ROME (AP) — Pope Francis on Wednesday accepted the resignation of the Catholic bishop of Brooklyn, Nicholas DiMarzio, weeks after a Vatican investigation cleared him of sexual abuse allegations, and appointed a native New Yorker to replace him.
DiMarzio is 77, two years beyond the normal retirement age for bishops. Francis accepted his resignation and appointed Bishop Robert Brennan of Columbus, Ohio, to take over in Brooklyn, the Vatican said.
On Sept. 1, the New York church announced that the Vatican had closed its case against DiMarzio after an investigation concluded that the allegations against him didn’t have “the semblance of truth.” Two men had separately claimed DiMarzio abused them a half century ago, when he was a priest in New Jersey.
DiMarzio denied the allegations. The accusers’ lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, has said the two men will both press forward with civil cases against DiMarzio.
“The recent finding of the Vatican clearing Bishop DiMarzio of sexual abuse was the result of a biased investigation rendered by a self-serving Vatican court with a predetermined agenda,” Garabedian said in a statement.
In a tweet Wednesday, DiMarzio welcomed Brennan to Brooklyn and said he had “great confidence in his ability to lead” the diocese.
For the Bronx-born Brennan, 59, it’s a homecoming to New York after he was educated at St. John’s University in Queens, ordained in Rockville Centre, Long Island, and made an auxiliary bishop there before being sent to lead the Columbus diocese in 2019.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who as archbishop of New York is the responsible for both the Brooklyn and Rockville Centre dioceses, welcomed Brennan back home.
“During my over 12 years as archbishop of New York, I have come to know him as a fine priest and bishop, a warm individual, and a good friend,” Dolan said.
Dolan, who had appointed an outside firm to investigate DiMarzio, thanked the bishop for his “zeal and dedication” in leading the Brooklyn diocese for 18 years and said he would continue to be a source of wisdom for the New York church.