Monday, March 9, 2009

From Senator Michael McLachlan

Here is a response from Senator McLachlan. His response is articulate and helpful. I hope that everyone is making an effort to be in Hartford on Wednesday. Fr. Mike and I will be there! From Sen. McLachlan:

I will not support Senate Bill 1098 as this is clearly an example of government interference with the Roman Catholic Church. The proponents of Senate Bill 1098 and co-chairs of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Andrew McDonald and Representative Michael Lawlor, have demonstrated disdain for the priests, pastors and bishops of the Church for their opposition to gay marriage and abortion.

You may want to consider some or all of the following additional steps to convey your message to legislators:

You may testify in-person at the Judiciary Committee public hearing on SB1098 scheduled for Wednesday, March 11, 2009 at Noon at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. You can find testimony guidelines at the following webpage:

You may attend the public hearing to lend support for your fellow Catholics testifying in opposition to the bill.

You may also address written testimony to:
Honorable Members of the Joint Committee on Judiciary
Room 2500, Legislative Office Building
Hartford, CT 06106

You may call the Joint Committee on Judiciary at (860) 240-0530 during normal business hours and leave a message for the Committee Co-Chairs – Senator Andrew McDonald and Representative Michael Lawlor -- expressing your opposition to their proposed bill 1098.

You may locate your Senator and Representative at the following address:

Thank you for sharing your concerns with me.

I encourage you to contact me again with any future concerns or comments.

Michael A. McLachlan State Senator
24th District Serving Danbury, Bethel, New Fairfield & Sherman
Legislative Office Building #2203 Hartford, CT 06106
Office (860) 240-0068


  1. 9 March 2009

    Dear Senator McLachlan,
    After reading your recent blog post, I wanted to express my gratitude for your defense of the Church.

    I recently converted to the Roman Catholic Church after serving as priest for 18 years that operated under the "congregational" model.
    Even if the elected lay board were all the most devout, informed and well-meaning of the parish, they never all agreed on financial matters and this caused great problems in the implementation of the pastoral, social, evangelical, charitable and educational mission of the parish. These board members will soon be seen by the parishioners as their elected representatives, as opposed to the pastor who acts as their advocate in progressing the overall mission of the parish and promoter of its good. Pseudo "political camps" and allegiances will develop behind these representatives causing unnatural divisions among the parish family and all the baggage that this model brings will change in very dramatic ways the entire social structure of our churches.

    Now, when the need for Catholic schools is so evident, this bill will dramatically reduce the number of those kept open. As i have witnessed first hand, the primary response to lay boards will be to focus only on the "bottom line" and so those schools that are running at a deficit (mostly inner city - which are the highest priority!) will be placed on the chopping block.

    Another result will be the reduction of the number of clergy and support staff in the parish. In a predictable effort to tighten the belt priests will be encouraged (or forced) to retire. The number of clergy will be reassessed and reduced and soon after that the number of masses and pastoral programs will be reduced. Questions such as "Why should we have 5 masses on the weekend with a half filled church? We should only have two!" Soon after that will come the question of the cost of opening buildings for educational programs with small attendances, the expense of mailings, the reduction of clerical and pastoral support staff and the like. Soon a vicious circle of diminished parish activity leading to diminished collections will ensue and the need for bigo, festivals and fund-raisers will develop changing the parish from a spiritual center to a true financial corporation (or more crudely put - money making operation).

    As the bill states, the pastoral or ecclesial will be under the priest and the financial under the board. The two will always be at odds and all things will be measured against the "operation costs". P&L statements, not the gospel will dictate the scope and reach of the ministries of the parish. The division of duties and responsibilities will soon translate into the financial division (the parish board) becoming primarily obsessed with the financial welfare of the church "corperation". All parish activities will be weighed against the overall fiscal viability. Let's ponder the effects of the diminished role of the Church in this scenario! The state has no authority to affect it so!

    There are already numerous and effective laws and statutes to safeguard the people from embezzelment and other fiscal infractions. Wether any Church or secular organization decides to involve the civil authorities and courts for public prosecution is a parochial and private descision. Thank you for exposing the subtle and not-so-hidden real motivation of Sen. McDonald in the introduction of this statutory revision and his misanthropic and dishonest manipulation of the already victimised parishioners in Darien. I hope they will eventually see his true motives and the "disordered" reasoning behind his actions.

    I offer you my prayerful support of your service and representation in this matter. May the Lord bless you for your courage and support, strengthen you in your public service and grant you health and length of days. Please continue to do everything you can.

    With gratitude,
    Yours in the service of Christ,
    Rev Seraphim

  2. This is a wonderful comment - but please be aware it is a comment on MY blog (Fr. Tom) and does not go to Mr. McLachlan. Please make sure to communitcate these very articulate thoughts to him as well.

    God bless,
    Fr. Tom