New Jersey headstone-making companies have won a battle against the Newark Archdiocese over the latter’s hawking of gravesite monuments.
John Burns, a born-and-raised-Catholic owner of a monuments company in North Arlington, NJ, was appalled that the diocese began offering mausoleums and tombstones last year. He argued that the tax-exempt status of the padres gives them an unfair advantage, so he and his colleagues have been trying to get the state to stop the Catholic expansion.
Quoted in the New York Times,
Mr. Burns, 54, said the fight was “hard because it’s the church.” “Where in my life did I ever think I’d go to my state legislator and ask for legislation against the church to keep my livelihood?” he said in an interview. “It’s a shame.” …
Wilson Beebe, the executive director of the New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association, said the archdiocese had captured 25 percent of the Catholic monument market in less than 18 months, and predicted that its share would increase to as much as 50 percent in a couple of years. “They’re carrying on essentially a for-profit enterprise,” he said. “Given their income- and property-tax exempt status, there’s no way that the monument builders can compete with them.”