Monday, March 09, 2009

Connecticut Wants to Regulate Catholic Church

From the Diocese of Ridgeport, CT, comes this report that the state of Connecticut is seeking to regulate the internal operations and structure of the Catholic Church:
Catholics across the State of Connecticut mobilize to fight the irrational, unlawful, and bigoted Proposed Bill #1098/2009

New: Information on the March 11 Public Hearing in Hartford

New: Letter from Attorney Philip Lacovara to the Judiciary Committee

New: The Knights of Columbus website

Text of Raised Bill # 1098

Judiciary Committee Members' Contact Information

Statement of the Diocese of Bridgeport on Proposed Legislative Bill # 1098 / 2009

Diocesan 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.

We urge you to call and e-mail Sen. McDonald and Rep. Lawlor:

Senator Andrew McDonald:
Capitol phone: (800) 842-1420; Home phone: (203) 348-7439

Representative Michael Lawlor:
Capitol phone: (800) 842-8267; Home phone: (203) 469-9725

We also ask you to come to Hartford this Wednesday, March 11, to be present at the public hearing. Details on bus transportation will be available on Monday. If you would like to attend, contact your Pastor.

It is up to us to stop this unbridled abuse of governmental power.

It is time for us to defend our First Amendment rights.

It is time for us to defend our Church!

See also "Queers vs. Catholics in Connecticut" at Southern Appeal.

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At 3/09/2009 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a rather dangerous step taken by the CT government.


At 3/09/2009 2:25 PM, Blogger M. Alexander said...

Will this affect the Legion's Seminary in Chesire, CT?

If so, this might not be a totally bad thing.

At 3/09/2009 11:21 PM, Blogger Brian said...

What is the political party of these two men?

At 3/10/2009 6:25 AM, Blogger craig said...

From yesterday's Hartford Courant:

"Democrats said the idea for the bill came from Greenwich resident Tom Gallagher, a former parish trustee, devout Catholic, member of the Knights of Columbus and a Wall Street securities lawyer who wrote an op-ed article on the issue in The Stamford Advocate in January 2007. He is joined by Paul Lakeland, the chair of the Catholic studies department at the Jesuit-run Fairfield University and an often-quoted authority on church issues.

Rep. Michael P. Lawlor, the longtime co-chairman of the judiciary committee, said he was unsure what actions the committee might take. He said he had been unaware that Connecticut has had laws for about 150 years that specifically mention the Roman Catholic Church, United Methodist Church, Lutheran Church and others on how the religious corporation is organized. The Catholic law is mentioned in Section 33-279 of the Connecticut General Statutes."

"The idea is not completely new. Lawlor said that state Rep. Claudia "Dolly'' Powers, a Greenwich Republican, intended to introduce the same bill last year, but the judiciary committee got tied up with crime legislation, including the "three strikes'' bill that was introduced following three murders in Cheshire by two convicted criminals who were out on parole at the time.

Lawlor said it might be easier to eliminate the references to all of the religions in the state statutes and retain the law, Section 33-264 on the formation of religious corporations.

"To me, in my personal opinion, all of that stuff is unconstitutional,'' Lawlor said Monday night. "I think we should have one religious corporation act, and that's it. ... I had no idea we had these laws on the books governing the Catholic Church.'' "

At 3/10/2009 7:04 PM, Anonymous Donald R. McClarey said...

So the bigots got a few Uncle Pats to front for them, huh? Paul Lakeland has blogged at the Huffington Post.

Here is the money quote from that post:

"So, for the Democrats, if they want to reclaim the Catholic vote that lost them the last presidential election, the first challenge is to find a way to recognize the complexity of the abortion debate and not give the impression that you are either pro-choice or a dinosaur. Catholics and even some Evangelicals are more than ready to vote for a party that doesn't espouse a staunchly pro-life position, so long as they don't deride it. In any case, most polls show Catholics holding fairly similar positions on abortion to those of the American public as a whole."

Yep, I can see why the bigots choose Lawler to hide behind.

At 3/10/2009 7:23 PM, Anonymous Donald R. McClarey said...

Apparently the bigots put this together with Voice of the Faithless:

Folks, this was an attempted coup to take control of the Catholic Church in Connecticut by an alliance of schismatic Catholics and bigots in the legislature. We live in interesting times indeed.

At 3/11/2009 8:47 PM, Anonymous Amy G. CT Catholic said...


Senate Bill 1098 was introduced by Lawlor and McDonald (both homosexual activists) as a political ploy and distraction in order to pass Senate Bill 899 with minimal opposition! SB 899 goes far beyond the codification of the Kerrigan decision imposing same –sex marriage in CT. The goal of SB 899 is to strip away important statutory protections in order to pave the way for the eventual state mandated infusion of ‘gay positive’ themes into the public school curriculum. STOP SECTION 17!!

Stop CT's Same-Sex "Marriage" Bill!

Last year, the Connecticut Supreme Court ignored the express will of the legislature and of the people by imposing same-sex "marriage" by judicial force. A bill was heard by the Judiciary Committee on March 6th to codify this outrage.

But S.B. 899 goes beyond mere legislative housekeeping. Section 17 of the bill would repeal a state law protecting public policy on a wide range of moral issues. A repeal of this law could be read to mean that the State of Connecticut 1) condones homosexuality or bisexuality or any equivalent lifestyle, 2) authorizes the promotion of homosexuality or bisexuality in educational institutions or requires the teaching in educational institutions of homosexuality or bisexuality as an acceptable lifestyle, 3) authorizes or permits the use of numerical goals or quotas, or other types of affirmative action programs, with respect to homosexuality or bisexuality in the administration or enforcement of non-discrimination laws and 4) establishes sexual orientation as a specific and separate cultural classification in society.

The law targeted by Section 17 explicitly states that Connecticut's non-discrimination laws cannot be construed to support same-sex "marriage" or the four items listed above. We must amend Section 17 to salvage that law and stop the pro same-sex "marriage" agenda from being forced on children in the public schools!

We also need to amend S.B 899 to strengthen the statute protecting religious liberty from the same-sex "marriage" agenda (Sec. 46a-81p). The redefinition of marriage in Massachusetts has led to attacks on religious freedom, while in Connecticut Justices of the Peace have been told they must perform same-sex "weddings". Given the radical nature of this new same-sex "marriage" bill, further attacks on liberty and conscience are likely.

We cannot wait for those attacks to begin. We must strike now, while this bill is going through the legislative process!

Protect Your Rights!! Call your State Legislators and Judiciary Committee Members!!!

Defeat Senate Bill 899! - Defeat Senate Bill 1098!


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