Skip to comments.Diocese Mobilizes Opposition to Proposed Massachusetts Law
Posted on 08/11/2005 4:50:22 PM PDT by sionnsar
The Bishop Suffragan of Massachusetts is urging the clergy of the diocese to mobilize opposition to a bill before the state legislature which would require churches to submit annual financial reports and statements of assets to the state attorney general.
Senate Bill 1074, An Act Relative to Charities in Massachusetts, was introduced in response to the abuse scandals concerning the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.
Opening the door to the intrusion of the state in church matters could begin a slippery slope to state intrusion into religion, the Rt. Rev. Roy Cederholm wrote on Aug. 9.
The burdensome reporting requirements that this bill would create, he said, would bring about an onerous financial burden and would have a chilling effect on the laity. This bill would make it even more difficult to find volunteers to fill this position [parish treasurer] as it would now carry serious legal obligations in addition to the already considerable time commitment.
In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee Aug. 10, Laura Everett of the Massachusetts Council of Churches noted that aside from the financial burdens involved, the law fails on the principle of religious liberty.
Religious liberty is a real concern with this legislation. Many Christian churches have deep and bitter historical memories from having experienced undue influence by the state in the affairs of the church, she said, noting that the attorney general already has the power to investigate allegations of malfeasance.
While the law was crafted to deal with a problem within the majority Roman Catholic Church in Massachusetts, it would adversely affect all religious groups, Ms. Everett said. Intervening like this in an internal dispute of one religious tradition is not the role of government.
In his letter to the clergy, Bishop Cederholm stated he joined the Massachusetts Council of Churches in asking parishes who have legislators who serve on the Judiciary Committee to contact those legislators as soon as you receive this to express your concern about this bill.
Indeed it would!
Well, in ages past, weren't church lands ["temporalities"] held from the King, with corresponding obligations like knight service and the like [today these would be called taxes]? Thus there have been ample precedents for church property accounting to the secular authorities, and bishop's objections [for which there are precedents, too] lack merit.
Now that you mention it, that does make a certain kind of sense. Just think of the government as the King and the rest of us as serfs.
Tom Dudley was my g16grandfather, BTW.
Make that Puritan PROTESTANTS. Catholics were banned from the colony on pain of death!
This is funny, is the Episcopal Diocese any where near as bad as the Archdiocese of Boston? There are a few people who are going to jail at the Archdiocese if people ever see their books.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.