Religion in Society

Connecticut's Attempt to Oppress the Catholic Church

| by The American Papist
Connecticut is becoming a flash-point for government oppression of Catholic institutional autonomy.

I reported extensively on the events which have led to this situation when they began to unfold in early March of this year. Bishop Lori is not taking this most recent - and most serious - attack lying down:

The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn., says he's a man of God, not a lobbyist. But state officials say he's both.

According to the Connecticut Office of State Ethics, the diocese acted as a lobbying organization in March when it rented buses to transport people to a rally in Hartford — the state capital — to protest a bill that would have granted more power to parishioners regarding church finances.

Officials also are investigating whether the church acted as a lobbying organization on its Web site when it urged parishioners to contact lawmakers about the bill, which eventually was withdrawn amid public outcry, and about a another bill to legalize same-sex marriage, which was signed into law in April.

Now the ethics office is "evaluating" whether the diocese failed to register as a lobbyist — an investigation that Bishop William Lori says violates the diocese's First Amendment right to free speech and assembly.

"I don't know what the motive of the Office of State Ethics was or is, but I do know that their actions stem directly from our attempts to defend ourselves in the face of two pieces of legislation that were unfriendly to the day-to-day mission of the church," Lori told FOXNews.com on Thursday.

"We were simply seeking to fulfill our mission, to continue to be ourselves."

And the diocese is fighting back, bringing a civil lawsuit against two Office of State Ethics officials — Enforcement Officer Thomas K. Jones and Executive Director Carol Carson." (FOX News)

Make no mistake, what is happening in Connecticut is also critically important for the Church throughout the United States. I'll be keeping a close eye on this situation as it develops. Keep it tuned here at AmP and also visit the Bridgeport diocese website.

If the Connecticut legislature succeeds in penalizing the Church for acting as a "lobbyist" organization there, the rights of Catholics and Catholic institutions will be endangered elsewhere. We must stop their efforts in their tracks.