Springfield Catholic Bishop Thomas Paprocki on Wednesday challenged Gov. Pat Quinn’s support for legalization of civil unions. Quinn said Tuesday that his faith – Quinn was raised a Catholic — had inspired him to support civil unions.
“He did not say what religious faith that would be, but it certainly is not the Catholic faith,” Paprocki said in a statement. “If the governor wishes to pursue a secular agenda for political purposes, that is his prerogative for which he is accountable to the voters. But if he wishes to speak as a Catholic, then he is accountable to Catholic authority, and the Catholic Church does not support civil unions or other measures that are contrary to the natural moral law.”
Asked about the bishop’s statement, Quinn said, “I follow my conscience. My conscience is not kicking me in the shins today.”
David E. Smith, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute, said he’s talking to lawyers and “exploring options” to see if a lawsuit is possible. None is planned immediately, he said. “There’s no recourse that we can see,” Smith said.
* The one Senate Republican “Yes” vote was Sen. Dan Rutherford. Here’s his quietly eloquent floor speech…
Quinn was speaking for himself as a person who is Catholic, rather than for the Catholic church. The Bishop has every right to speak for the church, but he can’t validly claim to speak for every individual Catholic. (He can try to kick them all out if he likes, but he’s gonna be pretty lonely if he kicks out every Catholic who disagrees with him on gays, birth control, abortion and the death penalty.)
Has the Church ever considered the idea that one might catch more flies with honey? For instance, how about a statement such as “one can see where the Governor might feel that his religion infused as it is with concepts of fairness and religious freedom might influence this policy choice, but the Church disagrees with his ultimate conclusion.” It says the same thing but with a bit less petulance.
As a catholic myself, I think Quinn handled the issue exactly right.
Being a catholic today requires taking one of two basic approaches: 1) the willingness and ability to apply some form of independent judgement in how your faith impacts your life, or 2) the capacity to live in a state of perpetual cognitive dissonance
I fall in the first category, as does Quinn (apparently). Kudos.
First, are Catholic voters (who follow most of the church’s followings) becoming the ultimate “independent voter?” The church is very outspoken about their opposition to civil unions, abortion, and parts of the ObamaCare health plan. They are also strong supporters of civil justice, anti-gun, and anti-war.
Second, as much as some want to dismiss Catholics and say that their numbers are waning (in some instances, this is true), the overwhelming majority of hispanics ARE Catholic and are fervently so. It is beyond hypocritical for people to say that Catholics are running away from the church but into the arms of democrats when it comes to social issues.
At the end of the day, I really have no problem with the civil unions (and I’m Catholic). I do have a problem with this being the issue that carries the day when there are SO MANY other problems we as a state face. I don’t see how this balances the budget, but whatever.
As one raised in the Catholic Church, who respects the past work of the Church for social justice, I firmly stand with Gov. Quinn and respect his religious faith and his great actions for civil unions.
The Catholic Church often has expressed a love for all people. Where has that gone missing?
I ask the Catholic Church, how is homophobia different from racism? I am interested in a Catholic Church that reads from the New Testament, not the Old Testament.
Some excerpts from “Brothers and Sisters to Us” A U.S. Catholic Bishops Pastoral Letter on Racism, 1979:
“To the extent that racial bias affects our personal attitudes and judgments, to the extent that we allow another’s race to influence our relationship and limit our openness, to the extent that we see yet close our hearts to our brothers and sisters in need, - to that extent we are called to conversion and renewal in love and justice.
“As individuals we should try to influence the attitudes of others by expressly rejecting racial stereotypes, racial slurs and racial jokes. We should influence the members of our families, especially our children, to be sensitive to the authentic human values and cultural contributions of each racial grouping in our country.
“We should become more sensitive ourselves and thereby sensitize our acquaintances by learning more about how social structures inhibit the economic, educational, and social advancement of the poor. We should make a personal commitment to join with others in political efforts to bring about justice for the victims of such deprivation.”
Pope John Paul II discussed the direct implication of this for the Church in the United States:
“It will always remain one of the glorious achievements of this nation that, when looked toward America, they received together with freedom also a chance for their own advancement. This tradition must be honored also today. The freedom that was gained must be ratified each by the firm rejection of whatever wounds, weakens or dishonors human life. And so I appeal to all who love freedom and justice to give a chance to all in need, to the poor and the powerless. Break open the hopeless cycles of prejudices that linger on despite enormous progress toward effective equality in education and employment; the cycles of despair in which are imprisoned all those that lack decent food, shelter or employment.”
