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The Battle of Bridgeport: Time to Stand for the Rights of the Catholic Church
Catholic Online ^ | 3/8/09 | Deacon Keith Fournier

Posted on 03/08/2009 12:28:29 PM PDT by tcg

“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.

(Excerpt) Read more at catholic.org ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: anticatholic; bishoplori; constitution; persecution
We must stand with our brothers and sisters and their courageous Bishop in Bridgeport, Connecticut as they oppose this unconstitutional legislation. It is a “Shot across the bow” and its proponents must not succeed.
1 posted on 03/08/2009 12:28:30 PM PDT by tcg
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To: tcg
Holy carp!

This is incredible! Aren't the legislators afraid that the Catholics will rise up and squash them?

Or are there nothing but Catholics In Name Only left in Connecticut, who will be only too happy to have the Church governance taken away from the bishops and put in THEIR hands?

2 posted on 03/08/2009 12:39:31 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse - TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: tcg

Alarming. From a very quick read at the link, I am unable to determine what started the move. (There is a lot of extraneous information there.)

Is this over FOCA? Abortion? Same sex unions? Tax exemption? Denying Communion to politicians? What right do they think they have?


3 posted on 03/08/2009 12:40:31 PM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: tcg

I would have liked to read about the proposed law - very little of it is mentioned in the article.


4 posted on 03/08/2009 12:52:52 PM PDT by Last Dakotan
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To: afraidfortherepublic

>What right do they think they have?<

The same rights that the Chicoms have in determining which Catholic Church is acceptable in China.


5 posted on 03/08/2009 12:52:54 PM PDT by 353FMG
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Gay “marriage.” McDonald is gay (Lawlor may be, too) and recently “married” his boyfriend. The gay marriage law was firmly opposed by the Church last year, although it ended up being imposed anyway. In any case, this is widely considered to be pay-back for the Church’s opposition.

He just simply got together with that awful “VOTF” and found a mutually beneficial way of attacking the Church. Voice of the Faithful is a raving lefty Catholic organization that Catholics should not be allowed to join. I think they foresee the day when a split occurs in the Catholic Church in the US, between people who remain loyal to the Pope and people who follow Obama and the government as their leader. (Think Chinese Patriotic Church...) They want to be able to position themselves to take the property with the least amount of difficulty possible, and this would certainly make it easier.


6 posted on 03/08/2009 12:54:00 PM PDT by livius
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To: tcg

Some more details would be helpful, such as the bill number(s) and the exact requirements. Lot of huffing and puffing in the article, but not a lot to go on.


7 posted on 03/08/2009 12:57:46 PM PDT by Gil4
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To: tcg

The fascists in America are taking over. The state voted for Change, well now live with it.

Change You Can Believe In.

If people there wanted freedom they wouldn’t vote these tyrants in to office.


8 posted on 03/08/2009 1:04:29 PM PDT by stockpirate (A people unwilling to use violent force to defend liberty deserves the tyrant that rules them SP)
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To: NYer; nutmeg

Catholic and CT ping.

“Constitution State” my butt...


9 posted on 03/08/2009 1:06:50 PM PDT by Betis70
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To: AnAmericanMother
The Knights of Columbus are headquartered in New Haven.

However, unfortunately, most of their employed staff are hard corp liberals and Unionized Socialists.

Maybe this will wake them up?

10 posted on 03/08/2009 1:11:31 PM PDT by Kansas58
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To: tcg

Apparently that “wall of separaion of church and state” has has some big ole doors that only open in one direction.


11 posted on 03/08/2009 1:15:09 PM PDT by Stosh
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To: AnAmericanMother
I believe that most Catholics(like the Jews) are liberals first, then Catholic.

There would be no rising nor squashing.

12 posted on 03/08/2009 1:17:20 PM PDT by deadrock (Liberty is a bitch that needs to be bedded on a mattress of cadavers.)
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To: Last Dakotan; Gil4
See in the first post below the picture of St. Michael the Archangel: Trusteeism Bill Introduced in Connecticut (To remove control of parishes from Catholic bishops)
13 posted on 03/08/2009 1:26:05 PM PDT by BlessedBeGod (May Obama go the way of my ex-governor Blagojevich.-- and soon!)
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To: Gil4

The bill establishes that Catholic churches in the state shall have a board of directors made up of 7 to 13 lay members elected by the congregation. The bishop or his designee shall be an ex-officio non-voting member.

All general administration and financial functions of the parish fall to the authority of the board including, establishing the budget, developing and implementing strategic plans and developing outreach plans and services to the community. Under the bill, the pastor would report to the board on all financial and administrative matters.

