Connecticut Bill on Catholic Church Nearly Identical to Voice of the Faithful Strategy

Catholic News Agency
March 10, 2009

Hartford, Conn.,(CNA).- Catholics around the country are upset over a new bill in the Connecticut Senate that, in the words of the Archbishop of Hartford, "forces a radical reorganization of the legal, financial, and administrative structure of our parishes." The bill, which bears resemblance to Voice of the Faithful's Strategic Plan, is being supported by Dr. Paul Lakeland, who believes that in this case it's appropriate to use state legislation to force the Church's hand.

Dr. Paul Lakeland, Fairfield University Chair of Catholic Studies, Voice of the Faithful member, former Jesuit Priest, and author of several books including "The Liberation of the Laity: In Search of an Accountable Church," recently discussed his support for Connecticut's controversial Bill No. 1098 with CNA. Dr. Lakeland is also scheduled to testify before the Connecticut General Assembly on behalf of the bill.

The premise of the bill is remarkably similar to the 2009-2010 Voice of the Faithful Strategic Plan. "The VOTF," as Dr. Lakeland explains, "grew up in response to the sex abuse scandals here. One of the things that became rapidly apparent, among both liberals and conservatives, was the sense that the bishops hadn't done a very good job of handling this."

Explaining his connection to the bill Dr. Lakeland said, "I'm connected to [the bill] to this degree: I've been working pretty closely with Tom Gallagher, who's a Greenwich businessman, who has been behind the push to get the state government to do something about this. Even though, I don't think, even he was involved in putting the legislation together." Article

I found this portion of the article particularly interesting:

In the wake of the bill's introduction last Thursday, negative responses from Catholics and bishops around the country have been heard.

But Dr. Lakeland responded by defending the bill, saying, "I think legislation that moves in this direction frees the bishop and the pastor from a whole lot of stress producing tasks and managerial responsibility…and I think it will be good for them. If I were a bishop, I'd welcome it!"


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