“Therefore, let the Church proclaim to all that the sin of racism defiles the image of God and degrades the sacred dignity of humankind which has been revealed by the mystery of the Incarnation. Let all know that it is a terrible sin that mocks the cross of Christ and ridicules the Incarnation. For the brother and sister of our Brother Jesus Christ are brother and sister to us.”
(Sorry this is a longer post, but when the Church bishops and cardinals rebuke their own members for following their faith in Jesus, social justice, and love for our brothers and sisters, the Church itself deserves a strong rebuke.)
The only thing interesting about the Rutherford “yes” vote is that he is the only republican to do so.
Now, in 4 years (2014), if Rutherford gets primaried, the vote will be four years old and this vote and issue should not haunt the Treasurer, unless, politically, the climate changes for Rutherford on social issues.
Logical Thinker - good stuff, especially that last part. While this has the appearance of good legislation, it’s a distraction from the real issues of filling a $15B hole in the budget. Maybe if some of the people who support civil unions would push the legislature to fix the budget, we could get some things done.
On another note - I became Catholic about 10 years ago, and I’ve never had to live in a state of perpetual cognitive dissonance. But then again, I attend mass weekly with my family, donate time in my parish in various ways, and regularly talk to the priests (and occasionally the bishop when happens to be there). Since I engage the clergy in discussions, I have *never* felt like the church is out of town or disconnected, nor have I ever felt myself disconnected. Maybe if others did something similar, and actually talked *to* members of the church instead of talking *about* them, it might lead to more a open discussion and understanding. Hopefully that isn’t too radical of an idea.
=Can’t we now assume Rutherford favors gay marriage?=
In follow-up to what I said yesterday re: “privacy” within the context of civil unions passing, I guess I’ll add that IMHO making all sorts of assumptions related to same could fall into the same category.
I have no clue what Rutherford’s position re: gay marriage is–nor anyone else’s–unless they’ve clearly stated what it is.
I wouldn’t even make the assumption that any of the Ds who voted for civil unions support gay marriage without their clearly stating so.
Jumping to such conclusions doesn’t seem very logical, or fair, does it?
- Living in Oklahoma - Thursday, Dec 2, 10 @ 11:58 am:
Rutherford’s speech was eloquent. To bad he was still wrong on the issue.
Logical Thinker: catholic voters have been some of the most independent or swing voters for years. they comprised the bulk of what we called reagan democrats and are the key targets of republican wedge issues…
My Catholic Priest flat out told me it’s okay to disagree with the church on what he called “these socio-political issues”, and that the church’s own position on them will change over time (as we’ve just seen in regards to condoms). So, while I understand Paprocki’s right to speak with some authority on the matter of “what makes a Catholic”, the fact is the organs of the church are themselves divided on the matter.
I am amazed who people come up with reason not to vote for this bill. “The State has too many things on their plate.” Ok, so put it on short debate, vote yes and move on. Next issue. No we will take a day and tell everyone why we need to vote no. I don’t even know how to comment on Lauzen’s speech. WOW, that’s messed up.
I am sorry, I really don’t see a reason in this day and age why this doesn’t get complete support. It’s a simple human rights issue. The majority of the rank and file of the armed forces doesn’t have a problem with serving with someone who’s gay. We have evolved as a society beyond our representatives.
Hay, GOP grow a pair, and tell the rightwing homophobic loud months that show up at the monthly township committee meetings to cool their jets. It doesn’t play in the burbs, maybe Peoria, but not up here. Bring on the map!
–While this has the appearance of good legislation, it’s a distraction from the real issues of filling a $15B hole in the budget. Maybe if some of the people who support civil unions would push the legislature to fix the budget, we could get some things done.–
Perhaps the silliest, most transparently dishonest argument of all time. And it was overtime yesterday.
The civil unions debate in both chambers took about three hours over the course of two days. Last I checked, there are 24 hours in a day.
Opponents who raised this Red Herring (and reminisced longingly for the good old days of Tiberius, Caligula and Nero) can feel free to put forth their budget solutions now.
Fixing the budget is not a matter of “work.” The options are few and dwindling all the time. It’s a matter of will.
By the way, is it safe to say that those who bemoaned the fate of Imperial Rome like movies with gladiators in them?
As clarification, the Church hasn’t changed any position on condoms. The Pope’s words were greatly taken out of context and no serious reading of what he said could justify the interpretation that rubbers are suddenly ok.
- Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Dec 2, 10 @ 12:18 pm:
1. 62% of Catholics support civil unions. Bishop Paprocki may speak for the Catholic Church, but Governor Quinn speaks for the vast majority of Catholics.