The bill says it leaves in tact the authority of the bishop or pastor “in matters pertaining exclusively to religious tenets and practices.”

I found the above at http://catholickey.blogspot.com/2009/03/trusteeism-bill-introduced-in.html

They do not understand that the Catholic Church is a paternalistic organization. Giving any authority to “lay members elected by the congregation” would liken our Church to all the others that have broken from our Church. The TRUTH must come from God and nothing is negotiable! A DEAR priest at my parish in Dallas would’ve been ousted had the parish thugs had their way with the Bishop! I just shudder at the thought!


14 posted on 03/08/2009 1:37:58 PM PDT by RebelTXRose
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To: tcg; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...
In truth, most governments fear the Catholic Church and resort to introducing nonsensical legislation in an attempt to silence us. If CT succeeds, others will follow. Our prayers for the Bishop and Catholics of CT as they fight back.

if you want on/off this list


15 posted on 03/08/2009 1:48:49 PM PDT by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: NYer
Related: Legislative Attack on Catholic Church in Connecticut (Bishop Speaks: "Diocese of Bridgeport" Link
16 posted on 03/08/2009 1:54:06 PM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: AnAmericanMother

This might be part of the effort to allow gays to marry in the Church. A liberal priest would be free to do what he wanted, and the bishop’s only choice would be t o defrock him.


17 posted on 03/08/2009 1:56:20 PM PDT by RobbyS (ECCE homo)
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To: GonzoII; All
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.

18 posted on 03/08/2009 2:06:50 PM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: GonzoII; All
 Who is like unto God?

Long live Henry VIII!

Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 1098

January Session, 2009

 

LCO No. 4528

 

*04528_______JUD*

Referred to Committee on Judiciary

 

Introduced by:

 

(JUD)

 

AN ACT MODIFYING CORPORATE LAWS RELATING TO CERTAIN RELIGIOUS CORPORATIONS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 33-279 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2009):

(a) A corporation may be organized in connection with any Roman Catholic Church or congregation in this state, by filing in the office of the Secretary of the State a certificate signed by the archbishop or bishop and the vicar-general of the archdiocese or of the diocese in which such congregation is located and the pastor and two laymen belonging to such congregation, stating that they have so organized for the purposes hereinafter mentioned. [Such archbishop or bishop, vicar-general and pastor of such congregation and, in case of the death or other disability of the archbishop or bishop, the administrator of the archdiocese or diocese for the time being, the chancellor of the archdiocese or diocese and the pastor of such congregation shall be members, ex officio, of such corporation, and, upon their death, resignation, removal or preferment, their successors in office shall become such members in their stead. The two lay members shall be appointed annually, in writing, during the month of January from the lay members of the congregation by a majority of the ex-officio members of the corporation; and three members of the corporation, of whom one shall be a layman, shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.]

(b) The corporation shall have a board of directors consisting of not less than seven nor more than thirteen lay members. The archbishop or bishop of the diocese or his designee shall serve as an ex-officio member of the board of directors without the right to vote.

(c) The members of the board of directors shall be elected from among the lay members of the congregation at an annual meeting of the corporation. The members of the board of directors shall serve for staggered terms of not more than three years. The members of the board of directors shall owe a fiduciary duty to the corporation and the members of the congregation.

(d) The board of directors shall meet at least quarterly. A majority of the members of the board of directors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. Notice of the meetings of the board of directors shall be sent by mail or electronic mail to each member of the board of directors and be delivered or published in a manner likely to come to the attention of a majority of the members of the congregation.

(e) The general administrative and financial powers of the corporation shall be exercised by or under the authority of the board of directors. Such powers shall include, but are not limited to:

(1) Establishing and approving budgets;

(2) Managing the financial affairs of the corporation;

(3) Providing for the auditing of the financial records of the corporation;

(4) Developing and implementing strategic plans and capital projects;

(5) Developing outreach programs and other services to be provided to the community; and

(6) Any of the powers enumerated in section 33-1036.

(f) The pastor of the congregation shall report to the board of directors with respect to administrative and financial matters.

(g) Any member of the corporation is entitled to inspect and copy, during regular business hours at the corporation's principal office, any of the business records of the corporation including accounting records and financial statements of the corporation if such member gives the corporation written notice of his demand at least five business days before the date on which he wishes to inspect and copy.

