Response to Daily News Article on 2/15/08

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 18, 2008.

In response to a New York Daily News article on February 15, 2008 the Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn issued the following statement.

On January 31, 2008 I received an honorary doctorate in Theology from St. John’s University. Prior to the commencement ceremony Father Donald Harrington, President of the University, indicated that Senator Frank Padavan had repeatedly disparaged the student body in an attempt to galvanize opposition to proposed off-campus development. I was told that the student body was so offended that student groups intended to hold voter registration drives and get out the vote efforts.

I instructed my staff to speak with both Fr. Harrington and Senator Padavan in order to find an amicable solution to a problem that vexed members of both communities. I am troubled by the resulting confusion. Nevertheless, I want to be clear that Fr. Harrington at no time in any conversation with the Bishop stated that he wanted to “get Padavan because Padavan’s been critical.” Nor did he ever express any similar sentiment.

Senator Padavan has been an outstanding proponent of many ideals the Church values and St. John’s University, under the leadership of Father Harrington, is a vital part of the fabric of our City. It is my hope that the personal attacks and recriminations that advance neither the interest of St. John’s University nor the community in Jamaica Estates be concluded. I am confident that working together with a spirit of humility and mutual cooperation Fr. Harrington and Sen. Padavan will find a solution that satisfies all parties.