2. I note, with irony, that the same Senator John O. Jones who says the state of Illinois has more important issues to deal with than civil unions is the sponsor of a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
I should have known better than to post a pro-Catholic opinion. Apparently only those on the left are right.
- Grandson of Man - Thursday, Dec 2, 10 @ 12:31 pm:
The Catholic Church should state openly the Biblical citation that it supports in its opposition to gay civil unions, which is, if I’m not mistaken, in the Old Testament. If men lie with men as they do with women, they should be put to death, or something like that. Since Christianity is inseperable from the Old Testament, and the Church opposes putting people to death, what rationale does it use to stand against civil unions? The Church is making up its own rules on this, and they’re inconsistent.
I think prohibiting two consenting adults from entering a civil union is unconstitutional if these adults violate no other civil or criminal laws. I might be oversimplifying the point, but for me it’s a matter of church-state separation, and it drives me crazy that right wingers want less government interference in people’s lives unless it advances their beliefs. It’s just like Republicans want to slash government programs, but only the programs of the Democrats. I have not heard of any Republican or anyone else want to audit military spending to see where cuts can be made. We all know we get the biggest bank for our tax dollars via frugal military spending, right?
Yes, I’ve seen that spin from a few Bishops, and at the level of semantics, it’s close enough that I see no reason to look a gift horse in the mouth.
But when you go from the Humane Vitae’s admonishments against “betraying personal responsibility” to Benedict’s statement that condom use, in some cases, can “be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility”, you’re only gonna get laughed it if you claim that’s not a change.
Sure, the Pope has always been clear that widespread condom distribution isn’t going to solve the problem alone, and he’s still holding to that and he’s right. But even acknolwedging that condoms can help find a solution is an evolution.
This is, of course, a digression; condoms are hardly the only issue the Catholic Church has changed its views on, or the only issue where there’s conflicts within the organs of the church itself. And that’s fine; I’d never expect more than five humans to all agree on something so important. But it rather complicates Paprocki’s statement.
Of course, there’s only one person who knows the answers to these questions for certain, and I’m not in a rush for my opportunity to ask him.
the church lost it’s moral standing with me about ten years ago when I stopped attending church and contributing to their coffers to help protect priests from charges of pedophilia…
Two things Caholic hierarchy:
God doesn’t make mistakes when he endows a human being with a heart and soul, and love your neighbor was one of Jesus’ most oft spoken commandments…he didn’t exclude gays in this directive…loving one another properly is how we are like Christ in this life…
It was in response to those who said over the last few days that the GA shouldn’t take the time to consider the civil unions bill because there are other pressing matters. It’s a silly, dishonest argument.
As to the substance of the bill itself, clearly it scares or bothers many people for reasons they can try to explain themselves.
Check in about five years and demonstrate how this “cultural shift” (whatever that is) has harmed society.
Quinn like most Catholics today is a “new testament” guy. More than 60 percent of Catholics polled were for this, I read somewhere. I think it right to say Quinn’s approach to his politics has been formed and shaped by a Catholic upbringing with progressive theological concepts of social justice. I think he’s doing what the Holy Spirit and his upbringing tells him is right, versus what the guy in the long white dress has to say. People forget that the early church had married priests, even children of married priests, as well as many other differences. The church may evolve slowly, but it does evolve, it is not static. In another hundred years, you’ll be amazed at how it has caught up to this week. But that’s their perogative.
– NameWithheld - I should have known better than to post a pro-Catholic opinion. Apparently only those on the left are right–
That’s an interesting viewpoint. I know plenty of Catholics on the left end of the political spectrum.
In fact, through most of American history, anti-Catholicism was the province of the right end of the political spectrum. The Know-Nothings. Southern Democrats of old. Heck, Joe Kennedy was the richest man in America and as right-wing as they come — but he hooked up with FDR because the GOP wouldn’t let him in the door. It’s why Joe Kennedy was such a great supporter of Joe McCarthy, who broke the anti-Catholic door down in the GOP.
From Al Smith to the Kennedys, it was the Northern, big city Democratic machines that welcomed Catholics.
I don’t know that it’s fair to make fun of the attire. These were fashions at the time they were adopted. I guess they figured, well, if we wear Western dress we’ll look Western to Africans and if we wear African attire, we’ll look weird to Middle Eastern folk, so let’s just keep what we have.
The thing I don’t get is the colors. Priests wear the classic black and white. Monsignors get a (red or purple) piping, Bishops white, Cardinals red, and the Pope back to white. Is that just to indicate that he’s the Bishop of Rome? It seems like the styles of the other Patriarchs outshine the Patriarch of the West a bit.
