In a not-so-subtle attempt to try to take the power of the Roman Catholic church to organize as it is sees fit, two Connecticut Democrat state legislators were putting a bill up that would have essentially had the state determine how each parish would organize its governing boards.
Now, it is known to regular readers of this blog that I am not a Christian Roman Catholic. I am a Christian and an Episcopalian. But in this case, I am defiantly with my Roman Catholic brothers and sisters.
At issue is the way that each Roman Catholic diocese is set up and how each individual parish governing board is set up.
Currently, as I understand it, the diocesan bishop and the local parish priest or rector essentially run each parish with little if any input from the laity. I assume that there is some kind of governing board, so to any Roman Catholic readers, let me know.
In the Episcopal church, there is a diocesan bishop and each parish. The governing board is known as a vestry. Ostensibly, the members of the vestry are selected by committee and put up for a vote of parish members at a set time and place, usually an annual meeting of the parish.
So, some Roman Catholics do not like the fact that they give money to the church and do not like how the money is spent. Or on any given issue that a particular parish priest or rector deems it necessary for.
So, a Connecticut church member, Tom Gallagher, went to a state senator by the name of Andrew Macdonald (D-Stamford) to pursue state legislation that would create vestry-like lay boards of seven to 13 members. And that board would oversee the church finances. The kicker is that it would put the local priest or rector and bishop is nothing more than an advisory role.
Besides the fact that this would be blatantly unconstitutional under the First Amendment and the free exercise of religion, there is an underlying theme that somehow there is not so veiled anti-Roman Catholicism on the part of some state legislators.
As it turns out, Sen. Macdonald and his bill co-sponsor, state Rep. Michael Lawlor (D-East Haven) are gay. And they were none too happy about the role that many Roman Catholics played in supporting Proposition 8 this past November. Supposedly, the concerned lay person who approached Sen. Macdonald, Mr. Gallagher, is a leader of reform-minded Roman Catholics in Connecticut called Catholics for Better Governance.
Now, I do not really care how the Roman Catholic church chooses to govern itself. It is their right. Just as it is the right for the Episcopal Church or any other religious entity to govern itself as it see fit.
There can not be a role of government in the process. And the fact that two state legislators in Connecticut almost got as far as it did is disturbing.
But, a lot of pressure came to bear and Rep. Lawlor and Sen. Macdonald have shelved the proposed bill-for now.
But, why would two actively gay, Democrat, state legislators try to force a church to change the way that it governs? Unless they thought that it would get lay people, who may be more sympathetic to their issues, or boards they would have created. Thus they may not have been inclined to support such a measure as Proposition 8. Or anti-life legislation.
The only reason this was even known is because of such people as the folks at National Review and radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, a practicing Roman Catholic.
Good for them!
This proves that the Democrats are all talk about religious freedom. Until they freely exercise their religious understandings against issues that they are for.