(h) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit, restrict or derogate from any power, right, authority, duty or responsibility of the bishop or pastor in matters pertaining exclusively to religious tenets and practices.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2009) The provisions of section 33-279 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, shall apply to all corporations in existence on January 1, 2010, that were organized under subpart D of part II of chapter 598 of the general statutes prior to said date.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2009) Any person having reason to believe that monetary contributions to a corporation organized under chapter 598 of the general statutes are being misappropriated and not being used for the purpose for which they were given may report that belief to the Attorney General. The Attorney General shall, pursuant to his authority under section 3-125 of the general statutes to represent the public interest in the protection of any gifts, legacies or devises intended for public or charitable purposes, investigate such report and take such action as he deems necessary.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2009

33-279

Sec. 2

October 1, 2009

New section

Sec. 3

October 1, 2009

New section

Statement of Purpose:

To revise the corporate governance provisions applicable to the Roman Catholic Church and provide for the investigation of the misappropriation of funds by religious corporations.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]


19 posted on 03/08/2009 2:10:51 PM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: afraidfortherepublic; AnAmericanMother

Beginning of the persecutions of Christians?

Just starting with the Catholics, but coming to a Protestant Church near you soon.

Obomanible Obama.


20 posted on 03/08/2009 2:20:32 PM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: AnAmericanMother
...are there nothing but Catholics In Name Only left in Connecticut, who will be only too happy to have the Church governance taken away from the bishops and put in THEIR hands?

That's my guess. I would imagine that being a Catholic in Connecticut is pretty much like being a Republican in Connecticut.

21 posted on 03/08/2009 2:23:09 PM PDT by Alex Murphy ( "Every country has the government it deserves" - Joseph Marie de Maistre)
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To: GonzoII
Senior Counsel, Mayer Brown LLP,

to members of the Judiciary Committee

Attorney Lacovara, a member of the Diocese of Bridgeport, has more than 40 years' experience as a constitutional law teacher and practitioner.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Dear Member of the Judiciary Committee:

When you entered the Legislature, I assume that you took an oath consistent with the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution recognizing that the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land and that all State officials are bound to respect it. 

You now have before your Committee a bill that tests your fidelity to your constitutional duty. The bill is No. 1098, which candidly announces that its purpose is to "revise the corporate governance provisions [of the Connecticut Statutes] applicable to the Roman Catholic Church." 

In more than forty years as a constitutional law teacher and practitioner, I cannot recall a single piece of proposed legislation at any level of government that more patently runs afoul of the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment that does this bill.

I write to you as a Connecticut taxpayer, as a Catholic, and as a constitutional lawyer.  This last capacity is most relevant for present purposes.

I have taught constitutional law at Columbia Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, and Hunter College of the City University of New York.  I also have served as Deputy Solicitor General of the United States and as Counsel to the Watergate Special Prosecutor.  I have argued 18 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, most involving constitutional issues.

I find it utterly astonishing that Bill 1098 could be taken seriously enough to warrant a hearing before your Committee.  I would find it difficult to use it as a "hypothetical" in one of my constitutional law classes, because even first year law students would have so little difficulty seeing why the bill goes well beyond the powers that the Constitution allows the States to exercise in dealing with organized churches.

Ever since we passed beyond the Colonial period during which several Colonies in New England barred Catholics and Catholic priests from practicing their faith as they chose to practice it, all persons — and churches — in this country have been protected by the fundamental guarantee of religious autonomy enshrined in the First Amendment.

One of the key doctrines embodied in this protection of religious liberty is that the State has no legitimate power to intrude into the internal affairs of a hierarchical church.  That is, the guarantee of religious liberty applies not only to the private beliefs of individuals, it also protects the autonomy of organized churches as
such.  That principle has been established for two centuries.  The so-called "internal affairs" doctrine means that the leaders of a hierarchical church have the final and absolute authority to decide how the church will be organized and governed, and no State may override that autonomy by purporting to require that the church be reorganized in some other way simply because a public official may think that a different organization is "better" for the members of the congregation.

The great exponent of First Amendment religious liberty, Justice William Brennan, explained in one of the leading examples of the Supreme Court's enforcement of religious autonomy against State intrusion that a hierarchical church has exclusive authority to decide whether to reorganize its diocesan corporate structure and that the First Amendment deprives the State of any role in substituting its own views:

"It suffices to note that the reorganization of the Diocese involves a matter of internal church government, an issue at the core of ecclesiastical affairs; Arts. 57 and 64 of the Mother Church constitution commit such questions of church polity to the final province of the Holy Assembly. Kedroff v. St. Nicholas Cathedral, 344
U.S. 94, 116 (1952), stated that religious freedom encompasses the 'power [of religious bodies] to decide for themselves, free from state interference, matters of church government as well as those of faith and doctrine'."

