NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Bronx Catholic school principal who was the focus of controversy after a published report revealed his writings and views were tied to white supremacy has been let go.
“Mr. Frank Borzellieri has been relieved of his position as principal of Our Lady of Mount Carmel School,” Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling said in a statement Tuesday. “This decision was reached following a thorough internal review of his opinions and beliefs as expressed in his books and columns, and a discussion with Mr. Borzellieri himself.”
“The decision was reached by Father Eric Rapaglia, pastor of the parish, in consultation with the Office of the Superintendent of Schools of the Archdiocese. Many of the opinions expressed by Mr. Borzellieri in his writings were found to be incompatible with the philosophy and practices of Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, and with Catholic schools throughout the Archdiocese.”
Borzellieri had no comment. CBS 2’s John Slattery tried to get a comment from his mother, but Margaret Borzellieri would only say, “I have nothing to say. My son’s good. We wish you would leave us alone.”
Frank Borzellieri’s sister, Maria, defended him, telling Slattery, “He wrote these books a long time ago. I don’t know who’d drag them up. It has noting to do with the type of principal he is today.”
Borzellieri was hired as the principal of Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in 2009 by Rapaglia. The two had previously worked together at St. Barnabas.
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In 2004, Borzellieri authored a book called “Don’t Take it Personally: Race, Immigration, Crime and Other Heresies.”
Borzellieri wrote “diversity is a weakness” and claims increasing black and Hispanic populations in the United States will lead to what he calls a “new dark age.”
Borzellieri has also written for the white supremacist publication American Renaissance.
“It offends me. I’m Puerto Rican and my children are half black — It offends me,” parishioner Ann Joseph told CBS 2’s John Slattery.
As a school board member in District 24 from 1993 to 2002, Borzellieri reportedly tried to ban literature he called “anti-American” which included a biography on Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and fire an openly gay teacher.
“Honestly, I don’t know how he managed to slip through the cracks,” Carol Ann Joseph said.
“It’s ridiculous, I can’t understand why the church would allow this,” a parishioner said.
A day after the report was published, churchgoer Juan Varela, of Queens, was arrested after interrupting mass Sunday at the church to call for Borzellieri’s ouster.
Varela was charged with disorderly conduct and possession of a weapon because he was carrying a knife.
Spokesman for the Archdiocese, Joe Zwilling, said there have been no complaints about Borzellieri during his two-year tenure at the school.
“The superintendent of schools office has been reviewing his books and discussing the matter with him and the pastor of the parish that hired him. The process is still ongoing,” Zwilling said.
The Archdiocese, which says Mount Carmel is known for its diversity, will now have to decide what the principal’s beliefs are regarding diversity and whether they conflict with church teaching.
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