Do we see here the latest faces of evil? While a certain anti-Catholicism has long been fashionable in the U.S., these bigots pull no punches in attacking the divinely instituted hierarchical structure of the Catholic Church: Rep. Michael Lawlor and Sen. Andrew McDonald of Connecticut. Why? It is because these gay men hate the Church for her position against same-sex civil unions. More about this below.
Watch the video with Bishop William Lori where he warns of the crisis.
A Bill that would strip Bishops of their authority over parishes!
Catholics must stand together against this attack upon the nature of the Church!
The latest and most intrusive step so far against the Catholic Church is in Connecticut. True Catholics must pray and support the Bishop of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Bishop Bill Lori, formerly a priest of my diocese, Washington, DC, is headed for the fight of his life. What happens there will have repercussions for the Church throughout the entire nation. Fortunately, he is up to the fight and is also Supreme Chaplain to the KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS.
This is not Red China with its puppet “patriotic” Catholic Church; but that is precisely what certain legislators in Connecticut must think. A bill has been put forward that would directly interfere with the internal activities and structure of the Catholic Church. Other churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples are ignored; the Catholic Church alone (at least for now) has been targeted by name. Bill 1098 would strip Catholic bishops of their direct oversight over their parishes. The state would force the bishops to hand their jurisdiction to an elected board of directors. Clergy would not be allowed on this board, only laymen and laywomen. The bishop or his representative could sit with the 7 to 13 members, but he would have NO VOTE.
The overall authority of bishops over their priests and congregations comes from the apostles and the charge given them by Jesus. This legislation rejects the Catholic stance and forces a reformed Protestant form of government upon the Catholic Church. The Church rejected boards of controlling trustees over parishes after the Revolutionary War. Only the Protestant reformers, and not all of them, suggested that the bishops be stripped of their authority. Such a measure would reduce bishops to figureheads, good for periodic Confirmations but nothing more. Pastors would be hired, fired and treated as employees by these boards. Pastors would no longer be true pastors at all. I am sure the Vatican would never have any of it. But what would happen then, a forced schism where the legitimate bishops would govern from exile and their priests minister under tents while the state flunkies took over Church properties and changed policies? Such a view by which the laity rules the Church has been condemned as heretical by the Magisterium. We each have our role to play and the bishops should not be stripped of theirs. How could anyone in government dare think they could rewrite the system of governance for the Catholic Church? This is an obscenity to the freedom of religion!
The diocese of Bridgeport has explained the situation as follows:
“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!”
The First Amendment to the US Constitution is found in what is properly called the “Bill of Rights”. It contains these clear words: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
This bill violates the rights of the Catholic Church and the faith of her good people. It is also unconstitutional and we can only hope that good sense prevails. But, even if we win this one; what about the next attack or the one after that? The Church has a hierarchical structure that comes down to us from Christ’s institution. This legislation is anti-Catholic bigotry at its best. Note that we alone are singled-out for such treatment. It is to be forced upon us because the Church refuses to be silent about such evils as same-sex unions and abortion. Do not think for one moment that these boards would be composed of good practicing Catholics who kiss the hands of their priest each Sunday. No, these would be the dissenters taking charge.
No doubt the scandal of a few bad priests and allegations of abuse weighs in the background for many people, but the rationale given here is that the bishops and Church cannot manage their own financial house. Bishop Lori rightly finds this reasoning quite fantastic, given their high degree of accountability and good management. By contrast, the State of Connecticut cannot close a one billion dollar deficit and the full story will never be told upon the government waste and corruption. The real reason for this Bill is hatred of the Catholic Church and resentment about the tough moral stands she has taken. It is no accident that the day before it was submitted, the same-sex marriage Bill was to be heard. This Bill which focuses on the juridical structure of the Catholic Church is only a thinly veiled attempt to silence our voice. Note that other churches are not targeted for such take-over. The two main proponents are radically involved with the homosexual agenda and hate the Church for refusing to pander to perversity. There can be no doubt, these men are out to destroy the Catholic Church as we know her.
Imagine for a moment what these boards might quickly put on the agenda if they should take charge:
- Their first objective would be achieved: approval of same-sex couples, blessings over them and wedding ceremonies.
- Next would come condom and pill distribution from Catholic Charities and training sessions for CCD kids and parish youth groups.
- Parish pro-life groups would be disowned and replaced with Planned Parenthood or NARAL promoters.
- Married priests would be invited back, especially after orthodox celibates are fired.
- In short order, women would be ordained and received as priests in the parishes.
- Divorce and remarriage would be permitted.
- The protestant “open” communion table would be established, welcoming everyone for communion, even your Buddhist friends.
- ACT-UP and Dignity would operate so-called gay-friendly activities using parish funds and property.
- The face of Jesus in churches would be refashioned to look like Obama— all hail the Messiah! (Who knows?)
MIKE LAWLOR ATTACKS CATHOLICISM AT GAY MARRIAGE HEARING:
The late Pope John Paul II told the young people at World Youth Day that they had to remain strong in the faith. He prophesied that many of them would face great persecution and maybe even suffer martyrdom. While he worked for a better tomorrow and reconciliation with groups which had historic grievances with Catholicism; nevertheless, when asked about the future he said he had a vision of BLOOD.
Many people assert that here in America we are safe to worship as we please. However, religion is about more than ritual, it is also about ideas and activism. Already there are politicians and organizations who oppose basic ideas and activities which touch core tenets of Catholicism. The question of the war aside, the Bush Administration was a momentary respite, an oasis in a storm that was looming ever closer and closer. Now that Obama is president, I suspect we shall find the ark of Peter frequently assailed and with few earthly friends to lend assistance. Catholics in the pews have grown timid to defend and help. They must be awakened from their moral slumber. As in many nations, certain Catholics have become the Church’s worst enemies. Even here in the United States, many Catholic pro-abortion politicians in the House of Representatives, the Senate and in the Executive branch oppose the Church’s efforts for the Gospel of Life. State governments are also turning against us. Many of these efforts are fueled by the big money that organizations like Planned Parenthood can muster. Add to this the general enmity that the ACLU and other such entities have against us, and well, this fight is going to have casualties.
Pretty much every year there is an effort here in Maryland to force Catholic hospitals to do abortion referrals and to distribute contraception, even if abortifacient. So far we have been on the winning side, but for how much longer? Maryland bishops have said they would close the hospitals before allowing any collaboration in murder and sin. The Church in Los Angeles took heat about their insurance plans for employees and was pressured to add same-sex partners to the mix. There is also growing insistence that artificial contraception be included in health plans, despite the Church’s view that such practices constitute mortal sin. The Church in Boston had to shut down their adoption program operated through Catholic Charities because the authorities insisted that they would also have to adopt children out to homosexual couples. No one thought the Archbishop would take such a step, but he had the courage to make the right move. The new president has made no secret that he opposes any “conscience clause” for doctors, nurses and pharmacists who want nothing to do with abortion, embryonic destruction and artificial contraception. Stripped of legal protection, many pro-life professionals and Catholics will have their licenses stripped and be removed from their jobs.