as they affect the work of the Church in the five boroughs of the City."
That is, it is a lobbyist.
Someone should have told Bishop DiMarzio that his two immediate predecessors, Bishop Thomas Daily and the late Bishop Francis Mugavero, always resisted getting involved with the Archdiocese of New York in ways like this. Mugavero had Brooklyn in his blood and Daily, a Bostonian, learned quickly.
In the past, the Brooklyn diocese, the fifth largest in the nation, stood proudly on its own - and often enough with views that were more moderate and nuanced than those taken by the various cardinal-archbishops of New York across the East River.
As the nation's only entirely urban Catholic diocese, it has a particularly strong record for programs concerning housing, immigration and poverty. I don't see what Cardinal Edward Egan adds to this.
Of course, the new office for the CCRC is in Manhattan - in the same building that houses Egan's office.
That says it all.