Bishop William E. Lori explains to Catholics that a bill to restructure the Roman Catholic Church into controlling parish boards is intended to neuter the church leadership in order to enable legislative success of the Gay Agenda.
-- From "Catholics angry over proposed law" Connecticut Post 3/9/09
Saying it would undercut the Catholic Church's financial hierarchy, the state's bishops on Sunday urged parishioners to fight a proposed state law that would allow them to control their individual parish's financial affairs.
[Senate Bill 1098], introduced last Thursday by the Legislature's Judiciary Committee -- chaired by Sen. Andrew J. McDonald, D-Stamford, and Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven -- caught many Catholics by surprise, who first heard about it during weekend Masses.
In a statement read at Fairfield County Masses, Bridgeport Bishop William E. Lori delivered a harsh rebuke to the proposal, charging it "directly attacks the Roman Catholic Church and our faith" and was a "thinly-veiled attempt to silence the Catholic Church on the important issues of the day, such as same-sex marriage."
The bishops' announcement touched off an immediate uproar from parishioners who saw the proposal as an affront to their traditions.
Mary Sholomicky, 49, of Stratford, heard about the proposed law by attending the noon Mass at Our Lady of Grace parish. "It was quite a shock because of the First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees the right to practice religion. If I didn't want to do that, I'd live in China. Any person of any religious denomination should really be nervous. They are targeting Catholics now; who knows who's next down the road six months, six years."
. . . Paul Lakeland, the Rev. Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., professor of Catholic Studies and chair of the Catholic Studies Department at Fairfield University: "This legislation is not an interference with the free exercise of religion," he said, noting bishops would still retain their say over doctrinal matters.
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From "5,000 Angry Protesters Descend on Capitol" by Tom Monahan, NBCConnecticut.com 3/12/09
The bill might have been withdrawn, but 5,000 Roman Catholics, and other opponents of a bill that would essentially change the way the Catholic Church governs itself, made their feelings known Wednesday at the state Capitol.
Tuesday, the co-chairs of the [Senate] committee canceled a public hearing on the bill, saying they wanted an opinion from Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on its constitutionality.
Rep. Michael Lawlor and Sen. Andrew McDonald, co-chairmen of the Judiciary Committee, introduced the controversial measure at the request of a group of Catholics in Fairfield County.
The opponents of the bill had planned to testify against the proposal if the hearing was held Wednesday. And, despite the cancellation of the hearing, they showed up anyway.
More than 4,000 Catholics from around the state, along with others concerned about the church-state issue, rallied outside the Capitol.
While the rally took place outside, another 1,000 people were in a hearing room and four overflow rooms at the Legislative Office Building.
They were testifying before state lawmakers at an informational hearing, urging them to make sure that legislation of this type never be brought up again.
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