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The Connecticut legislature introduced Raised Bill 1098 which takes aim directly at the Catholic Church -and no other church. The bill would remove the authority of the bishop and pastor over individual parishes and put a board of laymen in their place.

This is not a slippery slope argument. This is the thud at the bottom of the slope, folks.

This is nothing short of a government takeover of the local Church. I guess when they talk about separation of church and state they really just mean that the Church doesn't get to comment on the state or else they get taken over. I suspect that this move is mainly due to the outspokenness of the church on issues such as same sex marriage and abortionl.

If you live anywhere near Connecticut please attend the meeting at the State Capitol and Legislative Office Building located at 300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford.

According to the Family Institute of Connecticut you can testify at the public meeting:

Please testify at the public hearing on RB 1098 THIS WEDNESDAY, March 11th. The Judiciary Committee will hold the hearing at 12:00 P. M. in Room 2C of the LOB. Please submit 45 copies of written testimony to Committee staff at least two hours prior to the start of the hearing in Room 2500 of the LOB. Testimony submitted after the designated time may not be distributed until after the hearing.. Sign-up for the hearing will begin at 10: 00 A. M. in Room 2500 of the LOB. Sign-up will conclude 30 minutes before the start of the hearing. Speakers will be limited to 3 minutes of testimony.
The Diocese of Bridgeport released this strong statement:
This past Thursday, March 5, the Judiciary Committee of the Connecticut State Legislature, which is chaired by Sen. Andrew McDonald of Stamford and Rep. Michael Lawlor of East Haven, introduced a bill that directly attacks the Roman Catholic Church and our Faith.

This bill violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. It forces a radical reorganization of the legal, financial, and administrative structure of our parishes. This is contrary to the Apostolic nature of the Catholic Church because it disconnects parishes from their Pastors and their Bishop. Parishes would be run by boards from which Pastors and the Bishop would be effectively excluded.

This bill, moreover, is a thinly-veiled attempt to silence the Catholic Church on the important issues of the day, such as same-sex marriage.

The State has no right to interfere in the internal affairs and structure of the Catholic Church. This bill is directed only at the Catholic Church but could someday be forced on other denominations. The State has no business controlling religion.

The Pastors of our Diocese are doing an exemplary job of sound stewardship and financial accountability, in full cooperation with their parishioners.

For the State Legislature — which has not reversed a $1 billion deficit in this fiscal year — to try to manage the Catholic Church makes no sense. The Catholic Church not only lives within her means but stretches her resources to provide more social, charitable, and educational services than any other private institution in the State. This bill threatens those services at a time when the State is cutting services. The Catholic Church is needed now more than ever.

We reject this irrational, unlawful, and bigoted bill that jeopardizes the religious liberty of our Church.
The Knights of Columbus has this to say:
Bill 1098 is clearly unconstitutional. For more than 200 years, federal courts have consistently held that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution bars the government from interfering in the internal affairs of churches. This legislation not only violates that fundamental principle, but also would single out the Catholic Church for discriminatory treatment applied to no other religious organization.
I'm hoping Mike From Connecticut may be able to attend. But he's certainly on top of the story. Mike didn't have a lot of optimism for the bill's defeat but thinks the fight is a must:
Given that the state legislature here in CT has successfully rammed gay marriage, embryonic stem cell research and most recently Plan B contraception down the throats of Catholic opposition (though I think Plan B was an instance of the CT Catholic Conference caving unnecessarily) I'm afraid this will pass, despite our vocal disagreement. The legislators who support this measure may feel secure in their seats, as CT continues to become more liberal and hostile to the moral authority of the Church and I wonder where we might go from here?

I will reserve such reflections until, God forbid, they are needed. It is necessary now to oppose this legislation and I pray that we will succeed.
You can also call or write the committee co-chairmen, State Sen. Andrew McDonald (800-842-1420 or McDonald@senatedems.ct.gov), and State Rep. Michael Lawlor (800-842-8267 or MLawlor99@juno.com.

This is the most outrageous thing to happen since...well this morning when Obama started using your money to support the killing of embryos. I'm serious in that the outrages are coming so often and so fast that we can sometimes almost be numbed into complacency. But this is a fight we can do something about.

Please don't be complacent. Fight this fight.

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Sarah said...

I'm sorry but I really don't understand this at all. Could someone explain this to me? How can a bill remove the authority of the bishop?? How can parishes be run by boards of people? This makes no sense whatsoever.

matthew archbold said...

Well they can't. But if the Church refuses to comply with this law you can bet the full weight of the government will be levelled against the Church.
This is such an anti-Catholic piece of legislation I'm still kind of in shock over it.

Anonymous said...