The quotation is from Justice Brennan's opinion for the Court in SERBIAN
ORTHODOX DIOCESE v. MILIVOJEVICH, 426 U.S. 696, 721-22 (1976).

Legislative Bill 1068 is explicitly designed to have the State of Connecticut substitute its view about desirable structure of the governance of the Catholic Church.  AS the Supreme Court has warned over and over, however, a State Legislature may not usurp the power of the Catholic Church to decide this matter for itself "free from state interference."  There is no doubt that, if the Legislature were to enact this bill, the federal courts would strike it down as unconstitutional on its face.  I urge you not to provoke such a constitutional confrontation.

It has been said that this bill merely revises the existing statute providing for the incorporation of Catholic parishes and that the Legislature must have residual constitutional power to change those provisions as it thinks fit.  This is a fatuous argument.  When a State has the competence to address a matter, it must do in accord  with the Constitution.  For example, the fact that the State may enact
legislation consistent with the Constitution that outlaws racial segregation hardly implies that the Legislature must equally have power to enact legislation commanding racial segregation.

This distinction is obvious and applies here equally.  That, of course, is precisely the logical flaw that dooms the argument put forth by proponents of this bill.

The existing statute defers to the Canon Law of the Catholic Church on the respective roles of the Bishop of the Diocese and his other canonical subordinates, including parish pastors.  It places them in supervisory authority over all of the affairs of the parish communities, including "administrative" affairs.  Within the meaning of Supreme Court cases guaranteeing the autonomy of religious superiors in a hierarchical church such as the Catholic Church over matters of internal governance, the existing statute respects the Church's autonomy.

By contrast, the bill before your committee would purport to overrule the Church's absolute autonomy over its form of internal governance and to substitute a form of government that flies in the face of 2000 years of Catholic Church law and practice.  The United States Constitution forbids that assertion of State power.

Finally, it is said that some members of a Catholic parish in which a priest engaged in defalcation have suggested this legislation.  It is easy to find clusters of persons who have pet "reforms" on a wide variety of issues.  I suggest that the responsibility of a member of the State Legislature is to put clear and fundamental constitutional values ahead of political expediency.

In light of what I understand have been the comprehensive efforts of the Church leadership to assure financial responsibility within the Church, this bill seems to be a "solution" in search of a problem.  In any event, it is a "solution" that our constitutional system does not allow the State to impose.

I appreciate your consideration of these views.


Philip Allen Lacovara

 

22 posted on 03/08/2009 2:24:26 PM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: NYer; nutmeg; raybbr; Puppage; wastedyears; RaceBannon; Coleus; narses

From the Connecticut Compromise to “The Battle of Bridgeport,” it’s been a long journey. The left seems to be engaging in a vast overreach almost everywhere I look, IMHO.


23 posted on 03/08/2009 2:29:53 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: GonzoII

Thx, that is an informative article/thread.


24 posted on 03/08/2009 2:39:40 PM PDT by Betis70
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To: GonzoII

bttt


25 posted on 03/08/2009 6:38:56 PM PDT by ELS (Vivat Benedictus XVI!)
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To: tcg
... and how will the gentlemen of CT's legislature handle the question of ownership and management of the Episcopal Church property in the state, as that church splits on queer bishops, female clergy? How, pray tell, will they handle Orthodox vs. Reform Synagogues, etc. O wait, I've an idea fellows! Let's make the Congregationalist Church the official state religion and require all non-believers to pay a tithe! I know we can make it work this time.

And all the kids in the state can learn to spell "Antidisestablishmentarianism"!

26 posted on 03/08/2009 9:05:13 PM PDT by Kenny Bunk (The Election of 2008: Given the choice between stupid and evil, the stupid chose evil.)
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To: tcg
1. What authority does the State of Connecticut have on this matter? They got rid of an official church 200 years ago.

2. Don't just keep this a Catholic issue, for this is not. It affects all faiths. Get Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists.... involved.
27 posted on 03/08/2009 11:30:16 PM PDT by rmlew
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To: rmlew

It looks like the state wants the power to be able to wind the local church down (with local collusion) if it gets too uppity. This will fail for the same reason that church property goes untaxed, i.e. because it would allow the state to destroy the church.


28 posted on 03/09/2009 1:41:46 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Beat a better path, and the world will build a mousetrap at your door.)
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To: GonzoII
f) The pastor of the congregation shall report to the board of directors with respect to administrative and financial matters.

I can't believe what I'm reading.

29 posted on 03/09/2009 7:32:27 AM PDT by Lorica
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