NameWithheld, don’t be a whiner. If you can’t deal with criticism, don’t post a comment.
Rich (et al) - you’re correct. I absolutely was whining, and I apologize. It’s unreasonable for me to ask for dialog and discussion if I resort to childish behavior when the discussion doesn’t go my way. In all fairness, the tone of the commentary seems almost unfairly and rabidly anti-Catholic. But I knew the ground rules when I dove into the fray. So to all - I apologize. I’ll endeavor to act in the same manner that I expect others to.
“I think prohibiting two consenting adults from entering a civil union is unconstitutional if these adults violate no other civil or criminal laws.”
Logically, how can this statement be limited to two consenting adults?
The real answer here is to eliminate all government benefits/penalties accorded to married couples. Child bearing/rearing would still be a reason to allow tax breaks or credits (we need those future taxpayers, you know).
If there was a perfectly level playing field for unions of consenting adults, then the arguments against those civil union fades away. We would also need to say that private organizations could refuse to offer any benefits to people having a civil union, or if they did offer a benefit, they would need to offer it to any kind of union. “Marriage” would the be the religious consecration of that union based on a particular creed, and provide no additional benefits in the public or private sphere.
Once consequence is that we may no longer see health insurance offered at preferential prices to spouses (still could have good deals for child rearing).
At least such a system would be fair across the board, do people availing themselves of unions. “Married” people would no longer have the benefits they now receive.
I see no other logical approach to this issue other than to recognize there will always be discrimination, either to gays, straights, married couple, or other alternate arrangements. When the Illinois GA passed, and Quinn, presumably, signs this bill, we have now set up a system no longer based on thousands of years of traditions, but on a system where legislators will be a position of establishing a favored group of people. Yes, marriage is discriminatory to GLBT, but any system that limits the content of a civil union also is.
I honestly think this has been a convienient distraction for much too long. It really shouldn’t have needed a debate. God loves ALL people. My Bible told me so.
People should treat people with respect and kindness even if you don’t like or agree with their lifestyle.I think my Bible mentioned that although I am sure I paraphrased.
I can’t believe that bigoted people decided to play fear-monger once again and turn this into something it isn’t.
Now that it’s been voted on, I am compelled to ask, does the GOP have a solution to the “much more pressing issues,” such as the budget deficit? Yesterday, they were licking their chops to work on it. Just wondering what they cooked up? Heck, Lauzen spent a lot of time researching that NUTTY, BIGOTED, and RIDICULOUS speech. Wonder if he’s spent that much time coming up with a halfway decent solution to the State’s fiscal crisis?
Obviously, many will be praying for me to find the guidance of God on this issue…you know, accepting homosexuals as human beings and all.
I too, will be praying. Praying for those that have called my office to tell me that ____(words I can never say on here or elsewhere) are all going to get AIDS and die, because they deserve to, that I am going to Hell for supporting the measure, etc., will find a some sort of cure for their obvious hatred and bigotry. This week, I have been subjected to some of the most hateful, mean, cruel and just off the wall comments from people around this State. Things I can’t repeat or just wouldn’t, because I am actually embarassed to admit that there are people like that in this great State. (And I have quite the potty mouth!)
Maybe, just maybe, all this praying will help. If not, maybe I will sleep well knowing I tried to help fix Stupid.
NameWithheld: i completely disagree. many of the posters have said that they were catholic; others (like me) have spouses who are catholic (and the catholic church is the church we attend, even if i still consider myself a methodist). we are pro-catholic, we just don’t share your views. having said that, i understand that you are probably overly sensitive to anti-catholic sentiment, given that such prejudice apparently has existed in our lifetimes. but you aren’t seeing that here…
- Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Dec 2, 10 @ 5:06 pm:
I thought that the Catholic Church was opposed to civil unions because they would undermine traditional marriage?
Now the good Bishop says they’re opposing civil unions because civil unions violate “natural moral law?”
Isn’t that why Tennessee and other states banned the teaching of evolution?
Isn’t that why states banned interacial marriage?
Isn’t that why slavery was once legal? Because white men were morally superior and slavery was the natural order of things, as justified in the Old Testament?
Frankly, I think The Church would’ve been better of sticking with the “undermines traditional marriage” argument, although its hard to imagine how things could get much worse than a 50% divorce rate.
- Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Dec 2, 10 @ 5:10 pm:
BTW, I don’t think the comments here are anti-Catholic, they are “anti-Catholic Church”, and I think there is a big difference.
And when the Catholic Church claims to be the highest authority when it comes to “natural moral law,” the ONLY way the debate can logically proceed is by opponents questioning the Church’s moral authority.