It appears this legislation will provide the local independence and asset control that will enable schism - so they can sing a "New Church" into being. What will they call it? Hmmm... guessing... Vibrant American Catholic Church.

Sarah said...

I guess I'm just dumbfouded too. Why is this even in consideration as a law in the first place? How does the government have any say in how the church is run at all? What business do they have in saying that a board should replace the authority of the bishop? This makes no sense.

Mike in CT said...

From what I can see, this legislation is not "usurping" the authority of the bishop, just going around it.

As the Church has to deal with temporal issues like church buildings, capital assets, etc., there has to be a legal framework to regulate it. Currently, parishes have a board consisting of the bishop, the vicar-general, the pastor and two lay trustees. Day to day activities of the parish are led by the pastor who is aided by a finance committee or parish council. However, those bodies answer to the pastor, not the other way around.

Under this legislation, the bishop would be able to serve on the board, as would the pastor, but they would have no vote. In other words, they can "do their spiritual stuff," but the parish assets, payroll and other financial decisions would be completely decided by the lay board of trustees.

This would take away the bishop's authority to make final decisions about the parishes.

For instance, the lay board might decide to break off from the diocese. Or it may decide it doesn't like what the pastor has to say and move to stop paying his salary. Or they could move to sell off the rectory. Or they could operate the parish like a business, cutting off the charitable work that the parish does. Dare we even consider membership dues?

And the bishop and pastor would have no LEGAL authority to stop it.

Terry said...

I guess these two legislators don't know much about their own state's history. They should consider researching the Danbury Baptist Association and Thomas Jefferson's letter to them in 1802. A very important phrase originated from it.

Anonymous said...

This law will, if enacted, surely be overturned by the Supreme court.
But might it not be a good time for the Bishop to show up at the hearing to declare that any Catholic legislator who votes for this bill will be automatically excommunicated? Let's fight fire with fire!

matthew archbold said...

Are you going to the meeting?

Child of God said...

I think the Bishops of Connecticut should convene and vote on a restructuring of the civil government.

matthew archbold said...

"This law will, if enacted, surely be overturned by the Supreme court."

That depends on who is on the Supreme Court?

By the time this reaches it we could have one or two justices appointed by Obama. I have absolutely no confidence in the Supreme Court. None.

We must fight this now.

Child of God said...

in the meantime, two words.


Although, technically it isn't disobedience to disregard an illegal directive.

Mike in CT said...

It doesn't look like I can take the day from work, but my wife is going with a bunch of the homeschool moms around here. I'm working on my pastor to go. And I'll be checking tonight to see if there will be any video allowed. Also I'll find out if the friars from Air Maria will be attending to cover the story.

matthew archbold said...

Mike, Please check back in if there's video allowed. I don't trust the mainstream media on this one.

nightfly said...

What would Rush say?


Anonymous said...

If the law passes and the Churches comply then are the Churches in CT considered invalid - would they be authentic?

Nzie (theRosyGardener) said...

This is horrifying. :(

LCB said...

As I said over at AmPap,

Why is anyone surprised? This was a done deal the day the Connecticut Bishops rolled over and died on the Emergency Contraception/Ovulation Test matter.

Paul said...

I agree with LCB. I live in CT and I find it very interesting that when CT made Catholic hospitals dispense Plan B, the bishops practically endorsed the law but when their power and authority is in jeopardy, they fall all overthemselves trying to mobilize people to fight it. I'm all for fighting this bill but let's have some real leadership from our bishops.

Mary in CO said...

Mike or others in the Hartford area, I'd get there early -- and call in on Tuesday to confirm the meeting times. Wouldn't put it beyond the Judiciary Committee to pull a switcheroo at the last minute. It would be so in line with their modus operandi.

Subvet said...

Take video cameras, especially the unobtrusive ones found in cell phones. Buttonhole the legislative idiots as they go outside the chambers and give 'em a good grilling.

Who said, "Sunlight is the best disinfectant."? It applies here.

matthew archbold said...

Let's make 'em famous.

The Pondering Catholic said...

All I can say, is Lord have mercy on us! I never would have believed this would happen in my time, but I guess it is!

Rich said...

I would imagine the Knights of Columbus would be there in force, given that they are headquartered in New Haven.

Martin said...

It is interesting to note that the spirit of Benedict Arnold, a son of Connecticut, rides again amongst those of its legislators, who seel to overthrow the Constitution.

Anonymous said...

I am with Matthew Archbold. Let's make them famous - let it balloon - the burst will be a Church triumph!

Parenthetically, Antioch fell to the Crusaders in 1098!

Anonymous said...

This bill reeks of a freshly ground axe. Both Lawlor and McDonald are openly gay and big-time supporters of gay marriage.

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