Editor: Instead of being so violent, rigid and judgmental, they should look within.
Two weeks after more than 100 people protested against Reverend John Direen outside St. Joseph The Worker Church while he conducted mass inside, Direen disputed many of the accusations leveled against him in an interview with Berkeleyside.
While Direen acknowledged he has made some unpopular moves – including closing meeting spaces and laying off staff — he said the changes have been driven by an urgent need to cut costs in a parish carrying a $1.1 million debt rather than being an attempt to push his own conservative agenda.
“When I came to St. Joseph two years ago I quickly realized we were facing a crisis,” he said. “We owed money to the diocese and to a variety of vendors, and we were being threatened by lawsuits.” Much of the debt was incurred by retrofitting work done at the church and it was compounded by decreased donations from a congregation in the midst of an economic recession.
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