De Blasio Calls Move to Honor Mother Cabrini a ‘Manufactured Controversy’

Tags: Currents, Bishop DiMarzio, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Brooklyn, NY, Catholic Community, Cuomo, De Blasio, Diocese of Brooklyn, Faith, Immigrants, Inspiration, Italian American, Italian Art, Italian-Americans, Media, Mother Cabrini, New York, New York City, New York News, Queens, NY

By Tim Harfmann

Laura Eng, a Brooklyn resident and one of many Catholics outraged over the Mother Cabrini statue controversy, turned her anger into action and emailed the city’s ‘She Built NYC’ campaign when the results of the poll were announced. 

The city’s response: Mother Cabrini would be considered in the future.

“I feel slighted, definitely feel miffed; and I want her to get her due. She’s due this honor,” said Laura. 

She was one of many in Brooklyn and Queens who voiced their frustrations against the snub. Mother Cabrini overwhelming received the top spot.

The Catholic activism throughout the Brooklyn Diocese ultimately caught the attention of New York’s politicians. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo showed his support for the first time before the city’s Columbus Day Parade on October 14.   

“Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has said this is an affront, and the Brooklyn Diocese wants to build a memorial to Mother Cabrini. They are right! We should applaud their courage and their activism,” Cuomo said the night before the parade.

Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said the support is due to those who spoke up, wrote letters and refused to stay silent.

“I think I’m encouraged today. Again, if we didn’t speak up and we didn’t try to do this, nothing would’ve happened. So, sometimes you have to make a little bit of noise so that people pay attention to you.”

An Italian-American Catholic himself, Cuomo pledged his backing for a memorial to the saint after the parade, saying, “We are also pleased to announce we are going to build a statute to Mother Cabrini.”

“We’re very happy about that, so it’s a good thing,” said Bishop DiMarzio. “We encourage that that happens; and we’ll work with him to put it in a proper and have the proper statue.” 

But speaking exclusively to Fox 5 News after the parade, Mayor Bill de Blasio took jabs at the governor. 

“I think it’s a manufactured controversy. It’s very sad that some people have chosen to do this,” said de Blasio.

“If this is a city initiative, it should be reflective of the desires of the people. And the people have spoken! They voted! It’s not manufactured,” said Laura. 

Currents News reached out to City Hall October 15 for additional comment, and received a written statement from city spokesperson Jane Meyer. 

“We applaud the governor for joining us in our commitment to erect statues of women who have made an impact on New York City and look forward to having a statue of Mother Cabrini here,” Meyer wrote. 

As the statue controversy swirls, Catholics in the Brooklyn Diocese are remaining resilient.