This one is interesting if only because it’s happening in my backyard. Via The Secular Right, a state legislator (technically, a whole committee, via a Connecticut General Assembly procedure) has introduced a bill that would effectively strip administrative control of Connecticut’s Roman Catholic parishes away from their bishops and transfer it to a board of lay-parishioners. The boards would have control over all administrative, financial, and legal matters of their parishes. All religious matters would remain the purview of the bishop.
Who introduced it exactly, and for what reason, were a little fuzzy at first, but further investigation by the Greenwich Time reveals that it was apparently requested by members of a Darien chruch after their former priest stole $1.4 million to spend on lavish luxaries for himself, such as limousines, vacations, fancy clothing and jewlery, and a condo. The bill is said to be introduced by State Senator Andrew McDonald, a Democrat.
There’s no question in my mind that the bill is unconstitutional, and if the General Assembly is smart, it won’t even make the floor. It’d completely undermine state/church separation. A vendetta by one church’s members over a bad apple of a priest shouldn’t change things for everyone else.