We write to you today very upset about Bill #1098 raised in the CT Judiciary Committee this past Thursday. This bill represents an unconstitutional attack that targets the Roman Catholic Church alone and threatens religious freedom for all. This bill was specifically written with one organization in mind and interferes with the internal governance of an autonomous religious body. Not only is it irresponsible that such a consequential bill was thrust upon the public with such short notice, but it seems that this legislation is one move in a hidden agenda that seeks to silence the voice of opposition to the immoral direction that our Legislative branch has taken in recent years. This bill, as you well know, if it passes, will create a confrontational relationship between the bishops, the pastors, and the lay faithful in the Catholic Church in Connecticut. While heralded as an attempt to afford more transparency in financial matters due to a small number of misappropriation cases, this bill goes far beyond any such apparent need and interferes with the very structure of authority and guidance for Catholic parishes. The state has no vested interest in this. There is no reason why the legislature of the State of CT should be interfering in this arena. Please be aware that this bill is not only an affront to all Catholics, but poses a frightening precedent for the freedom of other religious institutions. While the Catholic Church does not have elected officials, the State of CT does and we will oppose any representative who supports this unconstitutional bill.
cc: Rep. Kevin Ryan, Sen. Edith Prague, Gov. M. Jodi Rell
UPDATE: Rep. Ryan responded very cordially and then forwarded the press release of the cancellation of the hearing.
Below is the response I received from Gov. Rell's office. I have yet to get a response from Sen. McDonald or Rep. Lawlor.
Thank you for your correspondence to Governor Rell regarding Senate Bill 1098. The Governor appreciates the time you took to send your correspondence to her office. Please accept this response on her behalf.
Governor Rell believes that it is extremely important for citizens to voice their opinions to their elected officials. The Governor was pleased to hear the bill was pulled and stated the following: “The co-chairs absolutely made the right decision by canceling the public hearing on the bill. This proposal was blatantly unconstitutional, insensitive and inappropriate.”
Thank you again for sharing your comments and concerns with Governor Rell. Please do not hesitate to contact our office in the future, should the need arise.
Office of Governor M. Jodi Rell