Statement On Legislation Passed by the NJ Legislature Concerning Religiously-Affiliated Cemeteries

Statement by James Goodness, Vice Chancellor and Director of Communications, Archdiocese of Newark

We are greatly dismayed that this Legislature disregarded its own history of protecting the Constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of religious expression, and instead chose to interfere with how the Church, or any faith group, ministers to families in time of need, on sacred ground.

The courts of the State have already spoken clearly on this issue and affirmed our right under existing law to offer a full range of burial services to members of our Christian faith and tradition in our cemeteries.   This legislation is a blatant attempt to circumvent the present law and the voice of the court. 

Our nation’s economic system also thrives on consumer choice.   This legislation, sadly, now limits families to obtain services only from vendors and organizations specifically endorsed by a select group of individuals. 

We hope that Governor Christie will take action to veto this legislation and thus preserve the rights of the Church and the Catholics in the State of NJ to choose from whom they purchase memorialization.