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Catholic Leader Furious With De Blasio After No Priests Added To Transition Team

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Did New York City's incoming mayor snub Catholics?

There are questions about why Catholic leaders are not on Bill de Blasio's transition team, even though other religious leaders are.

Team de Blasio has yet to come up with an explanation, after being asked about the issue all day long, CBS 2's Marcia Kramer reported Friday.

The mayor-elect did not receive a blessing from the Catholic League's Bill Donohue. De Blasio's 60-member transition team, which was supposed to include men and women from every walk of city life, has thus far somehow left out a Catholic priest.

"He has an animus against Catholicism. It's palpable," said the Catholic League Bill Donohue. "Every demographic segment of our society is represented, so when you get to the area of clergy, well, Catholics are the majority of New Yorkers, over 50 percent are Catholic yet we get no representation. Two rabbis, two ministers, one imam and we get nobody."

But that's not the only thing upsetting the city's Catholics. Donohue is furious at the inclusion of people he sees as having an anti-Catholic bias -- Brooklyn Museum of Art director Arnold Lehman, who was responsible for  the controversial 1999 exhibit  "Sensation," which featured a portrait of the Virgin Mary with elephant dung on it, and Ford Foundation president Darren Walker, whose group donates to pro-abortion groups.

"He has room for them, but not a single Catholic priest and are these the people he's going to be listening to?" Donohue said.

When he announced the transition team, de Blasio touted its diversity.

"It is a group of people who share a progressive vision for the future of the city and who share a clear commitment to diversity in leadership for the future of this city," de Blasio said.

"He did say he wanted to be diverse, didn't he? And I guess he didn't live up to that," Upper West Side resident Joe Tessatore, adding that "52 percent of New York City is Catholic, so I guess you have to ask him where he's coming from."

"That's wrong. It shows you say a prejudice, I would say," added Alfred Vonohsto of College Point.

"I'm very surprised," another person said.

"You would think all religions would be on there. If there's the rest of them you would think a Catholic would be on there, too," said Hasper Leggett of Fort Hamilton.

Clearly under pressure to do something, Team de Blasio issued a statement late Friday that offered no explanation for the slight, but spokeswoman Lis Smith said that in the coming days more people would be added to the transition -- people who will demonstrate the mayor-elect's "commitment to diversity."

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