Petition Closed

The people of Massachusetts deserve to know how corporations licensed and regulated by the state spend money, especially when they influence elections, advocate social change, and conduct civil lawsuits. It is past time to broaden this right-to-know to the spending habits of religious corporations.

Letter to
Massachusetts Secretary of State William Francis Galvin
I just signed a petition asking you to require the Corporation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts to file annual financial reports with the state. Here’s why:

- the civil corporation started in 1898 and was required to file annual reports, but the requirement lapsed under the assumption that religious groups did not need oversight. Today, most citizens agree that corporations have too much influence on politics and social change; that the laws governing religious corporations are outmoded; and that self-policing simply does not work.

- the diocese has made contributions to PAC’s, special-interest, and other advocacy groups for political (not religious) reasons; yet there are no laws requiring public disclosure of these funds.

- the diocese regularly files lawsuits which seek to enforce its worldview in civil courts, yet the lawsuits are not religious in nature, and are often not supported by parishioners. Instead, diocesan lawsuits are aimed at corporate property rights, corporate damage and settlement awards for third-party insurance claims, or corporate privacy rights.

Please follow this link to learn more about the lawsuits, and petition:

www.westernmassachusettscatholics.blogspot.com/

The Catholic church does much charitable work in the Commonwealth and its continued financial health is important. So is freedom of religion, a right which every Massachusetts citizen enjoys under the state and federal constitutions. However, financial health and charitable work are not enhanced by secrecy, and religious freedom must not be used as a screen to undermine citizen’s rights.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely