Parishioners at a Brooklyn church that defied both its bishop and a powerful politician over a local development scheme say someone exacted revenge on them by fudging their books to justify the diocese shutting the house of worship down.
Juan Ramos and other worshipers say the decision to shutter Our Lady of Montserrat Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant by the end of January and combine operations with nearby All Saints Church is "payback" by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio for crossing Brooklyn Democratic Boss Vito Lopez and publicly opposing the nearly 1,900-unit Broadway Triangle housing project Lopez is pushing.
Diocese of Brooklyn spokesman Shane Kavanaugh, however, said the Vernon Avenue church is being closed because it’s a money pit and "the decision wasn’t politically motivated" – despite DiMarzio and Lopez’s longtime alliance.
The diocese, he said, forgave $1.7 million in debt to the church in 2000 and then gave it $395,000 in subsidies the past decade to keep it functioning. It is in the red another $23,000 for this year