Connecticut Bill proposes to take the Vatican out of Church finances

A proposed bill in Connecticut would strip Vatican control over the finances of local Catholic Churches, a suggestion that not surprisingly has Catholic clergy up in arms.

CT Bill 1098 would replace an existing law that defines Catholic churches and congregations as nonprofit corporations operated by a five-member board of three clergy and two laypeople. Instead, the board would be made up of seven to 13 laypeople elected by parishioners. The pastor would not be a member of the board and the bishop would serve as an ex officio nonvoting member, reports Catholic News.

The legislation, proposed by two Catholic members of the Connecticut State Legislature, was in response to an embezzlement conviction of a Connecticut priest. By removing church control over financial affairs, clergy wouldn’t be able to fiddle the books.

The Catholic Church naturally opposes the bill, saying that it was an infringement of their constitutional rights, and went against the apostolic nature of the Catholic Church. Oh, and it’s a conspiracy by gay marriage activists, writes Bridgeport Bishop William Lori: “This bill, moreover, is a thinly-veiled attempt to silence the Catholic Church on the important issues of the day, such as same-sex marriage.”

The bill has been pulled for now, and tabled for the rest of the legislative session, although could return in the future.