If the Church can’t stand the heat, they should stay out of public policy.
Catholics that don’t agree with the positions of the church simply aren’t Catholic. When you attend mass and receive the Eucharist you should be in full communion with the church. This means you must agree with the positions of the Church. So my advice to those bleeding hearts on here who believe that their astute intellect supersedes the authority of the Catholic Church would be to reflect upon your faith and see if you are were you truly belong. Maybe you should join Rich and become Lutheran, they ordain homosexuals so it might be a good fit for many of you.
I’m sad for Pat Quinn. and proud of him. and proud of all those Roman Catholic State Representatives and State Senators who put their public life before their private life even in the face of church officials who could, and in the case of Quinn did, rebuke them in some form. It feels medieval, the church commentary. Pat Quinn is not gay. but he does not chose to let his church dictate to others. good for him. and many thanks for the courage of Illinois elected officials for the betterment of our society in Illinois.
Thank you for your post, Anonnn. I, too, believe that God loves everyone.
Most of the rest of your post speaks to what I’ve been trying to say. At the risk of being accused of “fear-mongering”, I hope that people–youngsters, in particular–and the friends who support them and in whom they might have *confided* (if that’s the case)–keep in mind that the world did not change over night.
- Professor Chaos - Thursday, Dec 2, 10 @ 11:20 pm:
@ Mean Cat
Jesus Christ: the original Bleeding Heart. The Sacred Heart of Jesus devotion. Check it out.
- dumb ol' country boy - Friday, Dec 3, 10 @ 4:45 am:
I believe I would rather have the Gov. listening to his religious conscience rather then his political conscience…….. Lord save us!
- dumb ol' country boy - Friday, Dec 3, 10 @ 4:55 am:
YDD—just get out your bible and read it and you will find all the answers. The bible says its wrong plain and simple. I think thats all the Catholic Faith are saying. I know when someone doesn’t like whats been said they usually attack the messenger, that would be the Catholic Church as a whole. Likewise im sure others will attack the bible and say its was a well written book. Once again I find society making consessions for people who are involved in lifestyles that are in direct conflict with what the Good Lord as written. If someone wants to participate in a homosexual lifstyle thats is their choice, but I certainly don’t think I should have to make consession for it or my government has to make them, I feel like gays and lesibans are pushing their lifestyle down my throat. But I will say it again hate the sin but love the sinner.
- Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Dec 3, 10 @ 10:17 am:
@dumb ol’ country boy:
Old Testament Law in Deuteronomy also prohibits interracial marriage, and Corinthians says Christians shouldn’t marry non-Christians.
Just how far do you want to take this “read your Bible” stuff?
You want to claim that The Bible is the literal word of God, and that the laws of this nation should be dictated by it? Fine. But don’t be a hypocrite. Introduce your legislation banning interracial marriage, marriage between Christians and non-Christians, eating shellfish and pork, operating a business on the Sabbath, etc.
You’re nothing but a hypocrite if you say that The Bible is the literal, absolute final word on homosexuality (I believe The Bible actually says nada about lesbianism), but the rest of it can be ignored or is open to historical interpretation.
Reminds me of the Roberts Supreme Court, which insists on Strict Constructionism as a bedrock principle, except of course when it doesn’t suit them.
Which brings me to my final point: Conservatism is phonyism, and Republicans have been playing Conservatives for the fools they are since Ronald Reagan first proved you can get away with it.
- Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Dec 3, 10 @ 11:24 am:
If the Catholic Church REALLY had their shorts tied in a knot about civil unions, they’d be returning the donations of the 60% of Catholics that disagree with them.
And Topinka - who helped fund the gay community center in Boystown - was the top GOP vote-getter this year, because she’s a moderate who understands that responsible budgets sometimes require raising taxes, unions aren’t evil, and neither are gays.
If Rutherford follows in her footsteps, he’s the top GOP contender for Governor in 2014.
This law was more than about gay couples. It also open the doors to opposite gendered couples getting civil unions, too. A move that will help older folks on survivor benefits (this generation of elderly is still from the single earner household style of family) and possibly younger folks who don’t want the baggage of the word marriage. Also, gays may only be 3-5% of the population of IL, but I know an awfully lot of non-gays who are celebrating that their gays family members and friends can have their unions be legally protected now.
To Mean Catfish,
You do know that there are multiple groups of Lutherans out there, right? ELCA will ordain coupled gay folk and perform their marriages as well. The Wisconsin Synod would burn their own churches before allowing such a thing. The Missouri Synod may not be as extreme as the Wisconsin one is, but they also do not allow it. Come on, I’m not even a Christian and I know that much!