January 21, 2006

O'Malley resists bill on financial disclosure

Boston Globe

By Scott Helman and Frank Phillips, Globe Staff | January 21, 2006

On the eve of a key vote, Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley has accused sponsors of a bill requiring religious organizations to disclose their finances of attempting to use the political process to assert control of the financial affairs and decisions of the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

O'Malley's remarks, contained in a letter sent to every parish asking Catholics to lobby against the bill, immediately set off an angry response from the bill's lead sponsor, Senator Marian Walsh, Democrat of West Roxbury. Walsh said O'Malley was distorting the bill's impact and demanded in a letter to him yesterday that he stop his attempts to ''place fears in the hearts of the public."

''What are they afraid of?" Walsh asked, alluding to archdiocesan officials.

The exchange of barbs between church officials and bill supporters and the increasingly aggressive lobbying of lawmakers in recent days underscore the high stakes as the bill arrives on the House floor next week. Lawmakers who support the measure say greater public scrutiny of religious institutions is needed, in part because of concerns raised during the clergy sexual abuse crisis and parish closings by the Boston Archdiocese.

Posted by kshaw at January 21, 2006 08:36 AM